Over the last two years, I’ve been working under the self-imposed label of amateur writer. I did this as a sign of respect to professional writers, and to help people understand that I don’t yet feel like I’m ready for writing at a professional level.
I have no problems releasing my experiments, and I respectfully disagree with writers who shove all of their early work in a drawer. That was the common practice of the last generation of writers, but this is a new era, the information age, and many creative amateurs are finding fans by putting out ALL of their efforts. Musicians, artists and photographers are posting everything they do, good, bad and mundane. They do so to learn from their peers, inviting both criticism and praise. I wouldn’t go so far, since I’ve written some real dogs over the last two years. But when I read something and think, Yes, this is good, then I’m going to share it for free. I do it to invite critiques, and those comments have helped me to become a better writer than when I first started taking this hobby of mine seriously.
Very recently, within the last few months, people have started to write to me and suggest that it’s time to lose the amateur label. I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I decided to float a theory by posting Blood Relations to Amazon’s Kindle store. (This came before the kerfluffle over Amazon’s poorly thought out tag filtering policy. I’m still miffed at them, but getting over it slowly.) I posted a review that said the book was free on my web site, and I left directions on how to get it. And yet, people still started buying copies. As of this writing, my rank is 30,752. I’d like to get in the top ten…thousand, but that may be hoping for too much. =^P