Writer vs. Published Author

A post over at The Forget-Me-Not Cultivation blog got me to pondering this morning.  And I left a comment…

Which Sophie responded to and asked me questions I realized I couldn’t in good conscience respond to without appearing to hijack her comments area as my own personal blog space – so here’s my answer in reply to your query, all umpteen hundred words safely nestled on my slice of cyberspace:

“May I ask why you have decided to self publish? Have you had your work read or critiqued as yet and if so can I also ask how?”

I’ve decided to self-publish, because I can.

It’s really as simple as that.  My computer has a file folder titled “Writing” and so many sub-folders it’s ridiculous.   Before I had a PC, I carted with me various notebooks/folders/three-ring binders that had short stories, poems, prose and journals stacked within them.   Like you, Sophie, I’ve always been a writer and with the dawning of the ePublications age, I see no reason why not to upload my work and see what happens.

The mechanics of ePublishing does not occur to me to be very hard – there are numerous tutorials on how to format, etc.  I’m no graphic artist, but I know my way around Photoshop well enough to design websites and my wants for my cover design are not past my skill level.

I follow so many different blogs from writers and self-published authors there is no shortage of information regarding how-to and how-not-to.   I’ve ordered many self-published works in the past – some were good, some were not.

I’ve seen what is out there and I believe my work will have an audience and stand up to critiquing from that audience (as long as my high school English teacher proofreads it for me!  LOL)

Do I expect to become a self-supporting author shortly after publishing?  No.

Because I do not, and because I’ve already written these works and had previously designed the covers after envisioning the series of them one day during my afternoon “Daydreaming” hour, I really don’t have anything to lose by self-publishing.    Most of the time and effort have already been spent.  I simply must correct the typos/grammar errors given to me by my red-penciled angels, select my fonts and upload.

Any sales I make will be awesome because I haven’t taken out a loan to pay others to help me get the work “publication ready.”

So far, I’m sure my observations have made some in the self-published world cringe – there are perhaps some souls who believe me, and those like me, to be the bane of the eBook world and wish for us lackadaisical folks to quit ruining the reputation of the ‘published it myself’ crowd with our less than polished submissions.

I will not apologize.  I’ll submit the best of my best.   My cover may not make Madison Avenue exclaim, “It Pops!” but it is what I want.   I will always hire a proofreader to ensure a typo-free copy for upload.  I will format my manuscript for easy navigation (thanks to my many years as a database and website developer).   I will tell my story the best I know how and…

… the rest is up to Destiny.

Work Critiques

The only work I’ve had critiqued is the articles and book copy I’ve written for the publications of others.  Sometimes I got a credit/byline and sometimes I did not.   This prior experience may make me a tad more confident in my writing abilities than I should be.

I have not trucked my work around to writer’s groups to have it critiqued.  Some years ago, a friend joined a writer’s group and I went along for the ride to one or two meetings when I was visiting her.

While I’m not judging (truly, I’m not), I must say not one in the group was a writer.    All of them had recently read “The Four Hour Work Week” and were set to become millionaires maintaining their ‘information publication website’.   They all had knowledge that was useful to share – and worthy of charging for the sharing – but after seeing some of the manuscripts, they were not, quite yet, writers.

Not that I believe all writers groups to be like this, but the experience reminded me how often over the years various works had been thrust into my hands to be read with an added, “What do you think?   Could I get published?”

Now why, you might ask, was I the recipient of these missives?   Because I’m a writer – – which means not only do I write for enjoyment, but I never spend very long at any job before I’m the go-to gal for helping write the perfect memo, resignation, letter, manual, report, brochure, web copy, etc….

I’ve been a ghost writer for years – there are many who know what they want to say, but cannot write it effectively.   It makes me happy to do website copy for someone and hear:

“Amazing!  It’s exactly what I wanted only so much better!  How did you get all of this just by us having coffee and a chat?”

Because I’m a storyteller who can write…

So my life experience tells me I am a writer.   My soul says I’m a writer.

Why not take the leap to become a published author?

So if you’re so casual about it, why do it at all?

Because I must.

😀

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28 thoughts on “Writer vs. Published Author”

    1. Thank you. The general topic of ‘how do we value our work/experience’ has been on my mind these past two weeks – I know I tend to undervalue what I can do, sometimes – Sophie’s post just reminded me of how wrapped around the axle we can all get when looking at breaking into a new field – forgetting that much of our prior experience and knowledge is most likely transferable.

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  1. 🙂 Just commented on the other post ‘What kind of writer are you?’. Really didn’t know you’re a ghost writer until I read this post. I think you’re a great storyteller…..so just go for it and start writing your book now. Remember, dreams will turn into reality *(^___^)*

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    1. I have several in the works – Inheritances is due out in November as my red-penciled angels didn’t get it back to me prior to gardening/landscaping season starting! LOL

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  2. Good for you! My inherent “INTJ” personality would have stopped when I read the “……Have you had your work read or critiqued as yet and if so can I also ask how?”” and replied “I don’t know, are you capable of asking how?” and left it at that. But that is my snarky side… (All I hear are my mom’s words ringing in my ears correcting grammar and charging $ in an attempt to keep the English language in its proper format.) And I was greatly relieved to learn that once one knows the rules, one may break them when writing – so said my creative writing professor – 🙂 But not APA format which normally has my attention and pocketbook…
    Write on!

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    1. Sometimes our snarky sides just can’t help but leap up when things that we were taught as wrong jump out in front of us, eh? My big pet peeve is when people say, “your” or “their” when it’s really supposed to be “you’re” or “they’re” – LOL

      I, too, have heard and read the line about ‘breaking the rules, but only once you know them’ many times…in my 20s, I chalked this up to a prime example of teachers and elders displaying the
      “Do as we say, not as we do” phenomena. 😀

      I must say, since my stroke, I sometimes misplace homonyms – Since/Sense, etc. – Bless you for being so kind in not pointing out every single time I do this! 😀

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        1. Good, cuz then I can afford to purchase yours! LOL
          Set to come out in November (the proofreading angels go way-laid by Life this spring and I’m into outdoor landscaping/gardening activities now, so moved the date from June 1st to November…)
          Rest assured, I will be blogging all about it the moment I successfully upload it for sale! LOL

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        2. Which one? LOL – – There’s only one I think would transfer to the big screen and I definitely want Sandra Bullock for the heroine – Liam Neeson for the part of the holy man. The child-unit just shared Thor with me and I’m thinking Chris Hemsworth would be just right for the part of king – Katherine Ross for the heroine’s mom and Sam Elliot for the wise man ….

          But this is all conjecture – if I can’t figure out the meadow scene here soon, it will sit on the shelf for another year or two….LOL

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  3. OK. Why WOULDN’T someone self publish? It is a great way to test the waters, to see if your writing really can sell, and who knows, you might get discovered by some agent who can help you make millions. Meanwhile, you write, you publish, you sell (or not).

    Good fro you for taking the plunge to put your writing out there.

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  4. Gosh, that has given me a lot to think about. Having my blog and writing for others is definitely a challenge I love. The more complicated the subject the more enthused I get about it. Novel and story writing is just much more personal although that thinking has indeed held me back. Now I see that if I truly believe what I write there should be no stopping me. Writers group didn’t do much for me either. As a introvert writing is my stage (so to speak), It’s a way of me not having to speak, yet be heard all at the same time. So I’m just going to do it….! Thanks again for that 🙂

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    1. I thought so…
      😀
      About all the self-help world gave me was unbounding enthusiasm to try nearly anything at least once …
      except for bungee-jumping….
      LOL

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        1. Kudos to you for bravery – I’m fearless when it comes to rules/social conventions, but I just don’t see the point in trying things that lead to ‘accidental suicide’ –
          LOL

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        2. It was shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer. I think i went through the obligatory who gives a crap I’m going to die anyway moment. I have grown up a lot since then.

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        3. “Life’s Too Short” is my motto and while I’m a gutless wonder when it comes to adrenaline sports – doesn’t mean no one should do it! 😀
          I would say that everyone, at one point or another, goes through the ‘who gives a crap, I’m going to die anyway” moments – some at a younger age than others – but I do believe those moments to hold great gifts that can shape our futures for the better!
          And remembering, every day, that we’re going to die, anyways, seems to me a comforting thought – frees up my mind for, “So what am I gonna do today, then?”

          😀

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