Thursday, September 14, 2017

What It Takes To Be A Published Author

To be a published author requires a lot more than simply having a book printed and available or someone to buy. Being a published author requires a level of professionalism and a dedication to the craft and the industry. Unfortunately, with the rise of "self-publishing" avenues that allow people to just post books, that commitment to the craft and industry is often missed.

Let me say, before going any further, that I am not against the self-publishing model. There are a lot of cases where this is the best approach for an author, due to the nature of the book he or she is writing, or the genre. However, there are still far too many people that I see out there at conferences who proclaim being a published author and really are only people who have written "something", "printed" something and are now "selling" something.

The industry of publishing and writing is unique in that people can certainly be writers and enjoy telling stories or just writing something. This is creative writing. This is a chance to explore personal emotions and feelings. However, this is also an industry where people can turn that hobby into a business. It is that shift that, if done properly can turn that hobby writer into a professional writer.

As I said, being a professional writer requires thinking of this as not just a hobby. Think of how you approach any other job. You show up to work on time. You dress the part. You act the part. Being in a job is not just a matter of saying that you are. It isn't like those commercials that say "I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV."

I bring this up because I see far too many authors at conferences, or get submissions from people who seem to forget that the editors and agents out there are doing this for a living. They seem to forget that when they show up at a conference and are not being "professional" it is a reflection on the whole industry.

So, if you are a hobby writer, I applaud you and please, continue that way if you wish to. But, if you are ready to make the jump to being a professional writer, or you are one, consider the fact that you are now in a writing career. This is a job.


  1. I agree. People who know me know I'm a full-time dental hygienist, and can't believe I ever had time to write, and publish a YA series. And I did it the old fashion self publishing. I'm not taking anything away from self publishers, here, I'm only saying that for me, I want to be a full-time author, and I believe that takes 100% dedication. It IS a job. How am I trying to achieve that? After my eight-hour days, I come home, make dinner, then go to my part-time my bedroom/office where I work three hours a night from 8p-11p. My publisher does not require an agent, however...again, for ME...I believe I NEED an agent to get where I want to be. Paying someone a well deserved 15% will still net me much more than I could ever get paid on my own. So I write, I read, I go to conferences and workshops, and I query ... and most importantly, I listen. In any job a person MUST listen and respect job reviews. I've never worked anywhere in my life where an employee can argue back, and insult someone giving them a review like I've heard authors do to agents when they reject them with constructive criticism. That's not the way to stay employed. So, yes...this IS a job, and I intend to excel. :)

  2. I have done my share of reading and reviewing self published books. Some are good and I've read my share of the ones that needed help before the writer hit that publish button.