10 Reasons to Become a Fiction Author
When I began my journey as a writer, I had no concept of the difficulty involved in taking a book from idea to publication. After attending a plethora of writer’s conferences, reading a gazillion books, and gathering feedback from numerous industry professionals, I am pleased to announce that everything I learned yesterday will change by tomorrow. Regardless, I’m happy to share what I know with those who might be interested in the thrilling life of a fiction author.
Whether you’re a wanna-be writer or a curious reader, buckle up and dive into (that’s some sort of mixed metaphor, I think. Whatever. The editor will catch it.) the top ten reasons people become fiction writers:
- You believe minimum wage is overrated. Why make $7.25 an hour when you can put hundreds of hours into a novel that you’ll sell for $.99 and eventually give away for free? Your new mantra will be, “I may not be making money at this, but that’s okay. I do it because I love it.” Then you’ll weep, open another giant bag of M&M’s (that cost the equivalent of four of your books), and get back to work.
- Your mother says you’re a really good writer and she would never lie about something like that. In fact, she still has the poem you wrote in third grade as proof you’re a natural talent. It’s written in red crayon, doesn’t rhyme, has several misspelled words, and didn’t make sense to anyone except you. Much like your work-in-progress, though you’ve switched to the more professional blue crayon.
- You love to learn obscure facts from readers. Like how your WWII novel is worthless because you wrote about a soldier firing an M1 Bazooka, but any idiot knows that by the time the Allies invaded Sicily it was more likely the soldier would have fired an M1A1 Bazooka. And then you have to flip through the book because you don’t even remember writing about a bazooka.
- A three-hour discussion with your editor on the modern-day usage of a semicolon not only sounds appealing but is something you’d cancel your weekend plans for. And at the end of the call, you both decide it’s best to table the conversation until the situation with the exclamation point in Chapter Fourteen is resolved.
- One time in high school your English teacher gave you a B+ on your book report for The Canterbury Tales and wrote that she “found your writing style to be above average” (though she didn’t clarify whether that was above average for the class or just you).
- If (famous author) can write a best seller, you can too. After all, you read their most recent book and it’s barely okay. If something like that drivel can make it to the top of the New York Times’ list, your novel is a shoo-in. Never mind that they’ve spent decades building a loyal fan base who would buy (famous author’s) used Kleenexes if their name was on it.
- You believe that rejection is good for you. Hard work is its own reward. When agents and editors and publishers all tell you that your book isn’t ready, you take those comments in the spirit they were intended. This isn’t your baby they’re rejecting. The thing you’ve poured your soul into. It’s only a book. Right?
- You enjoy eye-rolling and heavy sighs from your friends and family. You let them know you’re thinking about writing a book and they all tell you how easy that would be, and wouldn’t your time be better spent doing something productive? I mean, it’s not like you actually have to do anything besides sit at a keyboard and type.
- You love being yelled at by anonymous people for inane reasons. Like when you get a one-star review because Amazon delivered your book late. Or you’re an extortionist because the first book in the series (which the reader got free) contains a minor subplot that carries over to the next book and now the reader actually has to spend $.99 to buy the sequel (horrors!) if they want to know what happens. But you don’t become bitter about it. Nope. Not at all.
- You know that numbers two through ten don’t matter because you have a story you want to tell, and you’ll do whatever it takes to get it in readers’ hands.
Fiction authors can be an odd bunch. There are hundreds of reasons to write a novel, and thousands of reasons not to. So why do we do it? I can’t speak for all of us, but I can say that somewhere out there is a reader who’s going to stumble across my book, take a chance on it, and fire off a quick email to me that says, “Loved your story. Keep writing.” And for the brief period until numbers two through ten dominate my thoughts again, I’ll know it’s all worth it.
Tom Threadgill is the author of the Jeremy Winter series of thrillers (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), as well as Collision of Lies, available February 4th from Baker Publishing Group. His books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in rural western Tennessee and can be reached through his website at TomThreadgill.com.