I know this will be a divisive topic, but it’s something that crops up a lot in the world of indie and self-published authors. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times before, but I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to the subject as a way of fully explaining my position.
In the last two years I have written four novels, a series of six novellas, and nine short stories. I have also had a number one in the UK in the cyberpunk category with the first of my novels, The Binary Man.
I don’t consider myself a writer. I consider myself a father who writes.
This is not because I don’t value what I’m doing, day in, day out. I don’t consider writing a hobby. I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. I love crafting a story, honing it, and trying to get my words into the correct order so that they can convey precisely the image that I had in mind. I may not always achieve this, but the action itself is addictive.
It’s also not because I think that only traditionally published authors are bona fide. There are many writers who are self-publishing and have a great standard of prose, and I’ve been lucky enough to read some of their stuff. It’s humbling.
The reason is simply this… if I call myself a writer, then my success (or relative lack of it) is more immediate. If I measure my worth by my income (as many do, though I don’t) and judge it solely on my earnings from my books, I would fail to provide for myself or my kids. If I were to judge myself on the performance of my books and how well I think they should do (I really think Shy could do well, but as yet it hasn’t), I’d give up writing in an instant just to preserve my mental health.
I don’t want to give up writing. I want to carry on practicing, getting in my 10,000 hours so that I can finally get that missing something that will make one of my stories take off. If it means that I have to go a few more years without calling myself a writer, then so be it. At least the writing will still get done.