Oh, Define Me!

Title’s from The One with the Boobies episode of Friends.

It becomes the job of the author to big oneself up. Whether it’s when trying to sell yourself to a potential literary agent (or, if you’re feeling particularly brazened, direct to publisher), or to try and market yourself as an independent, self-published, freelance writer to your potential audience, it’s important that you make yourself appear larger than life.

And of course, of all the people who are involved in the arts, writers are the best known for their anti-social and hermit-like tendencies.  Now, I can’t speak on full behalf of “my people” (that’s as in writers, not the English), but I know for me personally, the very idea of bigging oneself up fills me with dread.  I hate to talk about myself.  I’m not even particularly enthused to talk to strangers who ask “so what do you write about?”.  I have a weak sounding voice and a hideously Northern accent (to the yanks, think Shameless); it’s not really the kind of voice to be recollecting epic tales of valour and power struggles between vampires, mankind, demons and gods.

When I first ventured into the world wide web arena (that was back in 2003 with a 0catch.com site, ads and all), I was under the impression that what is important about me as a writer is not actually me as a writer at all, but rather it was all about the books. The best way I can think to describe this is as though I am a parent: the books I write are my children, and the work I am doing is to help them make something of themselves, to make them be recognised, and I – proud parent – doesn’t need to be known or even acknowledged as their creator.  You wouldn’t ask Angela Jolie who her parents were, would you? OK, bad example…

Of course, the 2003 version book was not particularly good (of course it’s debatable as to whether it’s improved in the later drafts).  For the good portion of 6/7 years after becoming an online presence, I spent the majority of it pimping out the book, not myself. It didn’t occur to me that I might have to define myself as an author at some point.

But times are different now. Of course, I’ve always realised that the number of aspiring authors out in the world must be pretty incredible.  Considering that literary agents and publishers receive thousands of submissions every year and represent/publish a literal handful, all those without representation/publication are easily into the tens of thousands.  I get that.  But it wasn’t really until the advent of Twitter that I came to realise just how many authors there are, published or not, all with incredible, individual voices that I wanted to engage.  But how could I, when I was pushing out my book as a presence instead of myself?

And that’s the reason why I decided to change my web presence.  I am not a one-trick pony.  VS is not my only avenue.  I also have Jeremy.  I also have a long line of imaginative but highly terrible fantasy stories that I won’t go into here.  And I will have more, eventually (hopefully!).

I am K. L. Kerr.  Hear me roar growl.