By J.A. Pitts
It’s freaky, this concept that I’m a Tor novelist. I remember my first science fiction book I ever read: Runaway Robot, by Lester del Rey. We got it at one of those book fairs the schools had every year. I read and reread that book until it fell apart. I knew then that someday I’d write novels and thrill some future kid, maybe inspire her to write her own stories. And I understood it took work. Authors were a rare breed, full of wit and sly wisdom. That was the thing for me.
So I wrote, practiced and submitted my words and stories to anyone who would sit still long enough to read them. I started racking up rejections of all flavors, including some wonderful comments that I hold dear to my success. Then, lightning struck. I got that call from my lovely (soon to be) editor at Tor.
Suddenly, I was on the other side of the wall from most of my friends. There were some folks I knew who’d crossed over ahead of me: Jay Lake, Ken Scholes, and Brenda Cooper, just to name a few. But I didn’t realize how much it would all change for me. We call it Imposter Syndrome, when we discuss it at all; that feeling that we somehow cheated, that we don’t belong here. It’s like walking into a cocktail party with all the cool kids, and everyone nods at you, greets you like a member of the sekrit club. The problem is, I’m not sure how I got here.
Of course I know how, I wrote a good book, sent it to a good editor who was looking for a book like the one I wrote, and in a house that was interested in marketing the product I produced. It’s not rocket science, but it doesn’t take away the fact I feel like I jumped ahead of the line, cut in front of others, and generally skated my way into the best party ever.
That’s the trick of imposter syndrome. It muddles the brain; tries to convince us that we don’t deserve our hard-earned success. There are always more worthy people, better books, cooler kids. The only way to beat it, in my experience, is to keep writing. Make the next thing better than the last one.
Meanwhile I’ll continue to be amazed at the turns my life has taken, and remember the secret I learned from my friend Jay Lake—I earned this, and I should be grateful. Only leaves one more thing for me to do…that’s right, Snoopy dance!
Black Blade Blues (0-7653-2467-9) is the debut novel and first of an urban fantasy series by J.A. Pitts
From the Tor/Forge May newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.
More from our May newsletter:
- It’s not World of Warcraft, but… by Cory Doctorow
- The Motorcycle Way to Complex Plotting by David Drake
- Black Blade Blues, by J.A. Pitts – An interview with the man behind the woman
- The Big Idea: J.A. Pitts
- J.A. Pitts on writing and going long
- An Editor’s Dirty Little Secret
- On a Bus to New York
- Sister, Healer, Soldier, Spy
- Tor/Forge Blog is Moving to a New Domain
- The Week in Review
- Not at New York Comic-Con Sweepstakes
- Starred Review: Ask Not by Max Allan Collins
- New Releases: 10/8/2013
- Goodreads Sweepstakes: Watcher of the Dark by Joseph Nasisse
- Tor Books Announces Programming for New York Comic-Con 2013
- .@scalzi's #CollapsingEmpire is a hilarious tale of humanity’s impending doom. Read @arstechnica's review:… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… 2 hours ago
- RT @tordotcom: From a reanimated corpse to enemy aliens to an amnesiac vampire, these 5 stories tell the monster's side: https://t.co/5Z8X… 3 hours ago
- Read "The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom, " a space opera story about interstellar diplomacy from @maxgladstone… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… 16 hours ago
- Nuclear disaster strikes Pennsylvania in #Fallout by Wil Mara. Start reading here: bit.ly/2o4rqoS https://t.co/wNTe1Ya5Sw 17 hours ago
- Author @iannmcdonald returns to the harshest mistress in LUNA: WOLF MOON. Read @BoingBoing's review:… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… 19 hours ago
- Warbreaker Reread: Chapter 24
- Rereading The Handmaid’s Tale: Part XV-Historical Notes
- What’s in a Reboot? How 1998’s Lost in Space Prepared Me for the Onslaught of the Future
- Five Books That Tell the Monster’s Story
- A Good Horror Story Hinges on Sincerity
- It’s Time to Light The Lights: The Unrepeatable Magic of the Theater
- Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Pirates of Orion”
- Tor.com’s Lovecraftiana Sweepstakes!
- Are You Ready to Float? Check Out the New Trailer for Stephen King’s IT
- How “Tallyho!” is Not Always Applicable to Airship Battles