Am I an author yet?

What is the benchmark for when you can finally call yourself an author?

It seems that anyone can put on their profile information that they’re a writer or an author, and that most of these people spend a lot of time complaining about how little of their time their professed title takes up. I never had that problem. Anyone who has been following my progress through the murky world of authordom will see that I’ve only just started to change my profile from “aspiring author” to just “author”. And that was only because my Marketing Womble, Leah, told me to do so. Otherwise I would have happily left it as it was.

Why is that? Performance anxiety perhaps. If I’m an author now, then that comes with all kinds of connotations. I should be professional, knowledgeable, prolific. I quite often feel like none of those things all at once. There’s still so much to learn, so much to do, so many more novels to write and characters to nurture, and I never seem to have all the time I’d like to fire off a few chapters or do all the little projects that I want to take on. But it has struck me lately that perhaps that’s what being an author is all about. The constant striving to be better. If that’s what being an author is, then I’m certainly striving my way forward.

I’m not saying that there’s a list of things that you must do to be an author/writer. Except perhaps one: write! But as I look back over the last few years I start to put together a few pieces of evidence that my low self esteem needs in order to prove that I’m becoming the author that I want to be.

I’ve had a book published (kind of an obvious one, I know), had several great signings, I’ve done workshops and talks in colleges and with writing groups, I’ve helped others to edit their own work, I’ve tried to impart a little knowledge on this blog to other aspiring authors, and I now have my second novel finished and submitted to my publisher (Inspired Quill) for the first round of edits. I’ve also helped to put together the literary area of next weekend’s Steampunk Doncaster convention, which was a great honour.

In short, I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky. That’s certainly how I feel.

But am i really an author yet? I suppose I may never feel like one, because I don’t know anyone who can describe to me what it feels like. Maybe I’m already there. Maybe I’m a mile away. Maybe I should stop asking stupid questions and just get on with the writing. But it took writing this blog post to realize that last option even existed. And so, with that in mind, I’m going to throw on my goggles, and enjoy the Steampunk Doncaster festival next week. Then I’m going to work on my comic book script, short film screenplays and other little projects while I wait for the novel to come back from the Editor. Then I’ll edit it…then it’ll be published and the whole signing/marketing awesomeness will start again. Then…who knows?

I think I’m trying too hard and not enjoying it enough. It’s time to have some fun. And perhaps bu myself a “Do not feed the Author” t-shirt.

What do you guys think is the point when you become an author?

 

Thanks for reading

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9 thoughts on “Am I an author yet?

  1. I think the day you become published you can call yourself an author. Anyone who writes is a writer, but to me an author has to be published and you are describing the life of an author: signings, events, talks and another book on the way. I can see why you might still doubt it, but I think that might change when your next book comes out and you write the next one. Then the next one. 🙂

    1. You’re probably right, Pete. I’m still very early on in the whole writing career thing. Hopefully it will keep going and I’ll feel more like I deserve the title of Author as I go along 😀

  2. I call myself a writer. I’ve had one book published, memoir, but because I write life stories and other non-fiction I really am more a writer than an author. Not as prolific as I’d like though.

    1. I don’t think we’ll ever be as prolific as we’d really like, Val. Maybe that’s the curse haha. I think we need someone to define “writer” and “author” for us so we can know 😀

  3. I’m far from convinced that it matters and the whole *writer’s life* thing is a chimera. I’ve been writing since before I could read (yes, I know: how come?) but I’ve not agonised over the author/writer issue because I suspect it’s rather pointless. Writers write. When you have written something, which now bears your name, you are the author. There are plenty of authors, famous, not famous and infamous who never did/do any of the so-called writerly things other than just write.
    If you have a book out there that people can pick up, buy, read, comment on, then you are an author.
    Did that help??

      1. A pleasure!
        A small personal gripe is that there are those who decree that those scum of the earth (like me) self published authors cannot call themselves authors, only writers. The rationale behind this is that there has been no screening process, no external arbiter to judge whether the *writer* is worthy to be an *author*. My belief is that there are external arbiters and they’re called readers. And yes, I have had people tell me that I am not an author for that reason. In their minds only those who have been selected by a publisher can be called authors. Given the number of famous names who self published, this seems a bit of a nonsense to me.

      2. Don;t listen to them. That’s a load of old poop. A book is a book, Viv. I’ve read self published books that would make J.K. Rowling shudder and published works that I would take on a camping trip in case of toilet emergencies. That distinction between published and self published is so blurry that opticians have a national shortage of extra-thick lenses so people can make it out.
        Just keep at it. Keep your books coming out. And keep enjoying it 😀

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