I love Wikipedia’s opening line concerning writing, they say –
“A writer is a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce various forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays…”
By this definition alone a lot of us would be writers wouldn’t we? But there are many who don’t hold to this definition alone. Many believe a writer is a person whose book has been published by, and only by, a traditional publishing house. If that’s the definition at heart than all of us independently published (i.e. Indie) writers wouldn’t be considered real writers at all would we?
I remember back in the day there was a term called ‘vanity press’. This term was used to describe someone who paid to have their book published. Back in the day vanity press authors weren’t considered to be ‘real’ writers. As a matter of fact the feeling was quite the opposite – they were people who either weren’t serious enough about writing to shop their book around to the various publishing houses or they were people who couldn’t get their book published having been rejected by numerous publishing houses. The people who fit in either category paid a vanity press to have a few copies of their book made and they sold them to their family and friends. These ‘vanity’ writers weren’t considered to be real writers – just dreamers who were satisfied with selling that one book in their gut to loved ones and friends and then putting a copy on their bookshelf and moving on cause that one itch in life had been scratched.
How grateful I am that for the most part that attitude’s changed. Gone is the old stigma of vanity presses, and self-publishing has become a respectable option for authors like me.
People choose to self-publish for a variety of reasons; content control, the immediacy of the book being available as opposed to waiting a year if it’s with a traditional publishing house, being able to keep a larger portion of the royalties, and tons of other reasons. Independent publishing has advanced to the point where many indie publishing companies put out finished products that rival what you find coming out of a traditional publishing house, and there are marketing companies out there whose sole purpose is to help the indie writer market their books to independent bookstores and the reading public at large.
Being an ‘indie writer’ is a hard and arduous endeavor, but it is no less fulfilling. The sale of my first book – The Heart’s Journey Home was respectable. I feel I can honestly say I have a bit of a following. Those folks who have spoken to me about the book love it and can’t wait for the next book in the series. The second book of the series – A Layover in Doppelganger-ville is with the publisher now and I look forward to it being available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and iTunes within the next few weeks.
I’m a writer. When that first person I wasn’t related to, or married to, or friends with, went to Amazon and purchased my book, that day I became a writer, for real and for true. I have high hopes. I hope to one day get an agent and publish a book through a traditional publishing house. I hope to make the New York Times bestseller’s list. Shoot, I hope to one day win the Pulitzer Prize in Literature. I guess at the end of the day I want the enviable careers of the likes of J.K Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Green, James Patterson, and Steven King. I want to one day retire from my 9-5 job and write for a living – a real good living.
For now? I want to write words in “various styles and techniques to communicate ideas.” I want to “produce various forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays…”
At the end of the day I want to grow in the craft I’ve loved since forever and make friends and a flollowing along the way.
I’m a writer, and this is what we writers do and dream.