An Extremely Unscientific Writer’s Scale:
Professional. Amateur. Hobbyist. Wannabe. Awesome passionate dreamer. Devoted Craftsman. (or craftswoman)
What exactly is an indie author? Who am I?
I’ve said before on this blog that I write because I love it. I am compelled to write. I cannot not write. I have stories that I want to tell, and creative outlets that I want to explore, so where does that put me on the indie scale?
By strict definition, I’m not a professional because writing is not my sole means of income. Teaching brings home the bacon for me.
But I certainly don’t consider myself an amateur, and I think that the term “amateur” cannot be correctly applied to indie authors. I (we) strive for a professional level product even if our big break hasn’t come along yet. So step aside amateur, you are not for me.
What about hobbyist? Hobbyist is another term that I’m not comfortable with because it implies something that one does on the side – a thrilling activity that one enjoys, but it isn’t their main gig. But writing for me is far beyond that a side attraction. I used to collect baseball cards, and that was indeed a hobby. I was no expert at collecting, but I learned and had fun with it, but I never expected to make a living doing it. It was a hobby. Writing for me is not a hobby.
Wannabe? Of course that has a negative connotation as well, like a rock groupie who dresses in a star’s clothes and hangs out outside celebrity parties on the weekend. A wannabe says things like, “Look, my book is only 5000 places behind John Grisham’s.” A wannabe is one who compares and wants to succeed because of perception. I am certainly not a wannabe.
Awesome passionate dreamer. Now we are getting somewhere. My mind is constantly working on the next plot or character trait. It’s scanning the environment for possible scenes and action sequences. It knows no bounds. I could be an awesome passionate dreamer, and if that is all I ever am, I’d be happy.
Devoted craftsman. For me, this is my goal. I am devoted to the art of writing. I want to improve every time I touch the keyboard. I strive to improve and create the most exciting, meaningful, and poignant manuscripts that I have within me. I do it not for money or fame or wanting to climb up Amazon’s charts, but I do it because I’m an awesome passionate dreamer.
I think that pretty well describes an indie author. An awesome, passionate dreamer who is a devoted craftsman. Do you agree?