8 and 1/2 novels
3,000 pages (give or take)
150 agents (<--that was just the round of agents from 2010 - doesn't even count previous years)
hundreds of hours spent researching agents
hundreds, probably thousands of dollars spent sending out batches of chapters and full manuscripts (one, Fed-Exed at the agent's request, was $80!!)
= incredible amounts of time and money.
Income I've actually earned from all this, so far? ZERO, zip, nada. Not a single dime.
Okay, yep, that's insane. Who else would spend that many hours, that much money, on something with NO GUARANTEE of getting rewarded monetarily, or even rewarded emotionally (ie, other people reading what I've created and enjoying it)?
My conclusion after seeing this in black and white -- you gotta love it. You have to LOVE writing to put up with its frustrations, setbacks, criticism, and agony.
And, truly, if I ever had any doubt about my sole purpose for writing (which is to write, and not to get published, as the primary or sole goal), doing the math showed me for sure. Because I would've given up AGES ago, trust me, if publication had been my only goal. Because it's just too hard. And too expensive. And too unsure.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - if someone could see my future inside a crystal ball and tell me with absolute certainty that my books would never be published, I would NOT STOP WRITING THEM. I guess that's the true test.
I have to write. I want to write.
If I get published, YAY!! But if I don't, so be it.