For much of my adult life, I’ve described myself as a writer. Afterall, that is what I did in one capacity or another for my various employers since founding a business in 1996.
To be sure, I sometimes got to do “creative writing” on the job. I wrote a number of game books between 1996 and 2003. I wrote essays that turned into commentary on public radio. I even reviewed performing arts events for the newspaper.
But the vast majority of my writing for the past 15 years has been business writing of one sort or another. I’ve written press releases, brochure copy, web copy, social media copy, back cover copy, newsletter articles, promotional pieces, and a host of other documents designed to advance my employers’ brand. I’ve written grants and been hired to pen magazine articles, technical manuals, and historical documents. Someone asks me to create something for their business, and I do it.
This is writing for a living, and I was good at it, and I enjoyed it.
But even as I reveled in how good I was at my job and took satisfaction in doing it well, somewhere in the dark corners of my mind, I knew it was not what I wanted. Since college, I had been dreaming of writing the Great American Novel. When a prospective employer interviewed and asked the dreaded question: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” my answer was always the same: The New York Times Bestseller List.
So as I spent most of my creative energy writing solid business copy for my employer du jour, I secreted away a small portion of that magic for myself. I wrote novels and occasionally short stories. I completed three novels before State of Grace. I queried agents and publishers with each of them.
But none of them were accepted. In the face of each rejection, I wrote a new novel or another short story. I studied books and articles on writing and I honed my craft. By day, I was a writer. At night, I dreamed of being an author.
And now, the world has changed. E-readers exploded last Christmas, and the e-book market exploded as a result. Suddenly, all the barriers to making my dream come true fell away. It was all there if I was just willing to do the work necessary to make it happen.
I decided I was.
So today, I am no longer a writer. As of today, I am an author. This is what I’ve been trying to accomplish my entire adult life. The satisfaction of this moment is beyond imagining.
I don’t care that no agent ever thought my books were worth the risk. I don’t care that no publisher ever thought I was the next George R. R. Martin. I believe. I am willing to gamble I can find enough readers for my fiction to be a viable product in the market.
So today, I am grabbing destiny by the throat and establishing my dreams. Today, I am publishing my first novel, State of Grace. Today, I become an author.
And I intend to make sure that’s what I stay.
State of Grace is now available for sale at Smashwords.com.