This month the question posed to The Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog-hop is this:

‘What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?’

I’m an old cynic.  Four years have gone past since I began writing, but it’s only during this last year that I’ve come to learn a most valuable lesson:

‘There is more money to be made providing services and writing contests to the self-published author than most Indie authors can make with sales of their books.’

I used to enter willy-nilly into this competition and that competition, spending money like water and waiting for the big prizes to pile up.  Now I’m semi-retired I’m more careful about what I spend my money on.  Yes, I’ve won a few awards for my work, but have scaled down the amount of contests I submit to.  Unfortunately I’m now deluged on a daily basis with emails begging me to enter yet another competition or to take part in radio show interviews, as long as I pay the required fee!

Granted, there are some free writing contests, but they are usually over-subscribed and it’s therefore more difficult to win.  I only send my work off to a few competitions each year now, whereas before I was doling out fees for 20 – 30.  Some of them you never hear from again, and I began to wonder where my money was going.

Unless us Indie authors become a celebrity overnight or acquire a literary agent and one of the big 5 publishers, it’s quite unlikely that we’ll ever make a comfortable living from our stories.  Nevertheless I enjoy creative writing and will continue to make up stories.  Every month Amazon pays me modest royalties, and I’m pleased that some readers have wanted to purchase my books.  This brings me to another lesson learned:

‘Write for the fun of it, and don’t expect to become a millionaire!’

Start off with the mindset that the whole world and his wife are authors, and that it’s a waste of time and effort trying to acquire an agent.  With this philosophy you will not be disappointed.  However, if by the merest chance an agent does want to take you on, then you can prove me wrong, can’t you?