Friday, October 10, 2014

Author Masks by Sydney Salter

I like this cartoon because it reminds me of the AUTHOR masks I often wear.

I sort of wish that I'd kept track of the number of times I've been asked to locate the bathroom for a bookstore patron versus the number of books I've signed. Books are winning, but not by as much as I'd like. Yet, I smile through every lonely signing, trying to manage that balance between friendly and desperate. Maybe I should bring a puppy? Candy obviously isn't working.

And I hate myself every time I avoid a fellow author's smiling mask at a bookstore signing.

The Things Are Good Mask appears when I run into acquaintances who know that I write, but don't hear the nitty gritty daily details. Happily--and inevitably--they ask, "How is your writing going?"No matter what, I smile and nod, "Good. Good."

Sometimes a litany of all that is NOT good runs through my head, manuscripts submitted and ignored, rejection letters received, chapters deleted, rewrites rewritten, doubt, doubt, and more doubt.

But I also feel weird about going into specifics about the good stuff. I wrote a kickass paragraph yesterday. A teenager wrote me a really cute email. I finally solved the issue with Chapter Six. Someone that I don't know wrote an awesome Amazon review. I got a good rejection letter. Maybe I think it all sounds too small. And no one except a fellow writer understands the paradox of good rejection.

The You've Got Four Published Novels Mask makes me feel the most guilty. "I know, I know." I nod and smile. But inside I'm always thinking of the fat yet-to-be published manuscripts padding my file cabinet. I want those published too--and the next one and the next one and the next one that I write.

Many wonderful writers I know are still waiting for that first book contract, and I remember how that eager ambition feels (because I'm not sure that feeling changes so much after publication). So I smile my Grateful Author Mask and encourage the pre-published to keep writing!

Yes, I've had some success as an author, but I want more.

Watch out puppies!


  1. Oh Sydney, that author mask!!! I am so glad you talked about it because I don't think we do talk about it enough. I, too, try to celebrate each little success and the big ones--two books out and another to come--but yeah, those unpublished books hurt like hell and so do the scathing reviews or just feeling like you're way below midlist even. I am right there with you, I've had some success, but damn, now I do want more! Best of luck to both of us!

  2. That cartoon actually made me LOL. Posts about my dog and my baby get WAY more likes (we're talking 100 to 1) from friends and family than anything remotely related to writing.

  3. If puppies ever start writing books, we're really in trouble. ;-D

  4. That cartoon sums up all my author events. ALL OF THEM.

  5. Sydney, this is wonderful--about to share it on FB etc. (and swiping the cartoon!).

  6. Book signings -- such an interesting dynamic. Thanks for the honesty and the cartoon.