June 4, 2013

Who is Today’s Author?

1186845_pen-friendAs I was considering this month’s post for a writer’s group I spend online time with, I jumped to a ponderment (I’m a writer; I’m allowed to make up words).

Who exactly is

Today’s Author.

Are you different from Yesterday’s Author? Or My Mother’s Author? Or the guy with his name on thousands of books and hundreds of contracts? Why do readers visit a site with a name like

Today’s Author‘?

Well, I figured it out:

  • you’re half writer and half salesman, trying to get what you pen into print. Used to be, someone offered to do that for you. “Write for me and I’ll put your name in lights.” Now, you put your own name on Twitter feeds, blog headings, LinkedIn banners, and Facebook Fan Pages. Shy? Get over it.
  • you work many jobs. Used to be, a writer slaved in anonymity in a cheap apartment with a sponsor paying essential bills, waiting for the Best Selling Book. Or parents kept him/her in the family estate, happy their child was busy, not believing anything would come of it. Until it did. Today, you work a 9-5 gig, then write 7-midnight. And you believe with your entire being you can make it.
  • you don’t labor in solitude. Few authors do, despite the persona of the lonely figure hunched over a paper, pen gripped in a crabbed hand. Mostly, now, you engage with fellow writers in forums, PLNs, online hangouts. You share ideas, cheer each other up, spread the good word about what colleagues are writing and publishing. It’s not face-to-face, but that’s so last generation. Look at kids. Even in groups, they’re on digital devices, chatting with names on a screen.

  • when you get published, it is more likely to be non-traditional. All it takes is an internet connection, an Amazon account, and a loud virtual voice. The good news: You will statistically make as much money as the average agent-pubbed author.
  • you research mostly online. The world is so much smaller than it used to be. You know how to use Google Earth, virtual tours, and Street View Guy. Why would you need to fight the airlines and spend all that time and money?
  • you write–a lot. Even if you’re a novelist, you probably have a blog, a Twitter feed, an online group of friends, and write for a variety of ezines/websites/blog groups. If you are that one person in the world still writing in oblivion, that’ll change when you come out
  • you are any age–doesn’t matter. You may be 20 or 60–or 80. You write. You publish. You share. That’s what it’s about. Not chasing the golden ring, but flaunting the golden goose that continually provides those gems of inspiration for your articles.
  • you can’t be brought down. When the Universe rejects your latest Query letter, you use a rainbow. When Yet Another Agent sends Yet Another Form Letter, you figure it’s their loss–and mean it. The world is big enough for another self-pubbed author to make enough to pay the bills.

You may not have made a penny writing, but that’s the career cap that fits. Yesterday, the agents and publishers and professionals would have slammed the tent on your nose. This year, you enter by the front door, barely glancing at the cadre of gate keepers.

Today, you are an author.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blog,Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate tech into education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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