Bestselling Author Trope

Typewriter and notebooks

Disclaimer: I have a sneaking suspicion that this post may garner some criticism from my fellow authors, and so I should like to begin by stating, unequivocally, that what follows is in no way meant to be interpreted as a disparagement of the character, substance, or work ethic of any author. It is opinion only, and it should be taken as such—with a grain of salt, an open mind, and, one might hope, some small consideration.

Naturally, I welcome any dissenting opinions to the comment section.

That being said, let us examine for the moment what I have become fond of calling the Bestselling Author Trope. The reader has, I’m sure, at some point experienced the phenomenon of meeting or conversing with an author, usually of obscure origin, who introduces himself or herself as Bestselling Author J. Doe. This pronouncement comes most frequently without any further credit or qualification, save for perhaps a reference to Amazon sales rank in a sub-sub-subcategory so specialized as to be non-competitive.

Irrespective of the veracity of the claim, this presents a clear question to those of us with a mind for classical comportment: is it an impropriety to introduce oneself as a self-styled bestseller?

I say yes, and my reasons are as thus:

  1. As with any craft or trade, being a member of any fellowship, no matter how loosely organized, commands with it a certain and necessary respect and deference with regard to one’s peers;
  2. The paragons of authorship, those who have by sole virtue of their own work become, in name, synonymous with literary and journalistic achievement, are owed at least some measure of regard by even their most staunch critics;
  3. The laborious unknowns, those as-yet unpublished or unread, lack only an audience of sufficient size to rival even the most familiar names which grace our shelves;
  4. The above being properly considered, it is a disservice to those who have risen and assume no airs, to those who have floundered and receive no honours, and not the least of which to those who see fit to sing their own praises when choirs at the back are wanting.

There ought to be a quiet dignity attendant upon authorship, the distinguishing characteristic which separates the Author from passing fancy. The work must speak for itself; to whom is this more dearly known than that hand which first penned its voice into being? Logically, a bestselling author should need no introduction as such.

Of course, for my own part I can only opine with regard to the idiosyncrasies of my fellow Authors—“A”, not “a”, in recognition of their accomplishment no matter what my idle musings might be. However, we should, I think, be not discourteous to others in so assaulting those we meet with our own self-regard, but more so we should not sell our work short by putting ourselves between it and the reader as though to say, “My book is so wonderful you don’t even need to see it.”

JC Augustus Lai Andurin
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JC Augustus Lai Andurin

J.C. Augustus Lai Andurin is an Irish-American author and philosopher. Having spent much of his life traveling the U.S., Europe, and Asia, he has a fierce wanderlust and thirst for knowledge. Despite his adventurous spirit, he is a husband and father, first and foremost, with three wonderful children.
JC Augustus Lai Andurin
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