As I've eased into the beginning of my debut year as an author, I've spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of author I want to be--and I don't mean what kinds of books I want to write, or how many books I hope to sell. Of course those things are on my mind, but really... what feels more important is ME. How do I want to act? How do I want to be?
Being published is a strange, super-limited kind of fame where only a very specific group of people have any idea who you are (which is what I love about it). But within that small community you are still a "public figure." And while I can only be myself, I also have to take into account that everything I say and do will be weighed, measured, and used to shape people's opinion of me, whether they be 'peers' or 'fans'.
So I've thought a lot about the authors I look up to--not just for their talent but also the things they say and do. They're all different people, and they all do things their own way, but at the heart of it, what makes me admire them is their kindness. They care. About their readers. About other writers. And they do what they can to show that they care whenever possible.
That doesn't mean they give free swag or books to everyone who asks, or follow everyone back on Twitter or Facebook, or respond to every single email or blog comment, or critique everyone's pages, or become best friends with every person they meet. I'm sure they wish they could--but that just isn't possible. So they do the best they can.
Which is the goal I've set for myself this year. To do the best I can.
It's a humble goal, I realize--but in no way does it mean I'm going to give myself permission to neglect my responsibilities. It means I'm going to do whatever I can, whenever I can, as much as I can.
I KNOW I won't be perfect. And there's a chance I might even let some of you down. But I promise I'm going to try my best to not let that happen. Here's hoping I succeed.
Which makes me wonder: what traits do you admire in an author, besides just writing great books?