What Common Misconceptions About Authors Do Literature Professors Encounter?


    What Common Misconceptions About Authors Do Literature Professors Encounter?

    Exploring the reality behind the romanticized image of authorship, we've gathered insights from seven literature experts, including authors and a Chief of Author Strategy. They debunk myths ranging from the notion that 'Inspiration Shapes Children's Books' to the idea that 'Diverse Scheduling in Writing Process' is uncommon, providing a clearer picture of the author's life.

    • Inspiration Shapes Children's Books
    • Authorship Requires Marketing Effort
    • Post-Publication Work Is Crucial
    • Writing Involves Tenacity, Not Glamour
    • Books Open Doors Beyond Sales
    • Misconceptions About Authors' Workload
    • Diverse Scheduling in Writing Process

    Inspiration Shapes Children's Books

    People often ask me why I write about the topics I do. I write about the things that inspire me. When I sold solar products, I wrote a children's book on solar energy. Someone once told me that if a young child could understand what you are writing about, everyone will. It was the same for the Christmas book, the Deaf Puppy book, and for the one about pets on submarines and ships. I find something in life that I think children will like, and I write about it.

    Lisa Bell
    Lisa BellAuthor, Lisa M Bell

    Authorship Requires Marketing Effort

    Most people think that if you've written a book, it sells itself. It actually takes a lot of hard work to get a book into the hands of a reader—whether that is for a fiction or nonfiction audience. As a corollary to that, most people don't understand that regardless of how you publish (traditionally, through a hybrid, or independently), the author is the primary marketing engine. It can take years to get a book written, and that is just the start! Being an author is not for the faint of heart!

    Amy Vogel
    Amy VogelAuthor, Speaker, Story Coach

    Post-Publication Work Is Crucial

    Many people assume your work is over after you get published, when in actuality, a different type of work begins - keeping the book alive! Publicity (often self-sponsored), marketing, podcasts, social media posts, book events, book talks, etc. The onus is on you, the author, to sell your book, even if you go through a traditional publisher.

    Neelu Kaur

    Author of 'Be Your Own Cheerleader' & Keynote Speaker

    Neelu KaurAuthor, Speaker, Exec Coach, & Wellness Stress Mgt Expert, Sattvic Living LLC

    Writing Involves Tenacity, Not Glamour

    There's a widespread misperception that writing is a glamorous career that never stops inspiring people. Contrary to popular belief, authors don't actually spend their days producing blockbusters. Instead, they work quite differently. Many times, writing is a laborious process that entails a lot of research, several revisions, and frequent periods of self-doubt. Writers devote endless hours to refining their work, overcoming rejection, and handling the administrative aspects of publication. I address this by stressing the value of tenacity and commitment in writing. In spite of the difficulties, I also emphasize the happiness and fulfillment that result from telling and creating stories. Greater regard and admiration for an author's work are fostered by knowing the truth about their journey.

    Dr Haritha Lekha
    Dr Haritha LekhaAuthor and HR Associate, harithalekha.com

    Books Open Doors Beyond Sales

    People often think that authors make a lot of money from selling their books. The reality is, most authors make money not from book sales but from the opportunities that come from having a book published. Very few authors actually make a living selling copies of their books, but many authors generate a lot of extra income from how they leverage the fact that they have a book. Whether it's professional speaking engagements, driving more revenue to their business, or adding credibility and authority to help the author be seen as a thought leader, there's often more success in having a book than in selling it.

    Miles RoteChief of Author strategy, Kevin Anderson & Associates

    Misconceptions About Authors' Workload

    Here are two options. Feel free to pick one.

    As an author, people often think that I spend way more time writing than I do—that I am always working on the next project. While it is true that I am often creating for at least part of every week, I am not always working on new creative projects. Sometimes, I'm supporting the project I have just finished—through marketing, speaking, or in other ways—sometimes I am doing other work in my business, and sometimes I am simply celebrating being done with the most recent project and not having a current project!

    As an author, people often think that my opinion of other people's writing carries more weight. Sure, I've written a book and published a lot of other articles, but that doesn't mean that my opinion on other people's writing is more valid or valuable than someone else who may not have published their work. Creating and consuming are two different things, and having done one does not necessarily make you an expert at the other.

    Rebecca Morrison
    Rebecca MorrisonHappiness Coach & Author of The Happiness Recipe, Untangle Happiness

    Diverse Scheduling in Writing Process

    Oh, there are a lot of myths. A common one is that there's a single right way to schedule your writing time. I've written in many author cohorts and with publishers and found folks using a variety of writing-schedule techniques (time-blocking, setting a time each day, haphazard, at least x number of minutes per day, author accountability partner). For me, I find the way that works for right now, and adjust it whenever I need.

    Douglas Scherer
    Douglas SchererBusiness Advisor and Author, F.O.R.G.E.D.