All of us need validation. That’s why a toddler looks back at his mother when he’s made a big accomplishment, a single step, a Cheerio successfully stuffed into a drooling mouth.

Somehow, writers seem to think that we need to be accepted by a publisher in order to be validated. Like, any rave reviews we get from friends, other writers, or family don’t count, it only counts if you actually get published, and that big advance.

Yup, we gotta eat. After all we spend way more hours at our craft than any other kind of employment requires. (Okay–maybe not truck driving). But our validation– yes, you are an author–need not come from a stuffy publishing house.

Are we any less of a success if we self-publish? Somehow, I seem to think I won’t be a real writer unless somebody else publishes my work. Somebody else has to say so, then I can say I’m an author. I’m a writer. I could put it on a business card, and it would be okay.

I am slogging through the self-publishing world to get my first two books published. That part is actually not that difficult, but I’ve spent countless hours learning everything I can about book marketing. That’s where the hard part is.

It’s not so much the social networking, ads, and e-mails, it’s the self promotion part. It is the Impostor Syndrome, the need for validation from somebody that counts. Somehow that gets ingrained from an early age.

Jennifer Poyntz is young, and a writer with budding talent. She has amazing insight into what matters most in life, but she is still searching for the validation that says she is a writer. I say she is a writer. I’m not a publisher, or editor, I’m a reader. And the reader is the one who matters.