Come in and sit down; papa James is about to drop some serious truth. No games, no gimmicks today, just truths. Please be careful of the ramp; I just had it installed; yes, I have a wheelchair now and am bald, no it's not cancer. But check out these sweet X rims I got!
Okay, so I have noticed a lot of talk in the writing community about authors/writers stressing out and feeling like they aren't good enough or throwing a term around that I detest, "Impostor Author or Imposter Syndrome." (Notice the change in the word—both are correct, by the way.)
We all stress out; we all wonder if we should be wasting our time writing a book, scripts, stories, articles, etc. It is part of the game. A horrible, horrible part of the process. It's okay; it's natural and normal. It also helps keep us humble. But "Imposter Author" is a ridiculous term and should never be used, ever!
Okay, there is one time it can be used. Have you not written a book but claim you have? That is the only time.
Here's the thing. If you wrote a book, or have short stories published in a book, guess what? I got good news. You are an Author. There is no maybe about it. The definition of author is: "A writer of a book, article or report."
Further diving into the definition: "An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book or play and is also considered a writer. More broadly defined, an author is, "the person who originated or gave existence to anything," and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created."
So break down. It doesn't matter if you published said work yourself, or small press, or even hit the big times. You are an author.
Now there are several opinions on what defines an author over a writer. I, too, have opinions on this, but that doesn't make them right and certainly doesn't mean they are the only way to think about it.
In my mind, an author is someone who is published. Someone who had created something and is published. Be that a book, newspaper, magazine, or website. Here's the catch, paid. If you are paid or make money off of your published writing, no matter what amount, in my mind, that makes you a god damn author.
A writer to me is someone who is writing in hopes of becoming an author. Or someone who writes blogs, articles, or stories that they post for free. Now that doesn't make you less of an "author" of said content, but the definition for me is if you are or have made money for it.
Calm down; I said at the beginning that was my take on the two terms. I think no less of either. Writing is amazing, and I support it no matter how you wanna do it.
Now, I get a lot of people have this "Imposter Syndrome" about being an author due to not feeling like they are good enough. That normally comes after a bad review or several. Or someone says something to you that is negative towards your writing or your writing ambitions. In short, fuck them.
If you have the passion inside of you to write, then write.
I am not saying you will ever make it big; hell, 65% of indies and small press authors struggle to sell a hundred books a year (many big ones don't fare a lot better.) But you never know unless you do it, right? Well, you sit there stewing with self-doubt. You may very well have the next big thing inside of you. You won't know unless you write it.
It's not easy; I'll not lie to you and say that it is. Writing a book, more so the first one, is hard. It taxes the mind, body, and soul sometimes to levels that you'd be surprised could happen from something as casual as writing, but it can happen. But let me tell you, the feeling of accomplishment is phenomenal when you finish and sit back and look at it and know you did that. You created that. And when you hold that first paperback in your hand with your name on it—breath-taking.
I fully 100% understand the level of disappointment and heart-crushing, though, when you put a book out there, and it seems to fall flat. It hurts. At first, you tell yourself, "it's okay, people are busy, it is this time of year or that, it'll pick up," or, "people are reading other books right now, mines on their list, they'll get to it."
Months go by, and still, you see no sales or very few. No reviews to validate your hard work and effort. It sucks, and even the toughest of us feel the cut when this happens.
I have no magic remedy to this (yet); I wish I did. I wish I could tell you, if you do this and that with a side order of this other weird thing, you will sell (arbitrary number here)
It is hard to sell books, damn hard sometimes. It takes work, sometimes more work than even writing the damn thing did. It takes time and effort, and commitment. Worst off, what works for some doesn't always work for others. Some people get lucky; they know people that can help in big ways. Other people have strong marketing game on social media. Others have a solid budget for running ads. There are a million variables to it.
What you need to do is find out what YOU have. What tricks do you possess for this? Who do you know that might be able to help? What local resources are within your grasp? Newspapers? Radio? Farmers markets? Local art shows? All of these things can add up and push you in the right direction.
There are plenty of online resources that you can use and find on your very own. Social media, there are dozens of outlets to explore and make work for you. Facebook, Twitter, Tic Toc, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. Find them, see what others are doing and what seems to work, then put your own personal twist on it and put it out there.
There are bloggers, book clubs, vloggers, and a dozen other entities out there that you can track down thousands of people doing these things and see if they would be interested in having you on their site, do an interview, etc.
These are all things you can do, and if you want to get your book out there and see those sales, then it is a must. More so if you don't have a budget for running ads.
Another stress I have been seeing is feeling like you don't compare to other authors. I get this a lot. I tweet a lot about my process and word counts and all that jazz. It's not meant to make anyone feel bad; it's to show what I am doing and inspire others. Though I do understand how sometimes it can feel when someone posts, "I wrote 4000 words today!" and you're sitting there thinking, "shit, I haven't written 4000 words all month."
Don't let that get to you. Some days I can write 5000 words; other times, I'll struggle to write 500 words in a week. It's all a wash at the end of the day. The book will get written when it gets written, don't force it.
You'll also see authors who can put up 2 or 3 sometimes more books a year and think, why can't I do that? Why have I been working on this book for a year, two, three, or even longer?
It's not a race. We all have different things in life that affect how we write or how much we can write. I myself normally put out 2 or 3 books a year. I have been doing this for 14 years. I have a solid system in place. Yes, I work full time, I am a father and husband and help run a household, but I make time to write, and thankfully I am set up in a way that I can do so often enough.
My first book took me three years to write. So do not fret.
One of the things that come into play is the length of these books. You see authors dropping four books a year; sometimes, those books are only 20 to 50k each. That makes a big difference from 80k or 150k book you might be working on.
Regardless, it is not a race. We can't look at each other as competition. You can't think, "I am not a real writer/author cause I can't do what these other people do."
Let that stuff go and work on YOUR story.
If you want to be an author, then be an author. No, you may never be a huge success. You may never hit the best sellers list; hell, you may not even sell a hundred books. But if being an author is something you want to be able to put on your trophy mantle, then do it. Worry about the after parts once it's done.
Once you've written a book, no one can take that away from you.
Sorry, I know; things got a little emotional there. But I hope this helps and inspires you to keep going and that some of that stress and worry can slide off your shoulders now.
Alas, our time is at an end, and I have to go check on my mutants—erm students.
Indie author of the week
The peaceful standoff of two world super powers is shattered when a Russian bomber collides with an American fighter over the coast of Alaska. With NORAD now on full alert the memories of the bad old days of the Cold War with the Soviet Union are resurrected and the new world order is threatened. In a plot fueled by blackmail, money and treachery, The covert actions of the CIA threatens an open war with the Russians and Edwin Kiger, the President of the United States is forced to contemplate a decision not faced in a generation. Tensions have reached a breaking point. Is anyone's finger on the nuclear button?
If you are a fan of the early works of Tom Clancy, this book takes you back to the days when the nightly news headlines were blanketed with stories of the Cold War. Don't miss this modern day Cold War thriller.