But I Am an Author!

I’m sure you think this odd, but I’m always hesitant to tell people that I’m a published author. No, it’s not because I’m modest, because I’m not. No, it’s not because I write erotica, though I am working on something pretty steamy, but that’s neither here nor there. The reason I find myself hesitating is because the inevitable response to telling someone that I’m an author is for them to ask me where they can find my books. This is the point in the conversation when I tell them that I’m an eAuthor and usually watch their excitement fade into something that resembles the pity we all have for those poor folks on “American Idol” who swear they can sing but can’t.

Not too long ago, things were different in the publishing industry. Being a published author was an exclusive club into which only the best writers and storytellers were accepted. The only way to get your hands on your favorite author’s new masterpiece was to hop in your car, drive to the nearest bookstore and purchase your copy. Of course, people still borrowed from one another and there was always the library, but diehard fans would make the trip to the store. Today, reading your favorite author is as easy as clicking a button on your device of choice. I was so happy to be a part of this new age, this new beginning in the world of publishing, until I found out the cold, hard truth of being an eAuthor: Most people do not consider my being published in eBook form as not having been published at all.

I received word that my first novel, “Emmy’s Song,” was accepted for publication at 11:07 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2009. I was overjoyed and I think I may have cried. My sister was spending the night with me and I flew into the guest bedroom where she was and I think she cried, too. My husband was working two jobs at the time and I told him when he came home. He wasn’t as excited as my sister was, but he doesn’t read. Anything. Ever. So that was to be expected. The real disappointment came when I called my parents to tell them the big news the next day. That conversation went something like:

Me: “Guess what? My book was accepted by a publisher!”

Mom: “That’s great, honey! Which one?”

Me: “Devine Destinies, they’re an ePublisher.”

Mom: “A what?”

Me: “An ePublisher. They do eBooks.”

Mom: “Oh. [Uncomfortable pause.] Well … everyone has to start somewhere, right?”

Bursting of bubble ensued.

My family, though very loving, is not at all supportive of my writing. I’ve lived in Jacksonville and its surrounding areas all of my life and the majority of my family live here as well. I wonder, is it a Southern thing? If we lived in New York and I told my family I was an eAuthor, would their reaction be different? Would they all pause what they were doing to take out their smart phone and download my books right then and there? Because let me tell ya, informing my Great Aunt Barbara at our recent family reunion over in Middleburg did not yield that result. It was more of a confused expression and a half-hearted “good for you” reaction.

I think some of this aversion stems from a common misconception that everyone with an eBook has self-published. There are authors who choose to take that route and I’m sure that it can be a very rewarding experience. I, however, need an editor. I need someone to look over what I’ve done and give me honest yet gentle feedback about the things that should be corrected. I went through a grueling query process, just as any author searching for a publisher would, and was ultimately accepted by an ePublisher from Canada. The process was similar to that of traditional publishing, albeit faster, thanks to the immediate satisfaction of the digital world. (The end product(s) are available for purchase through my publisher’s site, as well as a plethora of online eBook stores including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Ficitonwise.)

Another obstacle I personally face is the types of books that I write. The four books I’ve published have all been in the Young Adult genre. While there are many adults who are interested in this style of writing, the target audience may or may not have the funds to purchase eReaders, computers, laptops, smart phones or other devices with which eBooks are compatible. Here I’m faced with the ultimate conundrum, because isn’t the younger generation supposed to be fueling this eMovement? Aren’t they the ones with the vision for our new world of electronic convenience? Perhaps they are, but I’ll have to wait for them to have jobs and/or grow up and have kids of their own before I can count on them as an audience. That leaves me with their parents, who don’t understand eBooks and think it frivolous to purchase something you can hold in your hand only through an electronic device.

According to the Association of American Publishers, “Figures for the first month of the new year show that eBook net sales increased by 115.8 percent vs January 2010 (from $32.4 million to $69.9 million). Sales of downloadable audio books also rose by 8.8 percent vs the previous year ($6.0M to $6.5M). As AAP reported last month in its December 2010 report and full 2010 analysis, eBook sales have increased annually and significantly in all nine years of tracking the category.” With this significant jump in sales, it would seem that eBooks are affirming their presence in the industry. While I don’t think eBooks will ever replace printed books, I do think this trend will continue, thanks to new editions to the eReader family such as the Kindle Fire and Nook Color, both sure to be big-ticket items this holiday season.

I don’t write for the money, though it is hard for me to function in a corporate environment due to my serious lack of mental censorship and incessant need to discuss people who aren’t real. I don’t write for the fame, though knowing that people from all over the country have read my books would put a smile on my face that only the extinction of chocolate could ever take away. I write because I love it, and by some miracle, an editor of a publishing company loved it, too. Usually, that’s enough. Just knowing that my words have touched someone, anyone, is enough, but sometimes it’s the ones closest to us whose approval we seek above all others and that is something that Christy Trujillo, eAuthor, has yet to obtain.

“Never Stop Writing.” This is the dedication line to my sister in my second novel, “Emmy’s Heart.” It’s the best advice I have to give and it’s not just about writing, it’s about whatever it is you love. No matter what obstacles appear before you, don’t even break stride. Hop over, walk around, dig underneath or just bust the hell right through it, but never stop. It is with this conviction that I continue down this digital literary path and hope the rest of the world, or perhaps just the rest of my world, joins me — sooner rather than later.

Christy Truj

Trujillo lives in Jacksonville, where she works for a major staffing company and dreams of becoming a full-time author. She blogs at christytrujillo.blogspot.com.