That's a good question, one I must ask myself periodically.
I spend a good percentage of each day in front of my computer either working on a new book, editing, or promoting whichever book is out now. And guess what? I don't make much money. And what I do make is spent on promotion.
No, my publishers do not send me out on book tours, though they both do some promotion, the greater share is up to me. I'm the one who arranges my in-person events and does the majority of the on-line promotion.
So what do I get out of all this work?
1. I love to write. I enjoy visiting my characters and finding out what is going to happen to them next. The only way to do that is to write the next book. My writing is not confined to my novels, believe it or not, I get a kick out writing blog posts, like this one, and others where I guest.
2. I love meeting people and making new friends. Of course this happens at book events and at conferences and conventions. (Going to a mystery con is very much like attending a huge family reunion.) The Internet has given me the ability to make many new friends, many I've known now for a long time.
3. And of course my books have fans--fans that enjoy my books, have favorite characters, email me, read my newsletter and comment, fans that encourage me to write the next book.
4. Because of the conventions, conferences and places I've been invited to teach and speak, I've traveled many places I'd never have visited otherwise from the West Coast to the East Coast, many cities in-between, and Hawaii and Alaska.
5. I've learned how to do many things I might never have tried if it hadn't been for my writing career from many computer skills to giving presentations and classes about books, writing and publishing. For ten years I taught writing for Writers Digest Schools, and I just recently retired from many years of being the program chair for the Public Safety Writers Association's annual conference.
6. And most of all, I've met many challenges, grown as a writer and a person, and had a great time doing what I wanted to do.
Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith