There is an overabundance of blog posts describing in detail what it means to be an author. I’m sure you’ve seen at least a few of them and perhaps checked out of curiosity. Unfortunately, many of them claim to have the answer, and explain in great detail what a real author is. Supposedly there are fake ones lurking about somewhere ready to fool the unsuspecting public with their fake writing.
Anyway, these helpful guru’s have some interesting, (if misguided), clues by which we may discern who qualifies:
- Real authors have been published by industry recognized houses.
- Real authors earn ____% of their income from writing.
- Real authors allow only professionals to handle their editing, proofreading, marketing, etc.
- Real authors make personal appearances and do book signings.
- Real authors publish only real paper and ink books.
- Real authors never look at reviews or pay any attention to what readers are saying.
- Real authors attend workshops and conferences to hobnob with the above-mentioned guru’s.
- Real authors charge exorbitant amounts because no one will value their work otherwise.
- Real authors willingly sacrifice all for the sake of their craft.
- Real authors have found and embraced their “voice”.
OK – had enough? How many of you authors have been disqualified because someone decided you weren’t real? Let’s face it – everyone and their mother has advice to dish out, whether it’s worth anything or not. I’ve grown weary of listening to the nonsense, and in fact, recently stumbled upon a helpful post for a change. In it, an author is defined by three basic traits, plus one more thing that keeps you in the game over time.
- Talent – the ability to come up with original stories time and time again.
- Craft – you’ve learned the nuts and bolts on your own or by taking classes.
- Passion – you LOVE to write and don’t consider it a chore.
And, the most important strategy to keep you in the game – be versatile. Markets change, tastes change, fads come and go. You don’t have to write what you hate, but be ready and willing to try new things.
I found this information most affirming, especially when (in my humble opinion) I discovered I had all three traits to my credit. Well – I’ll admit I still have a great deal to learn, so #2 is an ongoing trait! As for being versatile, I’ve already published in three genre’s and will shortly be adding a fourth. My biggest challenge is not writing, but marketing and the other business-related tasks of publishing. Not surprising for an indie author, but my passion (#3) keeps me pressing on!