What skills does a person need to do the JOB of being an author? A mean set of writing skills, obviously, but is that all?
For every job there is a list of required (or highly recommended) skills that goes with that job. Even for someone who loves what she does for a living, chances are there are aspects that are not so enjoyable, but still necessary. A teacher may love to be in the classroom with students. However, if she isn't skilled at lesson planning, and isn't organized enough to grade piles of papers, her chances of success in the teaching profession are low. A doctor may be brilliant but have an atrocious bedside manner. The inability to relate to people will ultimately cause patients to go elsewhere.
So let's look at the current skill-set for having a job as an author:
Promote? Yes! This is an absolute requirement for the job of being an author. Authors have to promote themselves in some way or another, whether it be through social media, attending networking events and conferences, or hitting every agent in New York.
I'm not saying you can't write if you don't promote--of course you can do that. What I'm implying is that if you don't promote, no one will know to read what you've written. If no one reads you, you are still a writer but you don't have a job as an author.
Have you ever applied for a job for which you didn't have the required skills? Probably not. Or, maybe you were ballsy and did apply for the job because you wanted it really, really, really badly. Good for you! How did the interview go? You probably spent a lot of time convincing the boss that your skills were transferable, that you were a fast learner; that you could do 'X' if given the chance. If you were lucky enough to land the position, I bet you taught yourself those deficient skills pretty darn quickly because you wanted to do the other parts of the job you loved.
You want to write, right? Not waste your time promoting.
Would you tell this to a potential employer hiring for an author position? Next in line, please. If you're an author, chances are you're your own boss. But being your own boss doesn't excuse you from needing those required skills--the excellent writing, being a self-starter, AND the ability to promote. You don't even have to like promoting. However, you do have to do it, one way or another.
So do you want the job?
Tell me what you think and leave a comment. Do you disagree? Agree? What are other skill requirements of being an author?
And here are some additional articles on the subject:
What You Should Know About Being A Published Author
How To Become An Author in 5 Incredibly Difficult Steps
Do Authors Really Need to Promote Their Own Books?
Essential Skills-Authors & Writers