Why Do Authors Write? – #4 Notoriety

Contest RibbonDoes anyone intend to become famous? Is it serendipity or do we have it as a secret goal deep down inside?

One of the many reasons why authors write is the quest for notoriety. Some want to “write the Great American Novel,” some want to be famous in literary circles, and some want to make the best seller lists. Plenty want to win contests and have those blue ribbons to brag about.

Is notoriety a less noble cause than any other? Why not seek fame?

I have friends who write carefully and well. They labor long and hard. Their goal is not publication or mega-bucks, it’s to win a contest. They never send their works to editors or agents. But gosh are they proud when they win a contest. And who wouldn’t be? There are a lot of entries for contests like the Golden Heart (RWA’s annual event); winning is quite an accomplishment.

I also have friends who write for the sole purpose of being #1 on an Amazon list of one sort or another. They happily give their books away for free with the goal of being the #1 book downloaded in their category. It’s a great feeling to be a best seller!

Literary writers often look for positive literary reviews. They want to be recognized as geniuses of the art form. They work hard to achieve recognition. Who is to say this is a bad thing?

The idea is that there is nothing wrong with having notoriety and fame be your goal as an author. Like any other goal that does no harm to others, it’s your right to decide what’s important to you in your life and strive to succeed. If you’re writing to achieve recognition and, yes, fame, go for it. You might never get rich, but, in your heart of hearts, you’ll feel pretty darn good knowing that every other writer wishes they were you for that shining moment.

4 Replies to “Why Do Authors Write? – #4 Notoriety”

  • I write because I want to write, because I have to write. I’d write if I never sold or submitted another book, and craft that story to the best of my ability even if it never sees the light of day. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.

    Yes, I’ve made Amazon’s Top 20 in my preferred genre, that and the royalties are an added bobus, but neither are a goal.

    But does it really matter *why* someone writes? Surely the only important things are turning out the best end product you can, regardless of reason, and enjoying the process?

    Chris aka Chris Quinton & Chris Power

    • Hi, Chris. It is always a pleasure to hear from fellow authors and find out what makes them tick, so thank you for contributing. This series started out with “have to” arguments, but I wanted to get into what “I have to write” really means. You can catch up with the series by following the “why do authors write” tag on these Monday posts. Thanks again.

  • I don’t care if no body knows me. I just want the money. LOL Okay – that’s not exactly true. I do just love to write.

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