When I talk about what it means to be an author--I'm speaking of my own experiences. I'm with a small independent press so my experiences will be different from those with a major publisher and different from those who self-publish. Actually I've been published by a major publisher and self-published two books, but those experiences have been a while ago.
I've had lots of experience with small presses--some good and some bad.
I'm quite satisfied with both the small presses I'm with now, Mundania and Oak Tree.
I do not get advances, my books come out in about a year after I've submitted, my publishers do some promotion but I do lots of promotion too.
I get royalties--but by the time Amazon, Ingram's, bookstores, take their bite, the publishers get theirs, what's left for me is minimal. (Publishers don't get much either.)
If I were in it just for the money, I'd have quit long ago.
At this particular time, I want to see what is going to happen with Deputy Tempe Crabtree and the other folks who live in Bear Creek and what I'm going to learn about the Bear Creek Indians. And no telling what will happen in Rocky Bluff--what murder or mayhem will occur to occupy the RBPD--and what turmoil will be going on in the officers' private lives. Hopefully my readers are as anxious to find these things out too.
It's most rewarding to read good reviews about my books and to hear from readers who enjoyed reading one and ask me questions about what is going to happen next.
Meeting fans in person is thrilling. Giving talks anywhere is fun for me. If people buy books, that's a plus.