I think there’s a lot of debate over this question in the literary world. What makes a writer an author? Is it how many works they’ve written? How well their work is received? How many books they sell? How much money they make? How they go about getting their work published? I think, in many ways, it’s a subjective question, one that only each writer can answer.
In a recent interview given by my good friend, Jade, she asked when I felt like a true author. In some ways, it was the first time I ever got paid for my writing. Mostly, it was when I first officially published my book, Rest in Piece. It also helped when people began actually buying my novel – showing that people would pay their hard earned money to read something that I wrote!
In some ways though, I still doubt that I can label myself ‘an author’. Maybe it’s because an official publishing company didn’t offer to publish my book. After all, I think when writers dream of becoming authors, that’s what they imagine: a professional publisher asking to publish your written work because they think it’s worthy of being read. I mean, that is after all, a dream come true, isn’t it?
The thing is though, that when you really think about it, it’s not how your book gets published that matters. Whether your story is published by a big time publisher or through self-publishing, what’s important is that you wrote your own book and that you got it out there – you took the steps so that readers could read your work! Also, really dedicated readers don’t care who published your written work, but rather they care about it’s quality. Is it a good story? Does it keep them on the edge of their seats? Does it leave them wanting more? All of these traits are what readers are looking for.
I consider a ‘real author’ someone who gets their work published – whether through getting the attention of a professional publisher or through self-publishing. Yes, getting sales is important too, but sometimes it can be hard to get the word out about your book and that’s not your fault.
I want to tell you all an interesting story. For a while, I didn’t even consider myself a writer. In high school, my friend thought I was really good at writing poetry (I think I’m okay at writing poetry, but I’m not great at it). He considered me a writer. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure. I kind of think there’s a difference between being a writer and simply liking to write. To me, a writer is someone who writes a lot (which I always have), enjoys it (again, I also always have), and writes in a lot of different formats – blogs, articles, stories, poetry, etc.
For a while I only really considered myself someone who enjoyed writing and who did a lot of it. I didn’t really consider myself a ‘writer’. Now I do though. This has nothing to do with publishing my book, but rather has to do with the fact that I’ve written for a lot of different things. I write articles for the site, The Seeds 4 Life, write stories, and I write some poetry. Plus, as you all know, I blog! A lot of my focus is on writing, and so, I’m a writer!
I still think that whether or not a writer considers them an author, is what their definition of an author is – not someone else’s. However, I know how hard it can be not to want to be considered an author in the eyes of everyone around you. My point is, that what really matters is that you continue to write and that you have fun doing it! Never give up on your dream!