First and foremost, another shout-out to Mina Esguerra for adding me as one of the eight new contemporary-romance authors from our writing class! I can truly say now that I have an honest-to-goodness manuscript in my hands.
I’m still getting used to calling myself an author at this point; NaNo participation aside, I still have that voice in my head telling me that I would never be an author outside of the academic world, because real authors put their stories through endless beta reads and revisions and whatnot. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been told to hire a copy editor? That alone makes me want to give up, because I know how expensive it is to hire a real copy editor, even if this is the risk that I have to take before I turn in my work to a respectable publishing house. And frankly, I’ve given up on making money from my writing; if I get published, great, but I’ve got myself covered on the financial front and I still have my academic work to keep me afloat.
Which then goes back to my original question: Why am I still doing this?
Like I said, I’m resigned to the fact that I won’t be earning money from my writing any time soon. That hasn’t stopped me from wanting to get published in my lifetime; the older I get, the harder it will be for me to cross off the category of “unpublished author” from my curriculum vitae. I don’t want to be the writer’s equivalent of a crazy cat lady, with all of my babies running around and multiplying without me thinking twice about how to take care of them.
And yet, I just realized that I’m no longer doing this for myself, or the people who have been waiting for me to get published since high school. What used to be “this writing thing” has now grown into something that’s bigger than myself, and possibly beyond.
I’m doing this for my cousins, who are pretty close to my target audience but have yet to read a real contemporary romance, let alone one set in the Philippines. There’s no way I’m going to let them count Fifty Shades of Grey as a viable work of chick lit.
I’m doing this for my friends at the dorm, who can’t bear the thought of reading another heavy book after a day’s worth of research and critical thinking. I’m doing this for women with lengthy commutes and hectic lives, who could really use the diversion on the bus ride home.
I’m doing this for the traveler at the airport and the beach resort, who’s looking for a light read but can’t afford to invest so much time on a trade paperback. I’m doing this for the ones who want to learn more about urban life in Manila without getting a lecture on how Dan Brown was right about our city being a gateway to hell.
I’m doing this for the indie coffee shops where my ideal reader would hang out, the ones that stock up on books to read while enjoying that perfect cup of coffee. (Hello, Sure Shot Cafe in Makiki! I miss you!) I’m doing this because my reader is tired of the newspaper and not ready for that deep philosophical tome that’s sitting in the corner, but isn’t going to sink down to reading the latest sexy werewolf businessman love story just to keep herself occupied.
I’m doing this because I’m every reader who will want to pick up this book.. It doesn’t matter if it’s free on Wattpad or sitting on the shelves at Fully Booked; I’m doing this because I have faith that somebody will read this book, regardless of whether or not they can tell me what to write. I’m doing this because I have a voice that needs to be heard.
My name is Stella, and I am an author. Now deal with it.