Today, #RT means #ReallyTerrified. /or/ I swear, I really am a writer.
Posted by: Killian | on May 12, 2015
Tonight, I’ll get on a plane and fly to Dallas. For the next few days, I’ll be walking the halls of the Dallas Hyatt convention center, terrified and uncomfortable. I will feel like I don’t belong, and I will be waiting for everyone to tell me to call me out on the audacity of calling myself an author.
This is my third time attending the Romantic Times Convention. I first went in 2011 with two friends. We were all new authors with one title to our name, published by the same small publisher. Self-publishing had begun to be spoken of, but hadn’t really taken off yet. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we all came away with a pretty good experience and a lot of knowledge. I think we all felt we were on the first steps towards a successful writing career, where the sky was the limit.
The second time I attended in 2013, I spent a lot of time hanging out with a group of friends, most of whom had success which made mine look insignificant. Still, I had faith I was on the right path. I’ve never been focused on being a NYT best seller or a famous author, but one does like to grow in their career. Self-publishing seemed the way the world was going, at least in romance. I had more titles to my name, more in the pipeline, and the inspiration of my group of friends who had found success. I came away refreshed and inspired.
And now, it’s 2015. I have four more titles in my hat now than I did last time, and my “career” has basically flatlined. Mind you, I can’t envision a time when I stop writing. And yet, as this event is one that involves a lot of social interaction, I’m afraid of being called a fraud for even attending. I can picture it now, someone seeing me in a marketing session and saying, “Why do you even bother coming to this? After five years and the inability to develop an audience, don’t you get the point that the problem isn’t your marketing technique, it’s your writing? Just give up already. Go home, and bake a pie.”
My rational side and my emotional side have ordered ammunition, dug trenches, and are suiting up their troops. Yes, my writing can improve. Yes, one way to help that is to go to conference like these and learn from people who are successful. No, I don’t expect things to change. No, I don’t think I’ll ever be the kind of writer whose works appeals to a mass audience. Yes, I want to keep writing. No, I can’t legitimize the time and expense it takes to do so, other than to say that the few readers I have a fiercely loyal, and bringing them joy brings me joy.
If you see me at the conference, please be gentle. I’m going to strive to look professional and calm, but there will be war raging within.