In previous blogs I may have given the impression that I felt much like an apprentice in the presence of masters while at Launchpad in Laramie, WY. This feeling persisted even though the organizer (Mike Brotherton) as well as other heavily published authors in the group explained to me that I was doing very well as an author. Despite these reassurances, the feeling persisted - until today.
I have to thank a tweet by Nova Ren Suma for allowing me to clarify where this feeling came from. Now that I know the source, I can honestly say I no longer feel like the underdog. In fact, I am now confident in my ability to write a good story. My reviews and sales are proof. So what was this tweet? She was in the Denver airport leaving at the end of Launchpad when she spotted a copy of her book 'Imaginary Girls' on the shelf. She apparently yelled out 'Oh My God!' loud enough to scare away a nearby passerby. That tweet got me to thinking.
As an indie publisher, my books will never appear in bookstores, I will never get to see them on bookshelves in an airport, and I will never see them show up in a flyer from any book club. Also, because the mainstream publishing industry is unwilling to admit that there are some very good authors out there, none of my books will ever be eligible to win any awards. As an indie, I am barred from joining the SFWA even though I've sold over 42,000 books since I first started my indie career in 2009 (almost 16,500 copies of which are Translight!). Oh, I can join as an affiliate member but what what that get me?
The bottom line in all the above is based on my reviews and sales as well as the talks I had with other authors who went to Launchpad 12 I have no reason to consider myself as anything less of a writer than they are. I may not have an MFA, but I write good stories. I'm a writer - a good one.
But, no matter how good you are, education in your chosen field is always an ongoing effort. Professional athletes, scientists, chefs, and anyone who wants to remain competitive in their chosen field must always strive to improve their talent. This can be accomplished through classes, books, or interfacing with others in their field. Today, I've purchased a small stack of books about writing. I am also planning on attending some of the local conventions (cons for short) such as Chicon, Comicon, Dragoncon, and others. I have met some wonderful people at Launchpad and I intend on staying in touch with them. One of these days I will retire and write full time. Perhaps by then an indie publisher will be able to be recognized by the likes of the SFWA based upon their works and not based on who they are associated with.