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Not the Reader's Problem
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Mary and I have been trying to finish the first fifty pages of a non-Byzantine novel which we hope might one day see print. The effort seems to have drained my blog writing batteries, and my reading batteries as well. (I hate to admit how few books I've finished during the past couple months) For all I know writing fiction might drain my life force.

Well, okay, most of my life force seems to have been applied to reading and writing. I was a reader long before I was a writer and I am not sure that giving up reading to write is a good trade-off.

It was as both a reader and writer that I was appalled by a blog post I recently read. The author was explaining how writers need to earn a living. The author was not at all pleased when a reader approached to say she had enjoyed the author's novel, which she'd found used, and even less enthused when the reader said she planned to lend the book to friends. This was adding insult to injury for neither used book sales nor book lending generate income for authors. And, the author added, library sales are not ideal either because no matter how many patrons check a book out, that's only one sale for the author.

I can't tell you how wrong I think this author is, no matter what perspective I look at from. I'm thrilled when a reader takes the time to read our books, particularly seeing how the number of authors seems to endlessly increase while the number of readers shrinks. It amazes me when any of you shell out money. We appreciate it because, indeed, if we made no money at all from our books we probably couldn't afford to waste time writing them.

But, speaking as a reader, how much, if anything, an author earns is not anything for the reader to be concerned about. The fact that every author on the planet wants to make a living writing novels and probably no more than a few hundred do, is not the reader's problem. That's the author's problem.

During my lifetime of reading, the vast majority of books I've read have been purchased second-hand or borrowed from libraries. I couldn't afford to buy as many new books as I wanted to read. Do I feel guilty now that I'm in a postion to be paid for writing? Not a bit. As a reader my only business is reading.

If authors want to make a certain amount of money in a field where few ever have, it is up to them to figure out how to do it.

Mary and I love to write. We love that people read our books and that enough buy them that we see some helpful return for our efforts. But we are entitled to nothing.

Too many writers and would-be writers seem to have a feeling of entitlement. Writers are not entitled to be published. They are not entitled to be read. They are not entitled to earn anything let alone to earn a living. Some do, most don't. That's the writer's problem, not the reader's.

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