So, in the past week, week and a half I have hit two big milestones as a writer:
1. I sold a short story to a publication. This is the first piece of fiction I have ever SOLD to anyone for the purpose of publication. My story “The Sacrifice” (you know the story I was going to self-publish but then wised up) is going to be published this June (I THINK on the 21st) in Luna Station Quarterly.
2. The second milestone happened tonight at a party. Someone asked me, “So, you’re an author?” And, rather than look at the floor and scuff my foot and say, “Well, sort of…” or “It’s more a hobby than anything…” I said, “Yes, I am.” That’s the first time I have every said it out loud, like it’s my job.
And even as I said it, I felt strange, as though I were lying or admitting to something unseemly. After saying yes, I rushed on to describe the job I USED to have before I quit to follow my husband to Oklahoma and become a stay-at-home mom and… author. It was as if I were trying to say, “I’m only an author now because I had to quit my REAL job.” On the way home from that party, I tried to unpack that feeling and figure out WHY I would feel so odd saying I was an author. Here is my thought I don’t get paid to be an author. So, I’ve sold ONE story for an infinitesimal amount. I mean I will be lucky to be able to buy a cup of coffee with what I am going to get for “The Sacrifice.” So, in the deepest, most self-conscious parts of my heart, I feel like a phony saying I am an author when I don’t make money at it.
Well, that’s bullshit. Yeah, I’m saying that to myself and to anyone else who questions my authorhood, or to other writers who question THEIR authorhood.
I sold a story, dammit! Someone is PAYING me to publish my story. Whatever the amount, someone is forking over el dinero for the privilege of gaining the first rights to something I wrote. That is special, it’s huge! And before you start making a disgusted face at your computer, let me assure you I am NOT bragging. I am expressing gratitude. Just a few weeks ago, I said to a friend of mine I needed to get some credentials in the publishing world. Careers are built on credentials and I had none. The thing is, most reputable publishers don’t want to publish you until you have credentials. But to get credentials, someone has to take a chance on your work. Luna Station Quarterly has decided to take a chance on me and that means far more than the few dollars I will earn from “The Sacrifice.”
Even if I never publish another piece of fiction, I can look back and say, “Hey, someone deemed my work worthy of both time and money. Someone thought I had a voice worth hearing.”
Seriously, in a world inundated with unasked for opinions, free information dumps, and endless prattling about nothing and everything, it means the world to have someone WANT to hear my voice.