Wednesday, June 02, 2010

You Are Not Your Book!!

It's something we hear constantly as aspiring authors. Mostly as a way to distance ourselves from rejections, blindingly painful revisions, rejections, apathetic agents and editors, rejections. You know.

But can I suggest that it is something you should keep in mind even after you are published? And not just to distance yourself from bad reviews. Do not judge yourself, or based your level of self- or professional-confidence on how "big" or awarded your book is. Please!

I have traveled a lot this year and one of the aspects of that that I have really enjoyed is meeting other authors. People like me who have the same oddities, obsessions, and neuroses!! Hooray!

But I am going to scream, if I hear another author say, "Oh, I'm just the author of (fill in the blank.)"

No!! You are not "just" anyone!! You are an author! A published author who has gone through the sweat, blood, and tears of rejections, revisions, the stress of launch day, the gut-rolling rollercoaster of sales. You are an amazing person who has accomplished great things! Some of the most wonderful people I have met are "small" authors who have books at specialized publishers. And those authors will often practically apologize for the niche-ness of their book. Please don't! Your book doesn't have an award next to it--it's not a bestseller. SO?!?!?!? You are still a wonderful author and you deserve my respect. More than that, you deserve YOUR respect.

Repeat after me, I am not my book.

And if you are on the other end of the spectrum and you are an awarded or bestselling author who treats other authors as lesser? I have no words for you. Not any that are appropriate for this blog anyway.:D

Ciao!

23 comments:

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Thanks for this.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I love you for posting this because I've had the urge to smack people for saying the same things. When did self denigration turn into a synonym for humility? Writing takes time, effort, talent, and dedication no matter what you write.

If you finish a novel, you've accomplished something - whether it gets published or not. There's no even ground with publishing. Others aren't taking slots from you or "beating" you at a game. There's no "runner up" that can advance if the winner steps aside.

Each book is an individual occurrence, and it's unlike any other. Its success and audience are unique to it. Sure, we all hope to hit the top of the NYT list, but even that's not determined by common criteria. There are sales, and pre-sales, among other things that go into the equation.

A book at a small press that sells through three print runs could be considered a monster success even though it sells less than a third of the initial run of a major house publication that's considered a flop.

Natalie Whipple said...

You're the bestest:) I love the writing community—all of us wherever we are at. We are writers, plain and simple.

Aubrey said...

Love this! Well said.

It is so hard to separate ourselves from our work and to compare ourselves. I needed this reminder today!

Patti said...

We can all benefit from hearing this, no matter what stage we're at.

Amanda said...

Nicely put.

Laura said...

I appreciate your thoughts on so many levels. I've seen the "totem pole" too many times. Everyone feels they're somewhere on it. The ones who act like they're on the bottom don't give themselves enough credit. The ones who are sure they're on the top have to be careful. As we face rejections, we have to remember that success isn't determined by how many no's we get, but by just the right amount of yes's.

As a writer you will never know the lives you touch with your words. It's impossible to measure the impact you've made on the world. People you will never meet with who your words will live forever.

Kathryn Leigh said...

Thanks for being amazing! I'm new to following your blog, & this post seems to be meant for me. I went to your YA panel at Phoenix Comicon having only a vague recognition of WINGS. Now I'm going to go out & buy it because you are brilliant & encouraging.

Elle Strauss said...

It's really hard not to fall into the trap of comparing in this business, but as the saying goes, they who compare themselves among themselves are not wise...

Thanks for the reminder.

Don said...

Yanno, that little smack to the head kinda hurt a little.

Thanks. I needed it.

Donald J Carey
Proud author of Bumpy Landings

(Hey, that wasn't so bad...)

Ezmirelda said...

Very wise words.
By the way you're an AMAZING author. Just thought I'd put that out there. :)

Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy] said...

Hi April, I'm having tech difficulties with your email addy. Did you get me message about your interview for June 6th?

AllThingsurbanfantasy AT gmail DOT com

Amber Lynae said...

I love this post. It think it applies to more than just writing too. Sometimes people need to own their talents and hard work.

Kay said...

Well said, and so true!!

Thanks for sharing, and I'm not officially a follower!

Kay
www.kayemevans.com/blog

Kay said...

Wait! Scratch that! I am NOW officially a follower. Can't wait till blogger comes out with a spell check feature for comments. Yeesh. :-)

Karen Adair said...

You go girl!

fyi, my verification word is whastru. WHAT'S TRUE! So appropriate for this blog posting.

Heather said...

Hoo Rah. Wait, can I say that if I'm not a marine?! You make a fantastic point. I will remember, I am not my book. A new mantra for those editing days!

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks for that. You'd be surprised how many authors--even small press authors--have a tendency to treat other small press authors like they have reason to be apologetic.

I agree. No words at all.

But for the rest of us, yeah. It's a huge accomplishment. Definite reason to be proud.

Kelly Bryson said...

Great post! I just read Wings this afternoon- I don't know how I missed it before, and loved it. Congrats to you and good luck on Spells.

I was listening to Laurie Berkner with my kiddoes and the song "I'm not perfect...but I do my very best each day" played and it really hit me. I just do my best, and the rest is not any of my business.

Mary Alvarez said...

Josin L. McQuein said. . ."When did self denigration turn into a synonym for humility?"

You hit the nail on the head. The cure is a re-focused view of what humility really is. I think C.S. Lewis represented it accurately when he said:

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less."

=)

Anonymous said...

This was wonderfully said. As a reader some of the most inspiring books for me have been from authours who are not well known; and they have made a huge impact on my life =)

Nikki said...

This is so true. I cringe when I hear women put themselves down to compliment other people. If you have to put yourself down for me to look good, than I'd rather not look good. That being said, it's a hard habit to stop. Especially for me who's writings are trapped on her hard drive dying to get out into the published world. It's hard to not want to bow down at the feet of, say a bestselling author and in true "Wayne's World" style chant, "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!"
But I have learned to praise myself what I have done and not for what I haven't reached yet. It helps me hold my head a little higher.

Valerie Ipson said...

Very well said. I appreciated the comments, too.