Sunday, August 3, 2014

Authorial Labels--The Good, The Bad, The Why Bother?

Over the course of the past few years, I've met some really great people who just happen to have a knack for creating fantastic worlds, intriguing characters, and plot lines that just drag a reader into the prose by the throat and hold them there until those two little words--THE END--reach the eyes. One of them is my dear, dear friend, Allie Burke. Allie is a California girl, and when she's not goofing off with calf-high toe socks and writing her name, graffiti-style, with sparkly spray paint, she writes romance novels that are absolutely kick-ass. Before you read on, go onto Amazon and grab her titles--that's TITLES, you perverts--to make the red-headed nerd a happy girl. Anyway....

Allie recently penned a blog that came to my attention, and I have the feeling that it came about after she had mentioned earlier this week that she was just about at her breaking point when it came to people with the first name "Author" friending her on Facebook. Completely understandable. The blog she wrote and posted to Doubleshot Book Reviews noted that she is tired of the label "Author," too. And while I agree with most of her blog--I, too, despise some of the marketing tactics of authors who'll follow you on Twitter, then when you follow them back, they DM Bomb you with a link to either buy their books or follow their author page on Facebook; which is kind of ridiculous, if you think about it, and why I don't do that--I have to say I like the label that my friend dislikes. She says she would prefer to use the term "writer," and again, I understand that. She writes. I write. Loads of people write.

But there's a difference here, gang: While writers write, authors just happen to be read--by readers. Allie is read by multiple readers. I am read by multiple readers. Loads of authors are read by multiple readers. We are authors, hear us roar in the form of violently typity-typing on our keyboards!

Meow. But I digress...

What I do hate regarding the labels in this business is the way some readers--and in a way, some authors themselves--differentiate authors/writers, and please note that this is not a whiny post: I'm a little perturbed over the label of "traditionally-published author" and the "self-published author."

We all know here that I am self-published, or as some like to say, "indie." I wear loads of hats in the game, beyond the conception and actual writing. There is nothing wrong with that, and as many have realized, the self-publishing stigma is gone with the advent and the continuation of the digital revolution. And with the revolution as it stands, I've had the opportunity to be read by readers--just like the authors are, the ones who go through New York and don't wear all the hats of the business like I do. My pal Rich Meyer has called me, "a bloody indie superstar." There are "traditionally-published" authors who I am proud to call friends in this business, and I can say without a doubt that they are just as happy for my success as I am. As they always say, and I completely agree with this, it's better to make money with your work self-publishing than just having your manuscript sit in an ever-growing slush pile with no guarantee that a publishing company intern is going to read your work and pass it on to their higher-ups.

I personally don't like those labels. Why not just call us authors--or, like Allie desires, writers--and be done with it?

The day that comes about, without labels, will be a fantastic day indeed.