Last Friday, a funny conversation popped up on Twitter. It started with Kameron Hurley, when she tweeted this:
Just saw someone refer to me as a "Big Name Author." Oh no, no people. WHERE ARE MY 100 DOLLAR BILLS???
— Kameron Hurley (@KameronHurley) May 2, 2014
Click through to read the whole thing, but there was also this:
— Tobias Buckell (@tobiasbuckell) May 3, 2014
I think it’s worth saying that science fiction and fantasy is a small, disparate field, even on the internet. Those writers whose names you see on popular blog posts or online articles, or who have award nominations, or several thousand Twitter followers? You might be surprised by how much they struggle getting their books out there. Getting noticed, convincing readers to try their work instead of that other author’s, racking up enough sales to keep going and maybe, just maybe someday earning enough that all those hours of writing pay off at something like minimum wage.
Sometimes I think of the internet as a huge cave complex with innumerable caverns. Where I am standing, it may seem crowded with people, and many of the voices I can hear seem so big they echo off the walls, but people just one cavern over have never heard of any of us and don’t care a whit for the drama that sucks up all of our time. And beyond that cavern is another and another, all filled with people that we can’t reach.
The U.S. has a celebrity culture, which seems to be spreading beyond our borders, that encourages folks to assume that “well-known” somehow means “powerful” or “successful.” I’m just saying it’s not so, not with writers. A footprint that might seem large to an individual is probably smaller than you think in real terms.
Anyway, Kameron Hurley has a cool series you should check out, and so does Tobias Buckell. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, you should. That’s how Big Name Authors are made.