I am always pleased when someone buys one of my novels. No, I don’t make a living writing and very few people do. You really have to reach a level of readership, such as those who are James Patterson fans, to become a rich author. I’ve never aspired to be the kind of writer that Patterson is, so riches are not in my future.
But you know what pleases me the most? That is when someone pays ninety-nine cents for one of my short stories. I get more satisfaction by one purchase such as that than I do when one of my novels suddenly takes off. Sure, it would be nice to be rich and famous but there are things that mean more to me than wealth and prestige. (Right offhand I can’t think of any – but give me time!) Some free advice – if you think you can make a living as writer, let me advise you that you really better not give up your day job, unless you are James Patterson.
I’ve always been a fan of short stories and I haven’t written any in quite some time because, quite frankly, they are the most difficult form of writing. They are, in my opinion, the absolute best exhibition of an writer’s talent. In a novel, one has the opportunity in 300 pages to move things and scenes and characters around. In a short story you have one chance to get it perfect. You have, at most, 30 pages and usually less to get in, get it right, tell the story, and snap it off with a twist at the end. No question, it is a challenge. But if you can write good short stories, and I mean ones that will make people laugh or cry or at least think, then you are a real writer. You’ll never get rich, but money can only buy material. Being able to bring out emotions in people with something you have imagined and written is worth more than money could ever buy. If you can make people smile or say, “Wow!” with something you’ve conceived in your mind, that is a powerful drug. And you can become addicted to it. That is why those of us who write, write. We can’t help ourselves.