Writer, Programmer, Dreamer...at BEA

Posted on June 26, 2013
A few weeks ago I went to the 2013 BEA show at the Jacob Javits Convention center in New York City. I took the ferry from Jersey, walked to the show, and spent a ton of time walking around and reminiscing the days of when I used to go to technology conferences back in the late 90s during the dot-com boom. It was pretty similar to that, except here I felt like a complete newby.

I really didn't know what to expect, so when I registered I didn't put myself as an author, or writer, or self-publisher, I added myself as a "Guest". That drew a few furrowed eyebrows from people scanning my badge. I wonder what "Guest" meant to publishers, writers, and other business types.

After walking around for about an hour, picking up flyers, cards, bookmarks, and other items from publishers and authors alike, I went to the CreateSpace stand to see what was going on there. When I told an Amazon employee that I had self-published two books via KDP and CreateSpace, she practically squeaked. She handed me a ribbon to wear that read Amazon Self-Published Author.

Author...

I feel weird calling myself an author versus a writer. When I used to work in I.T., I rose to the ranks of I.T. Director of Ecommerce, but I was never comfortable calling myself that. I felt more at home calling myself a programmer than a director because, at the core of it all, I am a programmer.

So am I a writer or an author?

After reading several sites that comment on the differences between the two titles, there seems to be a general consensus. If you are in the "business" of writing which includes writing, publishing, marketing, etc., then you are an author. But, if you are not and are only writing, then you are a writer.

It still doesn't sit well with me because the "business" of writing is a giant puzzle . So for now I will call myself a writer. Once I get a good grasp at marketing and promotion, maybe I'll be more comfortable calling myself an author.

Anway, while at BEA I was lucky enough to meet two indie author's that I have been following: C.J. Lyons and Hugh Howey. I was hoping to also get to chat with Maria Murnane and Guy Kawasaki, but alas it was not meant to be.  What I found totally awesome was that C.J. Lyons and Hugh Howey were down-to-earth people.

I had stopped at an indie stand where C.J. was eating lunch, and asked her about a pamphlet I had picked up off the table. I didn't realize it was her until she handed me a flyer of her own book and told me it was a free download. I squealed like a teenager at a rock concert. She wiped her hand on her shirt and stretched it out for a shake. Very cool, I thought. You sell over a million copies a year and you're eating a ham and cheese sandwich, wearing a button down shirt and a pair of jeans, and handing out your own materials.  My kind of gal.

I met Hugh at the CreateSpace stand before his scheduled talk at 2 pm. I had to leave early, to pick up my kids from school, so I went in for a quick conversation. We spoke for a few minutes before he signed a copy of The Plagarist with a message wishing me to take some of his good fortune. He seemed a bit nervous, probably because he was about to speak in front of an audience in a few minutes, but he was also getting a ton of attention by the press and other indie authors.

I spoke to a few other writers and authors and to employees of CreateSpace and Amazon, and I even listened in on another author's tale of mischief and woes. I was happy to say I wasn't alone in my marketing struggles, and that I wasn't the only one who kept writing even though the money isn't there to support my writing for years to come....at least not yet.

So right now, I am a writer, programmer, mommy of two, and dreamer of big things to come.


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