I have been a user of Goodreads since April 2013, but logging into my account over the last week has felt a little surreal. While the home page is the same, there has been an obvious change when I visit my user profile; I am now a Goodreads Author. When I first noticed the update, I briefly thought someone had hacked my account, even though I initiated the change by joining the author program, and had already received the email informing me of my accounts change of status.
Today, I have finally started to grow accustomed to seeing the words, Ian Gregoire (Author of The Exercise Of Vital Powers) in my browsers title bar. However, I don’t yet feel comfortable laying claim to being an author. The last time I checked my Goodreads profile page, my novel hadn’t garnered a single rating or review (which wasn’t entirely unexpected), plus no Goodreads members have added it to their ‘to-read’ shelf. This got me thinking; at what point can a someone who writes fiction, rightly claim to be an author?
Is it enough to simply have a work published (even if non-traditionally) and available to the reading public? If so, I do at least meet that criteria. But do you also need to have sold at least one copy of your published work to a paying customer before you can legitimately be called an author? If so, The Exercise Of Vital Powers achieved its first sale within 24 hours of becoming available for purchase. Yet, somehow, this doesn’t seem enough at present, and that is why I remain reticent to describe myself as an author to anyone I know.
I suspect I won’t truly feel like a bona fide author until other people (meaning readers and reviewers) consider me as such. As for how many ratings need to be submitted, or book reviews written before I am comfortable with the label, author, I can’t say for certain; but the first reader to rate and review The Exercise Of Vital Powers (whether on Goodreads or elsewhere) will make my year.
I’m curious to know other people’s opinions on this issue. If you are a published author, at what stage did you feel able to call yourself an author? Likewise, if you are an aspiring author, at what point do you think you would be able to say you have made it? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
If you are a Goodreads member, and you’re feeling charitable today, I won’t be offended if you decide to stroke the fragile ego of a first time author by adding his debut fantasy novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers to your ‘to-read’ shelf.