What does it mean to be an author?
Writing is a solitary existence. You sit alone for hours pounding out as many well-crafted words as you can. Then you toil over plot, prose, character development and tone. If that’s not enough, there’s rounds and rounds of edits before you even send your novel out to beta readers. You will have to write and publish numerous novels to start making real dough.
As an author, I spent years online reading the blogs of those who made it work, such as Joe Konrath. The man makes a truck load of money on his books. It wasn’t overnight and it took a bunch of work, I mean a bunch. Read his blog archive if you think I’m joking. This guy hit the pavement and just did not take “no” for an answer.
I’ve followed Social Media expert, Kristen Lamb. Not only is she very real, she’s super helpful and friendly. I happen to also enjoy her sense of humor and deep affection for Star Wars.
But I digress; these are two examples of people I’ve followed. The list is long. One commonality of these folks is that they serve the reader. Another likeness that appeals to me, is their willingness to share their personal stories (at least with regards to writing) and the struggles it took for them to reach their success. Mr. Konrath doesn’t mind telling you he starved for a while. The wonderful Ms. Lamb doesn’t mind telling you her family thought she was cuckoo for leaving her professional career to dive in as a writer.
Be Who You Are
I am who I am. I drink sometimes. I smoke, though I wish I didn’t. I use foul language at times. My stories nearly always contain violence and sex. It isn’t for everyone, and that much I understand. I don’t expect those folks to purchase my books. I remember reading somewhere that authors put a bit of themselves in characters and that much I believe, I’ve done it myself, even when I didn’t realize it.
But part of being who you are, is understanding who you are. Don’t apologize for it!
I never have, nor will I ever, apologize for who I am. Several events in my life have aided in forming who I am today. I’ve always been one of those people who is very accepting. I keep it simple: as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you’re okay by me!
But there are those fanatics and nuts who will judge you. They won’t like how you represented this or that subject matter. They will say things about you that are not nice.
But this business demands thick skin. If you don’t have it, bow out gracefully. My skin is thick. It’s not that words don’t hurt me, because they do. I often times will go over something someone has said that was negative and see if I can find a positive aspect.
But I am who I am. “I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more, is none.” ~Shakespeare
I’m not advising you to run around and be a douche. Purposefully damaging others who’ve not harmed you is just plain nonsense. As an author, we must try to maintain a certain amount of professionalism. But for Christ’s sake, do not apologize. Be loud, be proud, be you.