What is a writer anyway?

I was halfway through my first book before I gave thought to the question, what is a writer? And why am I doing this.

I certainly don’t do it for money. Every software project I have done made more money than my writing career has so far. In fact when you consider advertising and promotion costs, I still have a net loss.

I have decided that I’m an entertainer. My books are fiction, and they are not intended to teach a lesson, either moral or technical, They are intended to entertain the mind, and hopefully make the reader laugh, get excited, frightened and maybe even cry in the sad bits. That is my job as I see it,

An entertainer without an audience is a sad thing to see–or maybe not see. So, in order to fulfil my mission, I need to do three things:

  1. Write a book that readers will enjoy. Not all readers of course, but an audience that appreciates life, love, danger and mystery,
  2. Get it edited and published. Here I admit that I have made only a half-hearted effort to find a traditional publisher. I did send out some queries, probably not good ones, and got a couple of rejection letters, and some black holes. Si I went the self published route. One reason for this is that I have the skills in editing, formatting and artwork (for the cover and some illustrations) that publishing demands.
  3. Let readers know the book exists. This is the hardest part. Of course throwing a LOT of money into advertising might work, but where is the fun in that? I did do some advertising, but the ROI(return on investment) was always negative.

Step 3 needs more than just advertising. I have this website, a Facebook Page, a Twitter feed with 3600+ followers, most of whom are fellow writers. The most effective thing I have done so far, is ask my Facebook friends to buy Tiger and the Robot and quite a few did.

I also got good reviews, which is part of step 3, but depends on step1. Early on I did a Goodreads giveaway for the paperback, which did get a good response and garnered many reviews, averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars. However I didn’t see much effect on sales. So what did I =do next? I wrote another book!