To be a successful writer takes many things. The first thing may be a definition of success. For some people, that’s lots of sales.
I’ve had my art in two art festivals. Hundreds of people walked through my booth. Some of those people stopped to look. A few of those people talked to me. And a few of those people bought my art. I think I sold about 20 pieces. I can’t remember exactly.
Two days of standing for hours in a booth chatting with strangers. Hours of set up and tear down time.
Unknown number of hours making the actual art.
Money spent to apply to the show, to pay for the space, the rent the tent, to have business cards, to build a display system, art supplies, frames, and all sorts of incidentals you don’t realize you need until you’re in the middle of a thing like this.
I didn’t make money.
I broke even (maybe) if I don’t count my effort and time.
And I’m not counting the art I made that I had to give up on or throw away–because not every picture you start is going to work. That’s just lost supplies and time.
Some people think the art is too expensive. Although the people who go to art shows all the time think the art is wonderfully priced. But here is the odd thing I learned, most of the time, when an artist’s work isn’t selling, the best way to get people to buy is to raise prices.
I ponder this as I watch the race to lower prices on stories. My reader-self would like stories to be free. I want everyone to have access to fiction. No matter how poor you are, if you want to read, you should be able to.
But writers have to eat.
How much is a story worth? How do you know?