Confessions of an Artist ...
Whenever someone asks what I do for a living, I always respond with, "I'm an author." I usually quickly follow it up with, "Published." Because there's a definite difference between trying to get published and already having met that bar. That then begets an entire discussion about how many books I have published (13, if you're curious), who published me, and if someone's really curious (brave or stupid, you pick), they ask me about the money I'm making.

Which, FYI to the family members creeping my stuff, my income is none of your damn business.

This entire conversation is usually accompanied by a pained look--from them, not me. As if the career I've chosen is somehow doomed to fail me or leave me starved for cash, food, and so forth. Like my kids are going to be left without a college savings or clothes on their backs.

That's ridiculous, but I get their concern. Especially when they learn, no, she's not published by a major publisher, but rather, small presses and by her own hand.

Let me just say right now, I love being an indie author. Yeah, I bolded, underlined and italicized that right there. Because it's important to know. Once I realized how little control I had with a publisher, I took a step back and reevaluated what I wanted as an author and what I needed as an artist creating something from my mind. Because creating those things that are mine, are just that--making something that is mine. It's not someone else's to change to their whims and it's not for them to tell me what it's worth in a marketplace when my readers aren't necessarily their readers. And I wanted to tell my stories--the ones they rejected, the ones they didn't think "readers would like" and the ones that kept playing on repeat in my head nonstop.

In other words, The Russian Guns.

I finished that series a short time ago. The last book came out and made it's final say for me and the Guns. I told those stories even though an acquisitions editor told me not to because the readers wouldn't want to see them.

I've had more people than I care to count look at me and ask, "Well, why can't you get published with a big publisher?" Because that makes an author, don't you know. Having a big five contract and an agent makes for a professional author. Having PAN status and a couple of awards under your belt makes you important.

I don't need those things. I commend everyone--anyone--who has those things, but I don't need them.

And to those people, I always reply with, "I have never tried to win an award, get an agent, or seek a contract from a big publisher."

Never. Not once.

I can't fail at something if I don't attempt it. Some may call that a failure in and of itself, but I've never actively desired those things, either. I've been rejected a total of three times in my career as an author. Twice for Lynked, and once for The Life. Lynked eventually found a home. The Life was my first step into self-publishing.

I've done okay. I'll probably keep that up. I know when people ask about my work that sometimes, they're worried I'm chasing an unobtainable dream.

They don't even realize I've already caught it.

In the end, I'd like for people to know just a few things about this author.

I am a professional. 
My three boys are fed, clothed, sometimes have a dirty face, but are always smiling. 
I am an artist. 
I am happy. 
I write eight hours a day, five days a week. 
I have yet to fail. 

These are the only things that I need to see to know that this career treats me just fine.

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