Writing Well 2: 4,000,000 Books and Me

Recently I read a blog post that hit me like a bat on the back of the head. The author, Claude Forthomme, noted that a new book shows up on Amazon every 12 minutes and appropriately called this a self-publishing tsunami.

Claude’s post is now two years old and I expect the tsunami is now even larger. My guess is that Amazon currently has about 4,000,000 book listings.

In the middle of that flood of books are my two quite unnoticed self-published efforts.

That’s a lot of competition.

In another post, Claude shares that only 40 Amazon best selling authors actually make much money. 40 out of four million. I’m not sure what your math background is but even with my meager numbers skills, it seems obvious that the odds for financial success as a self-published writer are about the same as winning the lottery or me being asked to dinner with the President of the United States. It should be mentioned that I’m not his biggest fan.

My current book sales will not allow me to buy a first class ticket to fly to Paris, in fact, those sales barely allow me to buy an occasional beer to drown my writing career sorrows. Perhaps it’s time to throw out all the writing guru marketing crap that tells me that if I only work hard enough and smart enough and, of course, write something decent,, and then have a bit of good luck, I, too will be among the 40 best selling Amazon authors.

Not remotely likely, Grasshopper.

In Seth Godin’s insightful podcast, “Live at Carnegie Hall,” he poses the question of how young aspiring musicians can create successful lives amidst the flood of musical competition released by the same free and easy internet access that has changed the world for all of today’s creative artists. Seth suggests another path for life success. Instead of trying to compete with that tsunami of creative talent, build a tribe of 1000 followers for your unique artistic gift. He notes the careers of musicians who have small but dedicated followers. By focusing on uniquely serving a small group of people with similar passions, such artists have created simple and meaningful lives.

After listening to Seth, I considered my writing career and decided to change my focus to building a tribe of followers around my writing passion, young adult eco-fiction. Here I write for young minds still open and curious about the Natural world, a world that feeds my own soul. I’m building relationships within the eco-fiction community by reviewing other author’s books and being involved with discussion groups. I’m continuing my efforts to support the Save the Vaquita Porpoise! movement. And I keep asking myself the question, how can I best serve the needs of this community, my tribe while pursuing my own life path?

No, Ive not given up on building my writing platform, rather I’ve shifted it’s focus to serving my tribe. Sure, I’d like to sell more books, and I suspect this will happen over time. However, I’m not making plans to fly first class to Paris. I’d rather go fly fishing on the Rogue River.

Here are links to the above mentioned articles- (please make links noted below)

Claude Forthomme’s Blog-



Seth Godin’s Podcast “Live at Carnegie Hall”-


Good writing!
Tio Stib Signature

Am I A Poet?

Version One

I’m a writer
when lazy
writes poetry
on occasion
is sometimes worthy
of the name

Version Two

am I a poet
and just don’t know it
are my words sublime
though they don’t rhyme
do I speak of passion and romance
or merely do a two step dance
there are times when I wonder
if writing poetry is
my current blunder

Version Three

Is my poetry an art
or merely a creative fart
if I could see me in the mirror
would I see an artist there
as my words drop on the page
are they legacy or loony rage
can I pretend that this is passion
when I write with mental caution
are these outpourings of the heart
or a mind so bent it cannot start
still the question gives me pains
am I a poet?

what else remains?

tio stib, 2015

You might also enjoy: Why I Write Poetry, Writing Well

Why I Write Poetry

My Path to Writing Excellence

In the midst of my current mental writing cramps, I rediscovered a cache of poems written a lifetime back. In reading through them, I concluded that I wasn’t much of a poet years ago yet occasionally I created a resonant verse. I also realized that the same disciplined determination for writing excellence must be applied to all forms of creative writing. Poetry, though, feels like doing pushups as compared to  the exercise demanded by my current novel, which is more in line with a marathon.

I’ve decided that I’m better off putting in the effort to write a decent poem than write nothing at all, especially in those moments that turn into hours, when I’m less inclined to write another page in my book. And, that in mind, I’m better off pushing myself to do another purposeful and even playful blog post than searching out vicarious life thrills on CNN.

Yes, I believe any exercise done well is far better than no exercise at all. Any writing I do that is focused on excellence moves me towards my summit.

How do you keep pushing towards writing excellence?

Here’s the link to my latest poem, “Sometimes They Smile”

Tio Stib Signature