I’d like to write more books. I enjoy writing and I have ideas and information that I want so share, and packaging it up neatly in a coherent volume is a bit different to just churning out blog posts. For one thing, it’s more permanent; I’ve sent copies of Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs to the British Library and to the five legal deposit libraries (Bodleian Library Oxford University, The Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin), and knowing that they have been preserved for posterity is not a small thing.
My gardening journey has taken me off the beaten path and I write the books I want to read, the ones no one else is writing.
But here’s the thing – my books aren’t bestsellers. I can’t live off my book royalties. Many more people read my blog (and listened to the podcasts, when I was making them) than have bought even one of my books.
I can think of three possible reasons why that might be:
- My books are no good. They’re not worth reading. I don’t think that’s the case, and people who have read them say nice things about them*, but you never know, and it’s worth considering. (*Not my mum. She seems to enjoy showing them off to her friends, but I don’t think she reads them.)
- There’s no audience for them. The edible plant geek community is just too small to support an author.
- There is an audience for them, but I haven’t found it – i.e. the marketing for my books sucks.
You might be able to think of more reasons, and if so I hope you will share them in the comments.
I could continue to write books, but if no one is going to read them then it’s a self-serving hobby, and not really sustainable in the long term.
Of course, I am not the only writer to ponder whether it’s worth the effort involved in producing a book, something which we seem to be driven to do. The world of books is changing, and it’s not obvious yet how anyone can continue to make a living in it. I think the only way to make money as a writer at the moment is to write about how to make money writing!
Over the years I have spent a lot of time and energy on this blog, mainly for the love of it and because I enjoy feeling like part of a community. People used to leave comments, or come and find me for a chat on social media. It seems like that’s fading, too, and social media is become less social. Or the conversations are moving to different locations. I’m not the only person to feel that way, either.
At the moment I have a full time job, and am just in the process of building my new garden. I love growing plants, and learning all about them, and sharing that with like-minded people. I have plans to move the blog to a new platform, and write about lots of exciting things. But I have a full life and have no reason to shout into a void.
So perhaps you would do me a small favour and tell me why you’ve never bought one of my books? (I’m assuming that you haven’t, since most visitors haven’t. If you have, then thank you – I hope you enjoyed it 🙂