Is it time to self-publish?
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
The Endangered Writer
How dangerous is it to be an author or book marketer?
The question may sound silly, for it seems there are few physical risks associated with writing. After all, it’s an activity practiced by many when sitting down, drinking alcohol, and munching on junk food. On the other hand, maybe authors, because of their sedentary lifestyle and because they often write to fulfill a part of their life that’s lacking, those who take up the craft of writing may be slowly endangering their lives.
A report issued at time.com/job-danger lists the most dangerous jobs in America for 2014. Authors did not come close to making the top ten, but in viewing the list I did wonder if being a writer posed its own health risk -- mentally or physically – or is it the other way around: Are those at risk taking up writing?
According to federal data on death rates, being a logger is the most dangerous job. For every 100,000 loggers, 110.9 die – about 1 in every 900. Fishers and related fishing workers die at a rate of 80.8. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers die at a rate of 64.0. Roofers are fourth at 47.4 and rounding the top 5 at a 35.8 rate are refuse and recyclable material collectors.
I was surprised not to see certain people, like construction workers, police, or other rough and tough professions, crack the top five.
I shouldn’t be surprised that book marketers aren’t on there but I imagine a number of them develop heart attacks and certain cancers due to the stress of the job and the lifestyle habits it engenders. Every day the book marketer has the stress of dealing both with clients and those he or she is trying to market them to, not to mention the burdens associated with securing new clients.
Authors are more likely, I believe, to kill themselves, than to die on the job. Writers are definitely participants in the nation’s growing suicide rate. Those that think a lot – or worry, create, or analyze – tend to be at risk of hurting themselves compared to a lot of other professions.
Okay, this is quite morbid. Maybe we should end on a high note. I think writers – more than most professions – contribute to saving lives. They inspire, motivate, and lead others to live better lives. Writers have helped millions with their problems – and helped many more avoid such problems. Books make us better human beings.
Writers, particularly journalists, who seek to uncover truths that others don’t want to be made public, certainly are at risk. More so outside the U.S., there are hundreds of reports about journalists that are jailed, held hostage, or killed each year. For those who literally risk their lives to help make this a better world, I give you a standing ovation.
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