Am I An Author Yet?

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.

  1. Talent – the ability to come up with original stories time and time again.
  2. Craft – you’ve learned the nuts and bolts on your own or by taking classes.
  3. 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!

Author: Alexander Elliott

Alexander grew up in the Midwest, was compelled to attend private school, and ended up with an eclectic career. He’s still trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. When not working to pay the bills, he loves to read, watch Star Trek, and laugh at Calvin and Hobbs cartoons. He also enjoys long baths, country music, nature photography, cooking and keeping up with his large family. Until recently, his writing included unpublished stories, music, poetry and drama scripts. Writing his first novel in 2016 changed everything, and he struggles to balance a boatload of ideas with very little time. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and romance. The author strives to create imaginative, generally upbeat stories with happy endings, making sure the bad guys get their comeuppance. He considers reading a chance to get away from it all and invites you to join him. If you enjoy Alexander’s work, he would love to hear from you. aelliottbooks@gmail.com

7 thoughts on “Am I An Author Yet?”

  1. Well, with over twenty cross-genre books, an international writing prize and an income that doesn’t allow me to outsource any part of the publishing process… I am disqualified from being an author by that first set of criteria,,, on multiple counts. 😉
    But then, I’m happy being a writer.

  2. There are so many “experts” out there who delight in crushing spirits. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alexander. I say just write and put the work out there… if it has legs, it will take off! If not, well… you still put it out there, and nobody can take that away.

    1. So true. I think a lot of the poo-pooing comes from traditionally published, old-school authors who resent indies and are protecting their territory. Sad. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Indie books also often get a bad rap because so many people slap something together, give it a good blurb, and then just let trash sit on the catalogue for unwitting people to waste money on. Worse? Reviews can be misleading in *both* directions, especially if there’s less than 20 of them. If one isn’t dedicated to doing their research, good indie books can be hard to find in the slush. That’s why I think people get bitter.

  4. Yes, I agree. I suppose word of mouth via social media can be helpful in that regard. Then again, I don’t use social media! Getting people to leave reviews is TOUGH, and without them not one wants to take a chance on an unknown indie author. That’s one reason my promos are all FREE. Once I get them hooked they are willing to pay full price for my other work. Even there, my books all run 2.99 or 3.99, even though I think they are worth more! It’s a game you have to play or forget marketing all together. I wish I could just write and not mess with anything else!!

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