I saw a comment the other day from a new novelist that did not sit right with me at all. I won’t link to it because I don’t aim to stir up trouble for others here; that’s not what I’m about. Still I feel the general issue merits addressing head on.
She wrote she had taken up writing because she wanted to work for herself and be her own boss.
As I read that, I thought, hang on a minute; that misses the point. If you’re, say, keeping a diary no one but you will ever read, that’s one thing. But as a published author you are NOT working for yourself and you are NOT your own boss.
You are working for your readers.
That’s far scarier than being responsible to an employer in an office.
True, you strive to produce the best books you can: in that sense you owe yourself something. But even if it’s only 99¢, readers you don’t know still have freely chosen to part with their hard-earned money for your work. They are your bosses. Without them, you don’t have a job.
Maybe I am technically self-employed and my bosses are not standing over me physically as I work. But my bosses are “out there” for sure. They are everyone who buys even one of my books.
I think quite a few people go into writing thinking they will be responsible to no one.
If you want to write and that’s how you imagine it, politely I suggest you misunderstand.
Indeed, as an author some of your bosses may be far harsher than a boss who’s standing ten feet away. A physically co-present supervisor, manager, or team leader will at least temper criticisms because he is dealing with you face to face. Successful human relations and all that.
But on the “faceless” internet it’s likely at least a few of your bosses (but you hope not too many!) will slam into you brutally. People you will probably never meet in person have no qualms about hitting you really hard if they don’t like what you’ve done workwise. After all, they don’t have to see you in an actual office tomorrow so there’s little need to be “diplomatic” about how they say it.
If you are writing, it is worth remembering that.
Almost time for me to resume work. Have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂