First of all, if you haven't voted, please visit http://ciarcullen.blogspot.com and vote for PROMISE ME FOREVER by Rebecca Goings as Best Summer eBook. You can also join my Blog Crusade if you wish. Details are on my author blog: http://beckasbabble.blogspot.com.
Now that THAT's out of the way (lol) I want to talk to you a bit about the career of an author.
When I first started this journey back in January of 2005, I was an unknown. Nobody had heard of me, and it seemed, no one was breaking down the door to buy my books. Nowadays, I've found much more success, however, its still not at the level I WANT it to be. Perhaps "fame", "fortune" and "notoriety" are all dangling carrots that we will never truly attain to satisfy our own selfish desires of being bigger and better.
But I have learned that you cannot be a best seller overnight, unless, of course, you're chosen for Oprah's Book Club. A lot of new authors are disheartened, just as I was, with their first few royalty checks. They've done their promo, they've yakked around, and yet still they do not sell. This is due to a few factors.
First, no one knows you. When you're an "unknown", you have to work twice as hard at promo. But you want to find that fine balance between promoting your work and shoving it down people's throats. This is where befriending bigger names in the biz comes in handy. If you get your name and link on their websites and blogs, you might get a few people from their audience to click through to your site. One of the most powerful forms of promotion is word of mouth.
Secondly, you're not going to make it rich off of one book. A successful author makes money on their entire backlist, not just one book. When a reader really likes you, chances are they'll look for more books from you to buy. If you have no more books to offer, it's likely they'll "forget" about you.
These are things I have learned during my author journey. Now, I have plenty of books in my backlist, and it's growing with every book I release! And I truly believe word of mouth has helped me. It's funny; when you're "the author", you have no idea how "famous" you really are. And fame isn't really tied to your royalty checks. It's basically gauged with how many people know who you are. You might not like George Clooney, but you know who he is and you know what movies he's made. Just because you don't buy into his movies doesn't mean that makes him any less "famous". Your contributing to his bank account has nothing to do with his fame. In the same way, your "fame" isn't attached to your royalty checks. Authors seem to overlook this fact time and again.
People know who you are. They've heard of your books. Therefore, you're famous.
My first brush with my "name" being bigger than I was happened when I called my local library and introduced myself to the Head Librarian over there. He knew who I was! He'd read my article(s) in the local paper and had heard of me. How awesome. Has the man actually bought one of my books? I sincerely doubt it, aside from the copies the library itself has ordered for its own shelves.
This puts perspective on what "fame" means, and what it means to be "famous" and/or successful. Are you successful only when you have fat wads of $$ in the bank? Or are you successful when people know who you are and respect you for being an author?
There have been times I've been "treated differently" or with respect when people find out I'm an author. It's strange. I don't know how to describe it. Local people I interact with stumble over themselves at times and I've got to wonder why. I'm just an average jane with a mortgage and a car payment. I do the dishes just like anyone else. So why this special treatment? I really have no idea.
But making a name for yourself is part of being famous and successful, regardless of the size of your royalty check. Sure, we write to get paid, but sometimes, you have to wonder what "getting paid" truly means. :)