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There are hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs and websites out there about publishing a book; this is another one.

One of the things I’ve noticed about “book society” (an all-encompassing, indeed embracing, term used to describe the gamut of the social experience and interactions inherent in publishing a book), is how Jekyll and Hyde it appears to be.

On the one hand you have, sometimes vicious, barbed, mud-slinging, insults being tossed about, rapier like wit, often signed off with a Zoro flourish, in the public eye. On the other, really cool people who go out their way to help you or point you in the right direction. The public image of publishing, and my personal experience of it, don’t gel.

I’ve been interacting with people in “book society” for just over a year and a half now (a very short time I know). ALL of them, without exception, have been super cool, good people. People whose names I want to write on my acknowledgement page when my book comes out.

The vitriol that is sometimes expressed as fact in the publishing business is something that I don’t see. Maybe I just don’t know enough people or get out enough.

One of the cool things about being an “amateur novelist” (I define amateur novelist as one whose novels are not their primary source of income), is that I am not in competition with anyone. I get enough of that in the day job.

Since you’re still here, allow me to pontificate on the subject of being an Amateur. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

An amateur is 1: one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession; 2: one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science

The key to understanding my attitude about being an amateur comes from the original meaning of the word, and its origin from the Latin amator lover, from amare to love.

In other words, think, Chariots of Fire.

Being an amateur (you have to say “amateur” in an Inspector Cluso voice) is no excuse for acting like one, which only serves to propagate the negative meaning of the word.

Maybe when you’re professional the game changes. You’re a player. A player whose livelihood depends upon the decisions you make today, and the decisions that are made unto you. I don’t know, because I am still an amateur.

I will be releasing my debut novel in December.

I’ll let you know if I turn professional, in the meantime, I luxuriate in the proud tradition of my amateur status.


4 Responses to About

  1. Peggy Blair says:

    I’ve appreciated your comments, Simon — I’m going to link your blog to mine, hope that’s okay?

  2. What an exciting life! I thought I was a traveller (I read your bio) but I feel like a homebody next to you. I found your website through a tweet on Twitter (Scott Nicholson, you listed one of his books). I am a writer as well and, according to your definition, an “amateur” since it is not my major income and most likely will never be. However, it’s the occupation I feel most passionate about. I never liked the term “amateur” because of its somewhat negative connotation as something you don’t take seriously. It’s Latin origin, on the other hand, is a lot more acceptable and to the point: amare, something you love!
    Good luck with your writing. I would like to link your blog to mine.
    Christa Polkinhorn
    Author of Love of a Stonemason
    Blog: http://christa-polkinhorn.blogspot.com/

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