Neurosis and the modern author

Now, what I am about to say is my opinion, only my opinion and nothing but my opinion. Are we clear?

Modern day authors are neurotic creatures. What do I mean by that? First, lets’ start with what Neurosis means. Neurosis is a class of functional mental disorders involving distress though neither delusional nor prone to hallucinations, whereby behavior is not outside socially acceptable norms.

Rather silly definition, but that is where I will start. (And we won’t touch on the delusional or hallucination arena as with authors, one never knows.)

We spend massive amounts of hours writing, editing, re-writing, re-editing, querying, receiving no responses, querying more, receiving no’s, before finally, somehow, someway it gets to publishing. (Hopefully). That doesn’t even mention the intake of caffeine, the hours we toss darts on the wall because our characters won’t speak to us, the amount of tears we shed as we kill of one or more characters or the incessant nail biting in-between.

But that does not stop our neurosis. Oh, no. Before it launches, we dive into making sure everyone knows that it is coming, that they know the title, cover, characters, genre… that we have networked with fellow authors, book reviewers as well as Joe-shmo down the street. We let everyone know.

And then launch day comes. And no – the neurotic behavior does not stop, in fact it gets worse. We social network and advertise and announce and then it becomes even more troublesome. We check Amazon and B&N and ARe and [insert your chosen seller site here] to see if it is selling. If it doesn’t sell? We begin to tear our hair out, cry, wonder what is wrong with our book – though safely in the cover of our own home offices of course, to the world we act like nothing is wrong – and go to bed hoping the next day is better.

If it isn’t better, we cry, work on our new story and hope it will sell better. If it is better? OMG – we consistently check’s best-seller lists hoping that ours will be listed. (Especially Erotic writers because all of us neurotics would love to oust 50 Shades… just sayin’.) We watch it religiously, posting when the numbers are good, hoping they will continue to get better.

Even as new ideas begin in our heads for the next book that we just have to write and as our eyes dart one more time to the Amazon rankings, we begin anew.

They have many different definitions of neurosis, I think they need to add one more. Authoritis. It is entirely incurable, I believe.

I read of a best-selling author whose publisher cancelled the contracts on her next two series and told her she should change her name and start over. Idiot says what? That little neurotic didn’t give up; instead she listened to her friends who told her to self-publish. She did and what do you know? Her fans found her. And yet, she still continues to be amazed and watch.

So, what all am I saying here? Maybe we need to embrace the neurotic within. Afterall, it is that part of us that wants to write better, do better, sell better, have more fans (better); it is part of who we are and as it is socially acceptable? We might as well just accept it.

I still think we need our own definition though. Authoritis sounds better than Neurotic, doesn’t it?

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