Success in creativity is a complete gamble, no matter what your medium is. Just look at the Impressionist artists, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, and Manet. The majority of them spent their lives in poverty (unless they had family funds), surrounded by constant ridicule, for their art that was considered too avant garde during their times. Most of them never got to see a penny of what their works are worth now, or even hear a sliver of praise.
I can, in no way compare my own art form of writing fiction novels to their masterful paintings, but my own experiences and fears are similar. What if my “art” doesn’t sell?
This concern that all artists have today has been further exasperated by the onset of the internet and DIY forms of getting your name out there. You think the market for your art form was saturated before? Now getting noticed is nothing more than the luck of the draw. Thanks to self publishing, anyone can publish a book, and thanks to YouTube, Vimeo, and other social media outlets anyone can post music or videos. What’s worse is that there is a lot of art out there that is poorly manufactured that is selling like hotcakes. Some of my fellow writers have lamented on this very subject recently. We can’t figure out how poorly written and edited fan fiction is exploding through the stratosphere, whereas other better works are being completely ignored (and no we are not solely referring to our own works). It seems as though if you don’t take someone else’s idea, twist it into your own, and add a lot of raunchy sex, it won’t sell.
That is the question, not only for authors, but plenty of other artists, musicians, and actors. It is indeed a mystery.