Hello one, hello all! Today I’m so excited to host my good friend A. M. Leibowitz on my blog. She’ll be talking about publishing and finally being a published author and just want that feels like.
When Adrian asked me to write this post, I jumped at the opportunity because, well, she’s one of my favorite people, and how could I say no? Then I realized I had to actually come up with a topic. I consulted my crystal ball (also known as my spouse), who suggested I write about whether I feel different now that my book is officially available to the public.
I want to say that I don’t feel different at all, that I was a real writer before, and I’m still a real writer now. I wanted to say that having my words in a format people have to pay to read doesn’t make any difference at all. But I would be lying.
I do feel different. It’s not just because the book is really, truly, honest-to-goodness available for purchase. It’s because in some way, I feel like I’ve earned the right to say to people, “You can buy my book. Or not. And if you don’t like it, you can leave me a bad review. Or not.” I no longer have any desire to hedge my bets.
Before, people used to say to me, “Oh, I would love to read something you wrote! Please let me know when your book is coming out.” And I would hedge. I had an overwhelming desire to say, “Are you sure about that?”
I come from a very conservative religious background. For some of you, that should tell you all you need to know about why I was hesitant. If you’re in the dark about it, here’s what that means.
It means attempting to put off a few people by telling them I write “romance.” It means glancing over my shoulder, leaning in, and whispering, “But I write gay sex.” It means giving people everything about the plot of the novel except for the part where my main character is bisexual and falls in love with another man. It means my neck sweating and my face turning a thousand shades of red as I say, “I don’t know if my book is church-approved.”
I’m now at a church where lgbtq+ people are welcome and affirmed, but that wasn’t always the case. The kinds of things I write are more than a little frowned on among my conservative friends. While I probably won’t lose any friendships, I might lose some respect.
When I wasn’t a published author, that mattered to me. It created in me the almost crippling fear that if I couldn’t make these people respect my writing, by extension I’d failed to make them respect me. Having a published novel has given me the confidence to stop allowing these people to own me that way. I’m not saying being published is the cure for all our writerly anxieties; it’s not. But for me, it was the boost I needed to be able to look people in the eye and take credit for my work.
I guess that means next time someone asks me what I do, I can say with conviction, “I write queer lit that falls somewhere between literary and romance. I swear a bit, and sometimes people in my novels have sex.”
Then again, maybe I won’t. I’ll wait until at least the second time we meet.
A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family.
Find me on the Internet:
Web site: http://amleibowitz.com
Facebook: Amy Leibowitz Mitchell (personal profile)
A.M. Leibowitz (author page)