Imposters R Us? I Think Not!

One or two things have happened lately that made me think of the word “imposter” and all its different meanings.

Imposter: a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain.

I googled Alien A La Carte about three weeks ago. I do this from time to time to see what reviews have said, or to make sure that my book is still up on Amazon. Occasionally I have found it disappears mysteriously. But this time I found my book not only on Amazon and Kobo, but on a number of other sites, many of which I had never heard of. These imposter sites were purportedly selling my book! On further investigation, I found out that such a thing as book piracy exists. Luckily, I signed up for a number of email blasts from various websites. We all have, of course, and most of them we skim over and then hit trash! However, Dave from Kindlepreneur is one I generally read, and thank goodness. It has some great information on book piracy and what to do about it. Now I can google my book and it appears where I expect it to more or less.

Imposter Syndrome: the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills

In common with many writers, famous, infamous, published and unpublished, I find myself suffering from imposter syndrome. “Why would anyone want to read anything I wrote, why would they be interested in a space station, what is the point of trying in this competition, I won’t make the standard.” This kind of negative self talk is not restricted to writers. Engineers too (of which I am also one) have self doubts. In fact I imagine people in any profession have these doubts. Generally people don’t talk about them unless to a private counsellor. The difference in the writing community is that we love to write, nay, many of us need to write. And we will write about anything and everything. Including self doubt. Now, where we go wrong is that we do not correct the negative self talk, we perpetuate it. I fell victim to this two weeks ago when undertaking the NYCMidnight Flash Fiction competition. The prompts were posted, the competition was launched, and I was hit with a story that I wanted to tell. I knew it was risky, my topic might be more drama than mystery, and my use of the location was a little bit outside the box. I submitted it with confidence… and then came the best part of that competition. The sharing of the story with other competitors. What an opportunity to connect with other writers, to read and be read, to learn from feedback and to learn to give feedback. Then the imposter syndrome hit. I couldn’t post my story with a positive tagline. No, I had to point out the things I had done wrong, to all of my potential readers and fellow authors. I could only praise the other writers with a well meaning platitude, without the thoughtful feedback I had planned. Who am I to criticize another’s work? It wore off, and I was able to be more constructive with my feedback, and thankful for the opportunity to learn. But next time, I think a few positive self talk memes may be needed!

Imposter Synonyms: con artist, cheat, con, fake, fraud, mountebank, phony, pretender, quack, sham

Its summer, and with COVID still lingering the camp that my son usually frequents for the summer months is closed. He is a huge fan of escape room puzzles and problem solving, and I decided to subscribe to a mail order mystery for him. The Case of the Missing Bigfoot! features a series of letters sent to the child of your choice. It involves them in the curious case of a set of missing photographs purported to be proof of Bigfoots existence. Through a series of letters each containing clues, the case unfolds and the evidence mounts: a suspects board, fingerprints and witness statements all contribute. It appears that more than one Bigfoot is at large and at least one is a fake, but as to who is guilty of stealing the photographs, only time will tell. This was a great distraction from the internet, and encouraged my son in some interesting code breaking activities and some really creative thinking.