We individuals who publish our own books often refer to ourselves as Indie Authors. Sometimes, we are called Self-Published Authors, which doesn’t sound quite as cool, but is technically correct. Once in a while, somebody will even group us under the heading of Narcissistic Hacks. This doesn’t bother me; everyone is entitled to their opinion, and some of us are narcissistic hacks. Besides, I have pretty thick skin by now.
I’ve had lots of time to develop my thick skin. I’ve been writing stories and listening to feedback on them since I can remember. That’s a lot of practice. Whether it’s made my storytelling any good is not for me to judge. But it has made me more accepting of criticism. That’s important, if you want to be a writer someday.
Am I a narcissistic hack? I want to say no, but the truth is that the jury is still out on that one. After all, wouldn’t a good writer have an agent and a real publisher by now? Maybe. Or maybe he discovered that jumping through the hoops of the traditional publishing world took up too much of his actual writing time. We hacks need to keep day jobs to feed our families, you know. The truth lies somewhere on the spectrum between not good enough and not interested enough in the traditional publishing complex. That’s a pretty wide spectrum and I don’t know how to begin to find myself there.
The good news is that anybody else, who cares to, can quite easily peg my spot on the spectrum. My work is in the marketplace and available for anyone to read. Any reader could likely do in the space of a few chapters what I can’t do in a lifetime: label me good, bad, or indifferent with confidence.
Why would anybody want to spend time and money doing this? There’s no good reason that goes any deeper than simple curiosity. But isn’t that why anyone picks up any new book – to discover if it will entertain them?
You shouldn’t trust me to tell you if I am any good as a writer. You can trust me when I tell you that I work hard at it. My priority has never been to cast the widest net by turning out books as quickly as I can. I spend years on each of my books. I rewrite them time and time again, always searching for a better way to tell the story. It’s nothing I would advise anybody to do for fun or profit.
I’ve been searching for the right words since elementary school. I expect to still be searching in the retirement home. If my writing is found wanting, it must be from the lack of talent because it is not from the lack of effort.
That’s enough about me. I must be starting to sound like a narcissistic hack.