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Curiouser and curiouser: the two-sided author

Every one knows that authors are introspective creatures who spend days weeks, and months, on their own, locked in a room finding words to string together that will tell the story buzzing in their head. They are introverted, isolated and solitary during this writing phase and – for most authors – it is the most rewarding phase of creating a book.

Before the writing, there is the research phase, which could take many more months. Sometimes a trip to a locale is an essential part of that research; sometimes a visit to a museum or library is enough, but research is another inward-looking exercise as authors search for the right bits of information, needing to confirm their understanding, and satisfy their need for authenticity.

With a dictionary on hand (or online), a thesaurus, an etymology dictionary, an emotions chart and whatever other sources of words is available, authors lay down a story word by word, line by line, until it says what they need it to say. It takes its toll, physically on necks and wrists, on fingers and backs, but also emotionally as each scene wrests the innermost feelings of the protagonist and author alike until they are laid bare. Without that emotional input, the story will lack the author’s truth, whatever that may be and however much they are prepared to share.

Eventually, the words The End are written, a sigh escapes and the author leans back in the chair satisfied that the message has been exposed. But the nuclear of that message must be made clear, so more hours, days, and weeks is spent editing those words, until the story has shape, honesty and, most importantly, essence.

Somewhere along the lines, as words swirl around the mind looking for a place, the cover design will have emerged, the formatting and laying out of the final version will be completed and authors are left alone to contemplate the next story… except…

It doesn’t actually work that way.

What happens next, is authors must sell themselves to sell their books. Suddenly, they are required to be extroverts, laughing and smiling, engaging with audiences at public talks and book signings to promote the books they write. They must turn inside out and be everything they were not only days before – to be seen, to be known, to be popular, to make a living. It too, takes it toll. Emotionally and mentally, but without readers and fans, writers are mere shadows, lurking in the dark.

So, dear readers and fans to help an author complete the process from a germ of an idea to capturing the imagination of hundreds and thousands of people, talk about the books you read. Tell your friends, buy an extra book as a gift, or get it from the library. Host a book party, write a review, post on social media. It doesn’t matter how you spread the word, just don’t keep a book to yourself. It was written to be shared. Go ahead – share. You’ll make someone happy.

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