...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

An author's what?
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I recently read a phrase, don’t recall where, but it was a phrase that for a while has simply bugged me. In part it bugs me because well, um, er, to be honest, I don’t know what it means. And in part because I suspect that if I knew what it meant, I wouldn’t like it anyway.

And ever vigilant for insults to those of us out there known as readers or fans (not “just readers” please) I thought I’d toss it around and see if it really is meant as insult. I suspect not, I suspect that I’m over-reacting but I think I have good reason

Ok, the phrase is “an author’s author”. I’m not really sure what that means but when I try it out in other ways, I find that while I’m absolutely sure it’s meant as a compliment, I don’t see it as such. Take, just to try it out that phrase “a man’s man”. What that’s intended to describe, as I understand it is a guy that other guys will related to, will GET. It has to do with – as Stu and I joke when we talk about him getting together “with the guys” – big hunks of meat and trucks and shooting things. (Stu gets together with “the guys” and it usually involves movies; and the movies are seldom about trucks and shooting things. But I digress). The man’s man thing seems to indicate – or is meant to indicate, yes? – that other MEN are comfortable around this guy. But what about us goils? I am guessing it means that women wouldn’t necessarily GET this guy.

So when someone is referred to as an author’s author, I’m assuming it’s a compliment. That this is a writer whom other writers get. But what the HELL does that mean? Does that mean readers won’t? that we’re too unsophisticated? It implies, as I understand, that this writer makes it look easy, or uses writing techniques that are admirable. That she’s subtle or just has a way of saying things, that he has an ability with language. Yeah, okay, and?

I’ve been reading a long time. I think I get, from that experience and YES, from trying to write fiction and YES from writing reviews, essays and other non-fiction I think I get just a little bit HOW hard writing is. I admire writers immensely. I love authors who use language well and have talked about them and will read their work.

What then, if there are “authors’ authors”, what are “readers’ authors?” I s there such a thing and is it meant that someone is easy and accessible. Hell with that. That’s insulting to readers. But the term is there for a reason, so what does it mean?

I even found a reference to someone found by “the authoring community to be an author’s author” and I found that so pretentious, well, good think the guy isn’t someone I wasn’t interested in reading. The Authoring Community? Is that gated?

But then, I suspect it’s part of the same feeling I get when I wonder why the Edgars or the Nebulas are so much more prestigious than the Anthonys or the Hugos. I’ve heard that whole “popularity contest” line for years, and don’t buy it; I know enough of the nomination and voting processes involved to know that most readers take this stuff just as seriously as writers do. But somehow “peers” who think your book is good is better than hearing that fans liked your book better than another. As I say, I get that there are some things that as a reader I don’t know or appreciate – I don’t know first-hand how hard writing is. But I know second-hand. I see the results. I’ve heard people talk. I value the results. If readers aren’t important to writers, er well, that’s too circular. I don’t mean that we’re not – of course we are. Without readers, blah blah blah, without writers, yeah yeah what I said. I read a lot – probably much more than many writers out there do, in fact. But somehow I just don’t get why someone can be an “author’s author”. Does that mean I shouldn’t bother to read that person’s book because I won’t get it?

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