It was a delightful break when I went to my kids’ school for an Author Visit. I have virtually visited a class before but this was the first opportunity where I was directly interacting with my little readers. My sons have been quite proactive in marketing my children’s books in their school and most of their friends and teachers know me as a writer.
When I went to the elementary class, I found all the little ones eagerly awaiting my arrival – a real author! My son looked proud and embarrassed (I know the feeling). I felt all eyes on me and it made me smile. I knew they were evaluating and trying to understand me. They might have thought my Indian-English accent funny & different’. But most of them wanted to know – How do I put my books on Amazon? So, I chose to answer that question at the very end of our interaction to keep them hooked.
Although a little shy and reluctant in the beginning, they opened up after I finished reading ‘The Boy Named Joy’ to them. Their amazing teacher had projected the book on the smart screen and it was quite an immersive experience.
Do authors make enough money?
Almost all kids had questions for me but we were running out of time. However, one particular question by a curious kid stood out to me – Do authors make enough money?
Honestly, we all know how hard it is for an author to make a living out of books (traditionally or self-published). It’s even more difficult for a self-published author to make a set income because there is less support and validation. Unless, of course, with a strange quirk of luck, amazing things can happen and a book becomes a bestseller (Peter Rabbit and Legally Blonde are great examples).
But the problem was how to tell the kid the cold, blatant truth without discouraging him. I wanted to tell him that it’s all about perspectives. Realists would call an author a failure in terms of material gains while a dreamer would worship him for being visionary, motivational, and inspiring. It’s a truth that only a handful of people stay dreamers throughout their lives. They remain a child. While everyone around them grows up and looks at them with contempt for being ‘impractical’ in the ways of the world.
Isolation, derision and rejection are an integral part of an author’s life. And authors often feel pulled in two different directions – the classic money vs dreams story.
He sat there with his question, eager to get an answer. And I was weighing the pros and cons of my answer.
After a pause, I told my little reader – Authors may or may not make enough money but what they do is meaningful – they touch lives.
As I headed home after explaining to the kids about publishing on Amazon through the Kindle Direct Publishing program, I was smiling. It was a smile borne out of sheer joy and meaningful interaction.