It’s Not the Sales - It’s the Readers That Count

In our local Mid-Michigan Chapter of Romance Writers of America, we have a little monthly contest called WRITE FOR THE MONEY. We each put $1.00 in an envelope with a little note saying what our writing goal is for the next month. Then at the next meeting those who achieve their goal are put into a drawing for however much money is in the envelope. Thus – “write for the money.”

That term makes me wonder how many people might think authors write “for the money.” Yes, big sales and big money are nice, but a great majority of us will never get rich on what we make from our books. Some authors make barely enough to eat each week, if that. And you know what? For a true writer, that doesn’t matter. I can’t count the number of authors I know who simply write because telling the story is so important to them. Few of them care whether or not they’re making great money. Most of them are simply “born to write,” and they would be writing even if they didn’t make a dime from their books. I fall into that category.

Yes, we’d all love to create a million seller that becomes a famous movie or TV series, but in reality, out of hundreds of thousands of writers, perhaps five or ten make it that big. It’s a reality we have to face, but it doesn’t stop us. As long as our hearts beat, we will write, because characters come alive for us and demand that we tell their story.

When I started writing, I was a fanatic. I am surprised my husband and two sons didn’t leave me. I was obsessed. I wrote nine books before I finally sold one – and that’s all I wanted – a sale. It didn’t matter how much I was paid. I just wanted to actually sell a book and see it in print and on book shelves. I was paid barely enough to feed my family for maybe one month, but that didn’t matter. I sold a book!!

My next goal was never to stop with just one book. That first sale was my first SAVAGE DESTINY book, which turned into a 7-book series. Now, almost thirty-five years later, I’m up to 63 books with another one finished but not sold yet.

I’ve had good sales and bad. I’ve had huge advance money and some ridiculously small. It never mattered. People were buying and liking my stories, and that was my number one reason for writing. It was never about the money and never will be because the cold reality is that the truly big money will always go to those top few writers who, for one reason or another, “make it big.” Sometimes I read their books and wonder why, but so be it.

I am always far more thrilled to know thousands of readers out there are loving my stories. My books might sell for $15 here, $7 there, .99 cents on Amazon – whatever. Because of the numerous venues there are for selling books, sales are kind of “all over the place,” as is the money. All that matters to me is that PEOPLE ARE READING MY BOOKS AND LIKING THEM! That is so much more important to me.

I am eternally grateful for all my readers. They keep me going. With each new book I worry about whether or not I will again please them – or will I disappoint them this time? They mean everything to me – and many of them have actually become good friends. The support I get on Facebook whenever I reach out for prayer or support, for whatever reason, is overwhelming.

I want to be more than just “the author who wrote the book.” I love being real friends with my readers. I love hearing how my book helped them forget their pain or a crisis they might be going through. I’ve even written through personal family problems and illnesses of my own, and it was the writing that soothed me. Maybe one of my books relieved someone’s loneliness. Maybe it enlightened them to America’s real history – things they never learned in school (which is always one of my goals). Maybe my characters seem so “alive” to them that they “feel” the hero or heroine with them and can’t wait to see what happens to my characters next.

Fan enthusiasm and response is what I feed on. Reader support, reader excitement, readers who love my characters as much as I do. I love them for that, love their feedback, and I actually miss many of the readers whom I have met at various conferences. My readers have become my anchor, my inspiration, and the reason I keep sitting down in front of the computer in spite of physical pain from too many years and thousands of hours of sitting on my butt!

I often run across fans who, I swear, are more enthusiastic about my stories than even I am! What I find most fun and interesting is the detail in which many of my fans remember a story, especially from a book I wrote twenty to thirty years ago! After that long, and having written numerous books since then, I often don’t remember the details about some of my older plots or even the characters’ names – but my READERS DO! They will mention something that happened in a certain book and I have to scramble to remember. Some of my fans have read some of my older titles over and over again, so they know every detail. That truly warms my heart. So this is a big THANK YOU to all my readers! Keep reading, and I will keep writing!

When It’s Okay to Procrastinate

Anyone who knows me well, and my Facebook fans who have read my comments and other blogs, know that procrastination is NOT one of my faults. In fact, I don’t know when to quit! I am wearing myself out. I usually write 2 – 6 hours a day and can crank out a 600(+) page book in 2-3 months if I have to. I hate procrastination and can’t stand to let anything sit “undone.” Whatever things I need to get done each day (besides writing) I DO! I don’t like thinking about all the things I need to do or places I need to go or people I need to see. For all the time a procrastinator sits around thinking about what he or she needs to get done, they could have DONE IT and had it over with!

Sourcebooks Blog Tour Schedule for Love's Sweet Revenge

Sourcebooks has set up a blog tour for LOVE'S SWEET REVENGE, Book 3 in my Outlaw Hearts Series! Follow along and leave a comment at each stop.

A Blog About “Finishing The Book”

Have you ever felt like someone just ran over you with a semi, then pulled your brains out through your ears? That’s how it feels after a two-month marathon of writing and finishing a 622-page historical novel. You’ve heard those stories about people who, in matters of emergency and desperation, get a surge of adrenaline that helps them pick up a whole car to get someone out from under it. I think that’s what happens to a writer when she has a short deadline but a long book to write to meet that deadline.

The Joys And Perils of Writing Series-Type Stories


See all Buy Links on my WEBSITE

Sorry I don’t blog more often, but I am currently writing book #4 to my OUTLAW series and I have a tight deadline, so I’m really busy writing. The book is called THE LAST OUTLAW and will be my last book involving Jake and Randy Harkner and the Harkner clan, which makes me cry every time I think about it. I will probably write another story involving the Harkners, but it will be about Jake’s grandsons, which means Jake is no longer in their lives, at least not physically. It will take me a long time to be able to write it because I can’t bear the thought of Jake Harkner no longer living. It’s just too hard to consider right now because I have fallen head over heels for this man and I absolutely adore writing about him.


I recently purchased a diffuser that sprays a soft cloud of scented water into the air, as well as one of those warmers that melts scented wax. Both are lovely and do a good job of filling my house with wonderful aromas. That got me thinking about how certain smells awaken memories and can even be used in our writing.

The Last Page

Previously I wrote about the love/hate relationship a writer has with “Page One.” Well, just as challenging is “The Last Page.” My Midi-Michigan Romance Writers group holds a contest every year called “I Will Write A Book.” Those who enter pay $5 to get into a drawing for all the money, and to qualify, the entrant must finish a book within that year by November. This year (2016) I’ve entered two books. Just finished the first one, a new Indian romance – and am now working on the second one, which is book #4 to my Outlaw Series. As proof of finishing the book, we have to send in “The Last Page.”

Page One

Horrors! When we write a book, we have no choice but to start with “Page One.” Yes, it’s that annoying, intimidating, proverbial Page One that can bring a writer to his or her knees. We sit and stare at that blank piece of paper (or the pretend piece of paper on our computer screen), and we realize that what we put on that very first page is what the reader will see when he or she takes a look at the book – that very first page that they use to decide if they want to buy the book – that very first page that either hooks a reader, or causes them to put the book back on the shelf – or to not “click” order the book on-line.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

The Beauty of a Back List

I've been writing for 35 years, so I’m pretty old-school when it comes to the publishing world. When e-books were first introduced, I couldn’t believe they would ever be successful. After all, who would rather read a book on some kind of device as opposed to having the real thing in their hands? 

The Long Haul

I'm sure you've heard the trucking term “long haul,” or the phrase “I’m in it for the long haul.” Maybe “It’s been a long haul.” For anyone who writes, “the long haul” perfectly fits your chosen profession – or even as a hobby, if you see it that way. You’d better be in it for “the long haul,” because that’s what it will be if your goal is a long-term career in writing.