"So...you're an author?" "Well, I write books." "So, you're an author." **shrugs and winces*** "Sort of?"
Less than a year ago, this was my conversation when someone asked me about my writing. I can still remember the night I posted on Facebook for the first time about Voice of Innocence getting published. I felt an overwhelming need to vomit. I had never told anyone about my ludicrous dream. I never planned on it coming true.
When it did come true, I was terrified. How would people react? What if people didn't like my writing? What if people thought less of me after reading my book? There were a lot of sleepless nights leading up to and even after my release of debut novel.
Even after the reviews starting rolling in, good reviews to my delight, I still struggled with seeing myself as an author. To me, authors were these distant entities I idolized, people who I only had a connection to from reading their words. To be lumped into a category with Nicholas Sparks, Liane Moriarty, and other people I idolized seemed crazy to me. They were authors. I was just someone who published a book. There was a huge disconnect.
Now, here I sit a year later, and I realize how much I've grown from this industry. In December, I published my second novel, Without You, which was a huge boost to my author confidence. I realized the first book wasn't just a fluke or a stroke of rare luck. I could do this. Writing wasn't just a one-time thing.
With this past year has come a lot of confidence. I've been forced to interact with others. I've learned a lot about book writing, book publishing, and especially marketing. I've met tons of new people, both in person and online. I've learned what a lovely community of writers there are. Mostly, though, I've learned that I am an author.
As I prepare to publish a third novel this year and continue working on three other books I have started, I still have to pinch myself sometimes. When a reviewer compares my style to Nicholas Sparks, I'm quick to shake my head. Hey, I'm still getting to used to this world, getting used to the fact my craziest dream came true.
But at least now, almost a year later, I am able to say yes when someone asks if I'm an author. In fact, when someone asks what I do for a living, I now tell them I'm a teacher and an author. I own it.
I've come to realize being an author doesn't mean everyone knows your name or that you're a bestseller or that you've sold millions of copies. It's so much more than that. Being an author means you're willing to share your life view with the world through your words. It means you spend hours and hours telling the story of people you've never met, of people who don't exist.
It means that through good reviews and bad, through good sales and terrible sales, through all sorts of ups and downs, you keep writing your next book. Being an author means you write not for fame or money, but because you simply have to.
So yes, I am a small town girl who never dreamed she would get published.