I read a blog recently by Stella Deleuze, "Just Because You've Written a Book, Doesn't Make You a Writer" and I've decided to add my two cents worth.
With the ease of self-publishing beckoning with its siren call, everyone and his dog can write a book, pay to get it edited, covered and published. All of their family, friends and dearest acquaintances will dutifully read it and declare it a masterpiece and 'like', 'friend' and 'tag' the hell out of it.
But, and I'm going to go out on the same limb as the other blogger, it doesn't make them professional writers.
Someone got upset recently because someone put a one-star rating on her book. How dare they? Didn't they read it? The fact is that not everyone has the same tastes and some will love your book and some will positively hate it and would give you a negative rating if they could. It happens. Expect it and get over it. That's what a professional does. It is impossible to cater for everyone. If you're lucky, you will find that perfect niche that fits your writing, and hopefully there are enough people in this little corner who will make a blip on your sales radar.
A professional writer is a work in progress. Well, the majority of us are anyways. We learn, experiment, stretch ourselves, hone our craft and jump off the deep end of creativity, all for the sake of our craft. Writing is not only our passion, it is our vocation. We spend hours glued to our keyboards in lieu of having a life.
We know that the real work comes after the book is published, when we curse and dip our dainty feet in the muddy maze of publicity and marketing. A professional spends half his days spilling out his lifeblood pursuing that one lead, that one reviewer, that one blog, book club or connection that will magically mushroom into a thousand others. We religiously print up bookmarks and flyers and attend fan conventions for our chosen genres and attend industry panels.
Our author websites and 'journey of writer' blogs and tweets clog up the ether, looking for an audience. Google Plus, Query Letters, Tagging, Goodreads and Indie Publishers become the new buzzwords.
If you don't bleed, you're not a writer.