Five Misconceptions About Authors
by Emerian Rich
Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions in email. I love hearing from readers and listeners, it means someone is enjoying my work and man, that feels good!
However, I don’t know why readers are interested in me as a person. I began writing to escape my own boring or depressing existence and go to a world where I could make cool things happen. So, my real life, the one where I have to go grocery shopping and clean the bathroom, just doesn’t seem interesting to me. Writers are normal people with mortgages, bills, and four a.m. screams for “Mom!” as their kid throws up on the new rug.
Here are a few misconceptions readers have about us authors that I want to clear up.
- We’re all rich. Okay, so my last name is Rich, but yeah…not rich. Writing doesn’t exactly pay what you might think. Although all the press surrounds the big stars who sell movie deals and become teenage obsessions, most authors actually have to scrimp and save just like everyone else. And the amount we spend on just one text alone would have us set for life if we got paid by the hour. Unfortunately, we are paid very little compared to the amount of work that goes into our text. Which is why misconception #2 is on this list.
- We don’t have day jobs. Almost every single author I know has a day job, including me up until about a year ago. I can now write full time, but only because life required I stay home to take care of my special needs child. Even for the authors who stay home, it is rare to find one that is actually writing 24-7. Usually we have to take other jobs in our field (editors, columnists, bloggers) to supplement the fiction we love writing.
- We all know each other, especially in the same genre. I know a lot of authors…A LOT! But even with all the authors I’ve connected with, there are thousands I don’t know. So just because we both wrote a vampire novel, doesn’t mean I’ve got her on speed dial. Stephanie Meyers and Anne Rice don’t know what I am. Stephen King couldn’t pick me out of a crowd, and no, Neil Gaiman still hasn’t invited me over for dinner. So while I appreciate you thinking I run in such high society, I don’t. In fact, knowing what it’s like to be a writer, I would guess they keep their acquaintances close and limited to those they absolutely trust.
- We know every series in our genre. I would never get any writing done if this were true. If I read every vampire series, for instance, I’d just be doing that full-time. There are so many! And to tell you the truth, I purposely don’t read vampire fiction when I’m writing vampire fiction because I’d rather not be swayed by the other author’s storyline or series ideas. I might read research on vampires, or relationships, or weapons, but I don’t want to taint my own vision of what will happen in my series by accident, subconsciously.
- Writing comes easy to us. Ideas, stories, characters, come easy. Writing is HARD. Very hard. Why do you think we have editors? Why do you think we post FB and Twitter messages about our obsession with this or that text with expletives on the ones talking about editing? We love what we do and so we deal with that part of it, but it’s just like serving a lavish dinner. Creating and serving it up to our guests is the fun part. Clean up is a bitch!
So next time you read a book from an author you like and feel enjoyment from the story we’ve told, please remember us, the little people, trapped under piles of text, drowning in edits and rewrites. Tell us how much you’ve enjoyed it. Leave a review to show you care. Tell your friends about it and get them to read it. Spread the love so that we can continue to bring you fun, exciting works to fill your day.