So, yeah, it’s crunch time for the P&E polling. Voting shuts down tomorrow night, and ‘Guarding Charon’ has plummeted to 5th place.
Much as I want to win (and, trust me, I DO), it’s not the end of the world. It won’t make or break me as an author. It doesn’t translate into great sales or having Hollywood calling me for a movie deal.
It would simply make it so I could add ‘award winning’ to international best selling author. That’s it.
Everyone can write. All that takes is to pick up a pen or pencil, or sit down at a computer. Writing an essay in 5th grade? You’re a writer. Drafting a department-wide email? You’re a writer. Spending countless hours at a computer, revising, rewriting, editing, polishing, submitting, and publishing? You’re a writer.
Then, there’s that moment where you go from being a writer to being an author. It creeps up on you, slowly. It’s when you stop letting your ego get in the way and promote your book because you know you’ve got years ahead of you before you’ll be able to quit the day job. It’s when you realize that titles like ‘international best selling’ or ‘award winning’ don’t matter if people don’t know your book exists. It’s not caring if you only get enough in royalties over 3 months to buy a single latte at your favorite espresso stand and you find the time to write another book.
It’s that moment when the sales and titles and image in your head of what being a published author means fades away and you embrace the reality of it. The need to find time to write between loads of laundry or parent/teacher conferences. It’s being present during a softball game when you’re mentally adding dialogue and hoping you can remember it when you get writing time. It’s no longer being afraid to tell people you’re an author. It’s hanging up cards for your books on community bulletin boards and leaving them for staff at a hotel room on vacation.
It’s giving away copies to an exchange student you’re hosting that loves to read your genre. It’s learning how to email organizations and let them know you’re available for panels and guest slots at their conventions.
It’s sitting down and doing the work involved to grow a reader base.
Every single writer that’s ever finished a book thinks they’re going to be on the NYT best seller list. Or get a movie deal. Be wined and dined and wooed by conventions. Make money hand over fist.
An author knows how many years it takes to get even close to that list.They know that they can’t simply scream ‘buy my book’ or ‘leave a review’ all day long. They work hard to get every single sale, review, reader, or comment on their blog. They spend hours on Twitter or FB when they’d rather do other things, hoping to connect with even one person who might buy their book.
Because if they do, they may like it.
If they like it, they may leave a review. Or tell a friend. Or both.
Until then, an author keeps trying new things. Keeps posting on a blog, staying positive. A writer’s going to get mad, unsure who ‘stole’ their dream.
It wasn’t stolen. They decided to give up instead of work for it.
They weren’t tough enough to become an author. Are you?