Horrifying thought, isn't it?
Of course there are those few authors at the top who are actually making money with their writing--but I'm not one of them.
Fortunately, my husband has a good retirement and I make money other ways (with writing but not my books) and we are not starving. If we had to count on the income from my books, we'd be in big trouble.
Once in awhile I get a good enough royalty check for us to have a nice dinner out, but for the most part I laugh at the money that comes in.
Yes, I've tried the freebie and paid a little for advertising--not the one that costs so much and I'm glad I didn't because I didn't sell enough books after to pay myself back.
Right now I've been advertising some Christian horror that I wrote a long time ago and were published as paperbooks and e-books, but never on Kindle (publisher's didn't like Amazon) and the publisher recently went out of business and returned rights--so I've now got them on Kindle.
I wrote about Cup of Demons on my own blog and got a comment from someone who said he/she was interested but didn't have enough money to buy the book and would wait for it to be a paperbook and buy it used. It's only $2.99. http://www.amazon.com/Cup-of-Demons-ebook/dp/B00EREHPV2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377814279&sr=1-1&keywords=Cup+of+Demons
It's probably never going to be a paper book again--and even if it were, if this person bought it used, how does that help me?
To bring this around to mysteries, Deadly Feast, is another from this same publisher. I updated it and changed the title and it is now on Amazon for Kindle priced at .99 cents. It's also on all the other ereaders for the same price.
Frankly, I think the big problem is there are far too many people writing these days--and I can understand why if they really have the urge to get that story out there. Unfortunately, some of these stories weren't ready for prime time yet. It's just gotten to easy to be published.
For people like everyone who writes for this blog, we had a long learning process which included rejection, reading books about how to write (and just reading books), going to writing conferences, learning more and more about writing.
I'm not sure what the answer is, or even if there is one. I know for most of us, we will keep on writing because we have to--and we'll keep on promoting too because we have to do that to or no one will even know about our books. For me, I suppose I'll have to be content with the satisfaction that comes from the writing process.
Here's the cover of Cup of Demons just in case you might be interested.