Last Sunday during my regular writing group, I had an epiphany on my view of authors and writers, and the stages that they represent. This is my opinion, but I think it holds true. This is from talking and listening to other writers and paying attention to the raw data then collating it into a working theory. As I started to write this up for my upcoming workshop on author marketing and promotion. Understanding what stage you are at allows you to promote efficiency. This are generalisations, not like levelling up in an RPG. You can be at any stage or even jump from one to another without even knowing.
Really, I just like to categorise things 😀
Let first look at each stage.
The five stages of an author.
At the moment I think I am in the Semi-pro stage, just waiting for that opportunity to fire my bow hit that the next level.
What does each stage mean?
First off is Fledgeling or Beginner, that is someone who wants to write or has done some writing but hasn’t quite taken that next step saying to the world ‘Look I am here, and I am a writer.’
They might have entered a couple of competitions or joined a writing group. They are seeking the knowledge for that next stage. To realise that they are a writer.
Being an Amateur is someone who is now saying they are writing a novel and are doing it. This writer has just realised their journey, trying to decide if they want to go down the traditional path or self-publishing, but they not sure where or how to do that. So while they write their book-baby, they are doing workshops, going to master classes and getting advice from people further along than them.
The main difference between Fledgeling and Amateur is intent. That drive to finish their first manuscript and visualising the next stage.
Semi-pro is a known author, they have a website, social media platforms and a clear direction. They might not have published yet, but they are in the stages of doing so. They do regular posts about what is happening in their writing world and understand that social media is a tool but can be a double edged sword. They are also branching out to other writers to gather connections and reputation.
Now becoming Pro, as this is not me yet, all this comes from watching more successful author and going ‘how did they do that?’
From my experience, here is a gap between semi-pro and pro and that is reader interaction and money. Fan following. At Semi-pro, you have made a name for yourself in the writing community but jumping to the next level, a book is needed, but that isn’t all.
With the money side of things, is that step from being in the red isn’t so large. You can comfortably fund your creativity, profit maybe not so much.
Best Seller is just that, they have such a following people live off their work and words.
There is a secret stage, Legend, now this is special, and most writers will never know this level, but they love these author’s books and are usually the ones that inspire most authors. I know 15 of my top number one authors that have done such, like Tolkien, Rowling; or even EL James (who isn’t in my top 15 but is a good example of leaping into legend-hood).
These stages are always in flux, you could one day be a beginner and tomorrow submit your synopsis to Random House and be on the way to become the next Best Seller. This is a guideline on each stage. In my upcoming workshop at Gold Coast Writers Association, I will be discussing how I went from Fledgling to Semi-Pro and my methods of promoting.