Thursday, November 20, 2014

Writer versus Author

I've spent the past eight years writing seriously, and I never dared call my self an author. I was a writer. My definition of what it takes to be called an author wavered a bit, mainly because I couldn't quite pin down whether I would only consider a traditionally published writer to be an author or include self-published writers. It shouldn't be a surprise that the line wavers, because the stigma of self-publishing has itself wavered over these past few years.

I can't say that I have come to a definitive definition even now that I am finally being published. I see some truly excellent self-published books out there, certainly worthy of their author being called an author...but I see many, many more where even if the writer has true talent, they haven't produced the best product that they could have. Perhaps it was not having the money to afford hiring a professional editor. Perhaps it was a rush to get their book into print. I've learned to be patient over the years. I finished my first novel in 2009 and have yet to publish it, though I believe it is very good. I just think it isn't quite good enough yet.
copyright Stephan Martiniere
I do know one thing, though, and that is how I feel after publishing my debut novel. It's a palpable feeling that I can't deny--I feel different than I did. I feel like an author, and now I will call myself an author. It doesn't matter if most people ignore my book. I've already seen, in my brief couple weeks of marketing, that most people--even those who love science fiction--will not even take a glance at the book of an unknown author, regardless of quality, so it is truly difficult to get a good book out before the eyes of the buying public.

But I feel like an author, so I'm happy and I'll keep working at it. There is one thing I do wish readers would be more willing to do. It is so easy for them to help unknown writers gain some notice. If they like a story, why not write a quick review for it? Even a single paragraph, if a few minutes of thought is put into it, on Amazon and Goodreads can add important support for a newbie author.

What are your publishing experiences? If you have self-published, do you feel like an honest-to-goodness author?

p.s. Has anyone tried Ingram's Advance Catalog? Have you found it to be worth the money?


  1. It's difficult even when you're with a publisher to get reviewers and readers to take a look at a book from an unknown.
    And if you are looking for reviewers, send me an email - I just found a site that listed over five hundred reviewers that take indie books.

    1. Alex, I think I used that site already! I looked up the pages of everyone who listed sci-fi. Only a handful responded, and I'm grateful even for that. It's just odd to see people who like a genre but are unwilling even to take a glance at the book of an unknown writer. I know there is a tidal wave of bad to mediocre stuff out there, but that doesn't mean there are no hidden gems.

    2. Alex, have any of your books been put into Ingram's advance catalog? I'm trying to figure out if it is worth it, but there is very little in Google. I can't even find out how many people get a copy.