People tend to be extremely impressed when they meet someone who is that most magical of things — an author. Quickly placing you on a pedestal, they are impressed with the fact you actually went out and got published. Wow!
If your book is personal and about you, they also think they truly know you. They are on close terms with who you are. While you may have written about personal experiences, even intimate ones, a book can never capture the real essence of you. You as a person go far beyond what you wrote. When you sell your book, you are not selling yourself. You are selling a snapshot of yourself in time, a picture if you will. You as a person is fluid, changeable, and dynamic. The book does not hold you.
Besides only being a picture of you, people will read into a book what they want to get out of it. Three people can read what you’ve written and come away with three very different experiences that each say more about who they are than who you are. Remember, the book has a life of its own beyond you and that is what you are supporting and putting out there. Yes, there can be a great deal of vulnerability involved in writing but you are like a painter painting a canvas. You sell the canvas, not the hand holding the brush.
Even though people are not buying you, not all readers recognize this. To keep yourself grounded when readers put you on a pedestal, there are a couple things you can do to help yourself.
- Stay close with your friends and family who know you beyond your author persona. They will help you stay in touch with the real you.
- Enjoy hobbies and get to know people who have nothing to do with your books. This gives you space to play and have fun without the author label.
- Stay honest with yourself. Keeping a private journal or talking things out with a trusted friend or partner are of immense help with this.
Most of all, don’t let yourself climb up onto that pedestal. It’s a shaky place to be and you will do far better as an author when your idea of yourself is not tied up with the books you sell. Stay real with who you are and keep your feet on the ground.