I want to be a different type of author. What type of author? Well, I’m glad you asked. I don’t view the role of author as a person that crafts a story and then sends out a finished product only to wonder how his characters were received and understood. I don’t want my only measure of success to be in how many people purchased my books. While making money from a craft you love is a pleasing prospect, that can’t be all there is to it. Book sales don’t even tell me how many people read the book.
I want to know who read the book cover to cover. I want to know who stopped half way through and why? I want to know which character readers hoped that I would or would not kill off. Is this all just wishful thinking or is there a way to accomplish this very task? Can the chasm between storyteller and readers be lessened or bridged?
I believe it can and as I delve in to the world of creative fiction I am going to try. There are a few events that I have witnessed that make me hopeful that I am not just another loon trying to change an industry. While not a rare event, I attended a book signing by one of my favorite authors Kevin Hearne in which he hung out and had a discussion about his most recent book. We as readers were enthraled by his ideas behind the book and insights into future adventures for the characters. He achieved buy-in from every person in the room. I have also had conversations with smaller independent authors through their social media pages. When I say conversation, I don’t mean I posted something about one of their new books and they “Liked It”. I mean to say that I asked a question about writing and they responded to me like a person. We sent some communication back and forth and again I felt like I had made a personal connection with the very person that has ultimate control over some of my favorite characters.
One more thing that factors into my ideal author’s world is collaboration. Authors don’t have to be a mystical figure on some mountain top or secreted away behind a cabin door never to see the light of day. That illusion is over and the we have seen behind the curtain. If you consider yourself a fan of any particular genre, imagine for a moment that a very minor character shows up in the pages of a completely different author. I’m not talking about Harry Potter selling a magic ring to Frodo. More like Harry Potter’s cousin who works at the GAP being served lunch by Frodo’s next door neighbor. I am not in search of campy crossovers to boost ratings. What I would love to see is true collaboration between authors in order to enhance their worlds for the fans.
This just scratches the surface of the things that I believe a new breed of writer can do to fully engage in his craft. What if it were a team of writers? What would you as a reader do to be involved in a brainstorming session with your favorite writer? I don’t want to produce literary widgets, I want to share in ghost stories around a digital campfire. I intend the revisit and develop this issue throughout this blog.