Sometimes I'm having a good day, and then I remember that people like Rob Eagar exist in the world and then I fall into a deep, dark pit of despair.

For the past seven years, I’ve coached over 500 authors from beginners to bestsellers and reached this conclusion: There is no such thing as an “author.” Instead, there are only people who write stuff that they want other people to buy. Nobody dreams about writing for free, and the few who don’t care if people buy what they write are generally known as “poets.”

If there’s no such thing as an author, how do we define people who write stuff that they want other people to buy? We call them “salespeople.” Am I serious? Would I dare use such language? The purists believe it’s blasphemy to use the “s-word” in literary company. You cannot unite writing and selling without being heretical. Maybe so, but I’m simply stating the truth. If you want other people to buy what you write, then you are a salesperson for your work. It’s not the act of writing that makes someone an author. It’s the act of someone else buying what you wrote.

Do musicians have to put up with this kind of undignified bullshit? Do painters? The army of sleaze merchants who circle the publishing industry armed with horrible PR-speak seems to be growing in number every day. Worse than that: Too many wannabe writers take these people seriously.