I can go into this whole thing about what the book is about and how I spent hours upon hours of writing. I can tell stories about how I went through three drafts and had to re-write the ending. I can talk about isbns, self publishing, and the creation of the cover. The thing is, I just don’t want to. I feel that all these things are just to get people excited about a book that came out a year ago.
Instead, I will talk about what it means to be an author. I was having a discussion the other day with a friend a mine and she was telling me that she felt that blogging has become flooded. Everyone wants to blog and if that is the case, does that mean everyone is a writer? I’m not sure I can answer that. I don’t have an MFA. I don’t run writing workshops.
What I do know is that being a writer is something that has defined who I am. I’ve always done it. I’ve always written stories, I just never followed through. Hanging Upside Down is the first real literary work that I’ve followed through on. This does not include research papers, essays, old and new blogs, poems, or short stories that I’ve codified in a nice little folder. The act of following through for me is what changed my status from a writer to an author. It is that act of follow through that has gotten me to finish the second book. I never wanted to be an author of just ONE book.
I’ve enjoyed my rookie year as author. I’ve learned a lot about the industry, about how book sales and royalties work, and I’ve learned how to handle the various amounts of bullshit that comes across my way. I’ve come to respect those who have come before me and those who come out with books almost every year. I find myself enjoying other people’s work a lot more because I can see the little nuances in every chapter while questioning if I would have written some passages differently.
I’ve learned to soak in the successes and deal with the failures and to be honest, there enough on both sides to cancel things out. My measure of success is based on the goals I’ve set for myself. I have never, nor will I ever, base my success on money or fame. Consistency is the only way I can continue to make strides. If I’m constant in what I’m doing the rewards will be far more than I can imagine.
There are some rewards to this. I’ve never said no to anyone who needs advice about writing a book. I feel it is my duty as an author to help writers with their goals. I have a particular interest in writers of color so much so that I have really thought about doing some drastic things. The problem is that I have no time to do anything more than just be a guide.
Lastly, I feel that I need to address a perception that I think people have of authors from my limited point of view in this space. I think there is the perception that because I have a book out that I’m automatically a success in the field. I get the feeling that many people who have not read or bought the book think, I will get to it sometime, he is fine. I say this as a writer of color and not just some self published writer, you cannot simply bypass a product simply because you assume our work is doing well. At the same time, you cannot assume something is not good if we are not mainstream.
Being an author means I’ve joined a community of folks who followed through on their writing goals. I look forward to sharing this journey each step of the way. I still can’t believe it has been a year but pretty soon I will be saying, I can’t believe I wrote a second book.