Saturday, July 16, 2011

Am I a real writer?

Am I a real writer? It's something every writer asks themselves at one point. We wonder what is the defining moment that signifies we are no longer aspiring but are full blown writers. I've wondered that, more so now that I'm getting close to self publishing my first story.

Am I a real writer?

People are telling me yes I am. I'm a real author too... or will be once I hit publish. Still, some small part of my brain keeps a seed of doubt. Am I really a real writer and author if I indie publish? I want to say yes but I know not everyone agrees with that. The other day, I saw a goodreads review on one of Amanda Hocking's books. The person said they wondered if the book would have been better if a decent editor had helped Miss Hocking. The person also said she picked up the book to see what the hype was and if an indie book could be as good as a traditionally published book. The over all impression I got was this particular person doesn't think indie authors are on the same level as traditional. They aren't real authors. (Note: this person did admit they got sucked into the story and enjoyed it. Also that was an impression I got, I have no idea what that person's real view on indie authors is.)

I know there will be people that believe indie authors aren't real authors. There will be people who won't buy my book because I published myself. And that small seed of doubt, that's what it believes. It thinks I should have gone the traditional route, queried for an agent or submitted to publishers. Can I really call myself a real author if I don't have the approval of some publisher? I didn't even query for an agent or send a submission to a single publisher. When I started looking into publishing I was going to. I had a whole file of possible agents to query. Then the publishing world started to change and as I researched, indie looked more appealing, the better route for me to take.

So I made my decision. Now I have a book cover, I hired a real editor to proofread my story and find errors. I'm slogging through formatting, wondering if I should just hire someone. I'm shining my story up myself, doing all the work an agent and publisher would do. I am enjoying every, terrifying second. I am going to be a published author, a real writer. Whether my stories are loved or hated, I am the real deal.

Because that's what I believe.


  1. This question is definitely one I relate to. I finally defined it for myself like this:

    "Writing" is something that I do, so I am a writer.

    "Author" is a vocation or career, so you're an author as soon as you make some sort of profit. I would only count something as a profit if it came from someone actually paying for my work, as opposed to my mother or family friend buying something from me because they love me.

    I don't really put the publishing venue into the mix.
    If it sells, it's become your job.

    But that's just my opinion. I have had the experience of watching someone get vanity published and didn't think they were an author-- their books didn't sell but to family and friends. In my mind he was a writer, but not an author.

    Amanda Hocking? Is an author. Whether she's a good one or not, it's become her career.

  2. This little demon on our shoulder plagues us all from time to time. I don't spend too much time thinking about if people will look at me seriously if I am an Indie.

    I think if we put our time and energy in seeking out quality cover designers, editors and ensuring we put out the best work we can than our work can be respected on what ever level it's presented. Seems like you have done all these things!

    We do this because we respect the craft and write because we love to write, for me it's not for profit it's because it's what I do, and if others like it than all the better. Congrats not being too far away from publishing, it's such a mammoth effort well done!! I look forward to finding out more. And thanks for the honest post. Good Luck!

  3. It's really sad, but there's always been a stupid pecking order in the publishing business.

    Big mainstream publishers are constantly venerated by a lot of readers and bloggers, and anything outside the Big Six (whether we're looking at small presses or self-published authors), in a word, sucks. *shrugs*

    You pretty much learn to roll with the punches, and the great thing is that more and more readers discover books from small press and indie authors, and at least in certain circles, a number of readers don't even read books from mainstream presses anymore. I'm one of them.

    The great thing here is that small presses and indie authors are at least very flexible with their pricing of e-books, which is where the shift in reading habits seems to be headed. That means more affordable books for readers, which range from 99 cents to $6.99 (as opposed to $9.99 and above for e-books from mainstream presses).

    You might not be regarded by some as a "real" author, and you might not be as famous as mainstream authors (though, to be honest with you, I've never heard of about 99.9% of them even BEFORE I discovered small presses and e-books), but you've certainly got much more freedom and leverage where your creative babies are concerned. At the end of the day, that's really all that matters, IMHO.

  4. Christine, you make a good point but I think you could add someone is an author when they publish a book with the intention of others buying it. Even if the end results was only to family and friends, but the intention was to sell to more people, you could say that person was an author... or maybe aspiring author is more appropriate.

    @CJ, how about i invent a little demon flicker to get rid of those pesky little demons sitting on shoulders? LOL

    @Hayden, I have noticed people don't even know who the NYT best sellers are UNLESS they have a book made into a movie.