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Archive for September 21st, 2011

You’re writing a book, but do you refer to yourself as an author?

I have a client who’s writing a book about yoga – a manual for healthcare practitioners who want to learn to incorporate the benefits of yoga into their existing modalities. We’re working with a talented book designer who recently asked the author how she wants to describe herself for the caption under her head shot. It took a little prodding and prying to come to a decision about that description. Sometimes it’s tough (or embarrassing) to embrace our talents and specializations, but if you’ve written a book about them, you’ve got a real reason to be proud.

Interestingly, as challenging as it can be to summarize what we do, what makes us special, what are credentials are for writing this book – it can be even more difficult to apply one word to ourselves: AUTHOR.

“I’m an author.”

Practice saying this out loud to yourself. If it rolls of your tongue like a beautiful song lyric, pat yourself on the back. If you choke getting the words out, say it again. And again. And again. Until you become comfortable with the words. If you’ve written a book – or are writing a book – you are an author!

What if you work full time as a nurse, but you’re writing a romance novel on your weekends? Are you an author? Of course! What if you’re a sales coach who’s written three small training manuals that you deliver only as eBooks? Are you an author? You bet! What if you’ve got a great concept for a book, but you haven’t written a word yet? Are you an author? Yes, you are. And you’ve got to think of yourself that way if you want to delve into that research and write the best book you can.

Here’s the thing. There’s no one in the world who can, will, or should give you permission to call yourself an author, so if you’re waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder to give you the go-ahead, you’re going to be waiting a long time. Maybe the nurse who’s writing a romance novel in her spare time doesn’t really want everyone at work to know about it yet. That’s fine. But when you’re at a party and a new person asks what you do, test the waters: “I’m a nurse, and I’m also in the process of authoring my first novel.” If they ask you what it’s about, you can decide how much or how little to reveal.

Why is it so important to embrace this title? If you want to sell books, you have to be able to tell people you’ve written a book … in other words, you are an author! What’s your alternative? Pretend you’re promoting someone else’s book? Why would anyone do that? Many more people want to write books than ever actually begin them, let alone finish them. Take pride in this effort, for it’s a worthy endeavor. You are an author – so claim it, share it, toot your author’s horn!

Happy authoring!

Laura

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