So You Think You Can Write, But Are You An Author?

When people hear I’m a writer, I typically get three responses:

1.  The Change Subject Approach

Me:  “Hi, I love to write, mostly short stories. Been dabbling with novels too.”

Them:  “So how about them Yankees?”

They immediately talk about something else without even acknowledging what I said as though I’ll become annoying and pushy, trying to sell my book. It’s usually fun to see what lengths some people go to avoid the issue. The next time I see them I make sure never to bring the topic up again.

2.  The Supportive Approach

Me:  “Hi, I love to write, mostly short stories. Been dabbling with novels too.”

Them:  “Oh that’s so cool. I’ve always been impressed with someone who can write a novel. How do you do it?”

They say cool beans and ask if my book is out, so they can buy it. They excitedly ask me questions about the writing process and later reveal they always wanted to write a novel too. This is my favorite type of person to meet 🙂 I usually give them writing tips if they ask, encouraging them to write–even if start out small with flash fiction or a short story, its a huge accomplishment. The next time they meet me, they talk about writing again (like their favorite books, quotes, authors). I feel comfortable enough to give them my business card without feeling like a pompous ass hee hee.

3.  The Annoying “I-I-I-I” Approach

Me:  “Hi, I love to write, mostly short stories. Been dabbling with novels too.”

Them:  “I’ve published yadda yadda; my influences and inspiration are yadda yadda….”

Once they hear me, they don’t ask any questions about my writing style, influences, type of genres I’m interested in. They automatically focus all their attention on themselves where the conversation turns into “I-I-I-I”. Did I mention “I-I-I-I?” Because if I did, I didn’t express it enough.

They talk about how they wrote this, published that, their influences, yadda yadda yadda. Then they proceed to tell me how the publishing industry works based off the vanity press they use, which is TYPICALLY WRONG INFO. But no, can’t tell them that. Whenever I bring up how Createspace, Lulu, and Smashwords allows you to self-publish for free, I get shot down like I’m an idiot. They end up demeaning my accomplishments because–gasp–I’m not published yet. They act like its a race.

And to add to the annoying factor, at the end of the conversation, they tell me–not ask–to buy their book(s), usually at The next time I see them, I regret ever telling them I was a writer hee hee. They ask if I brought their book(s) yet then proceed to scold me if I say no. Once again, I get the pleasure of hearing wrong facts about the publishing industry. Since they speak at me (instead of to me), I’m in the clear to stare at them but daydream. Since they don’t care what I have to add to the conversation, I don’t have to come up with something to say on the spot when I see their lips stop moving. I don’t have to pretend like I was listening beyond the 45 minute lecture.


Soon, I hope to express that I’m an author. Maybe the responses will be the same, maybe not. I can’t wait to find out. I already made up my mind that I will publish on Amazon and/or Createspace. I keep debating whether I want to just do ebooks or in-print as well. Leaning more towards just ebooks, but we’ll see. That’s why I want to do things right by getting critique partners and beta-readers’ opinions, then hiring an editor. This takes time, but it’ll be worthwhile when i hit the “submit” or “publish” button.

Being a realist, I don’t have dreams of becoming famous. I know I’ll still have to keep my day job (unfortunately hee hee). But if I can get at least one person to say they enjoy my books, then I’ll be happy.

And, I’m not going the self-publishing route because I’m scared of rejection. Quite the opposite. I’m an impatient person and don’t believe in waiting months to years before hearing if your submission was accepted or rejected. If accepted, have to wait a year to appear on bookshelves–will be taken down if don’t make the best-seller list within six months.

With an e-book or print-on-demand, your novel or short story lasts forever unless you take it down. That way if it takes years to build a fan-base, you have time without feeling like a failure. I’ve done the research. I know most authors don’t get recognized until their third or fourth book. You have to promote and market yourself. Finally my marketing, accounting, business background will come in handy 🙂

I’m making a pledge right now. You can’t see me, but I’m raising my right hand. When my books come out:

  • I promise not to spam messageboards or any other social media.
  • I promise not to beg my friends or acquaintances to buy my book. I won’t constantly bring the topic up to the point you’ll avoid me at all costs.
  • I swear not to use the “I-I-I-I” marketing method.

I mentioned earlier that I’m not scared of rejection. Well, I submitted a short story to the Shepherd University writing contest. I received an email recently that I wasn’t a finalist. I’m still proud of myself for putting my work out there. That’s a step to becoming a successful writer. I’ll admit I was bummed for a nanosecond, but then I noticed a request to edit my work and submit to their anthology–all was right in the world again.

Since I have a vigilant personality style, I’m always researching to make sure I don’t get scammed. I didn’t find anything suspicious on absolute write, or any of the other warning websites. The only thing I noticed was the Anthology of Appalachian Writers doesn’t sell on Amazon. People can only buy it from the university’s bookstore. If I get into this collection, then college students can read a story of mine. It’d be cool to say I published with a short story. Duotrope is an awesome website that shows publications looking for submissions, whether they pay or not, and submission requirements.

My philosophy is start small, have realistic expectations, and work your way up to the top.

Before I can say I’m a published author,  I’ll have to keep enduring the question “Are you published yet?” Monica wrote a funny post Ten Replies For People Who Ask If You’re Published. I think I’ll use #4 “I’m trying to remain neutral in the publishing war by keeping my books out of circulation. And, #5 “Amazon begged me to de-list my titles–my royalites almost bankrupted them.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby


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