Finally An Author…

A couple of author Facebook groups I belong to have recently asked the question…”When are you officially an author?”  There were two answers to that question going through my mind. 

  • When you have a book published; and/or
  • When you actually write something.

The groups seemed equally split on the answer but it wasn’t until recently that I finally felt like an author.

My hometown has an active Friends of the Library group that works to promote reading and our local public library. The Friends invited me to participate in an author’s panel and I was thrilled to do so even if I wasn’t exactly sure what it would entail. It would be a milestone for me.

Having launched my first book right when the country was shutting down for COVID, it was the first official event where I would be introduced as an author. It was the first time people would see me as having accomplished something many could not. It was the first time people would see me as the expert in something that years ago I never would have dreamt of doing. It was the first time I would promote my writing in front of real people and not just through the internet. Yup….it was a big deal to me.

In my other life (working for the City of Saint Peter), I speak in front of groups all the time and I am pretty good at it, but for some reason this author panel scared me to death; a feeling only highlighted when I walked in the room and saw one of the other authors (Christine Husom) setting up a sales table with a dozen of the she had written. My table, with its’ singular novel, looked quite sparse compared to hers and I felt pretty inadequate. When the four authors finally sat down to begin the panel, I was a nervous wreck.

I was so ill prepared for the event and for finally having an opportunity to self-promote my book, I didn’t even consider that maybe I should have my book with me at the table until seeing the other authors had theirs.

We knew what the moderators would ask us in advance and the two weeks prior I had studied and rehearsed my answers to the questions even though it wasn’t a test. To say I was nervous was an understatement but as the evening went on, I realized something.

While my answers were always shorter and more to the point than some of the other panelists, the audience was interested when I spoke and the other panelists were referring to my answers when they gave their own. I might have been the least experienced and the least accomplished author in the room, but people were listening to what I had to say. And maybe, because I was just getting started in my writing career, those in the audience who wanted to be authors might have been more interested in the more recent challenges I faced in getting my book published.

By the end of the evening, I learned a few lessons the most important of which is not to diminish my own accomplishment.  I might have only one book published now, but the next one comes out on March 3, 2022.  It’s the start of a journey that all authors take and I have already had much more success than most people.

Second is that while I can learn much from the journey other authors take, this journey is mine alone and it’s up to me to make what I want from it. Self-promotion does not come easily for me but like so many things in life, having the courage to step out of our comfort zones is an important part of growing.

And the last lesson comes down to one of the questions the moderators asked. “What do you want readers to take away from your work?” My answers is that I want everyone who reads one of my books to close the cover and feel warmth in their heart and maybe have a tear in their eye knowing that they have read a great story, that I have answered every question, and they want to read more.

When the panel ended that night, I had several audience members tell me they can’t wait to read more from me. To this beginning author, that’s the highest compliment I can receive.

So back to those author Facebook questions….I guess that now makes me officially an author!

Until next time my friends, be well!

~BAL

Published by walkbal1372

Barbara A. Luker is the author of "Remembering You" (publication 2020) - a story of love, loss and finding the way back. She is a life-long resident of Saint Peter, Minnesota where she hones her writing craft working for the City of Saint Peter. Luker is a Certified Municipal Clerk, a devoted fan of the Minnesota Wild, and a supporter of numerous animal rescue organizations.

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