When people learn you're a writer, you tend to get a series of responses. They range from, "What do you write?" to, "I've always wanted to write a book." Most of the latter group wants to share their life stories with the world.
I'm guessing these are the same people who think we care every time they go to the gym or have a stomach virus.
Once you're published, you get those questions, plus a few new ones, including (but not limited to):
- How did you get published?
- How much did you have to pay your publisher?
- Can you help me get published?
Yes, I've actually been asked that second question. When I informed the person that a legitimate publisher does not charge, she informed me that she Googled and yes, in fact, publishers are asking for $250 and up to just read your manuscript.
I first told her no legitimate publisher charges but then pointed her to a resource where she could get information about self-publishing. She said she didn't want to self-publish. I pointed her to this site and strongly suggested she get involved with a writer's group in her genre. Will she take my advice?
I get the same response when people ask me how I make a living writing all day. My answer, which is essentially, "Hard work," is generally met with this type of reaction:
You'll get a similar reaction if someone asks you how you lost so much weight or how you won the gold medal in the Olympics. Basically, if the answer is anything resembling this...
People don't really want to know. So make up an answer like, "I just woke up one morning, wrote a novel, and it sold. It must be magic." The person isn't going to actually try anyway. Do you know why?
People who actually want to get a novel published, lose weight, or win the gold medal have already researched it and know the work that goes into it. They don't see someone doing it and say, "What you're doing looks cool. I might give that a try."
Without realizing it, people who ask those questions actually insult a writer. They make it sound as if anyone can do it--as if all the hard work you did means nothing. They also make you wonder if maybe it was harder for you than most people. There are, after all, people who land publishing deals with the first book they write...
What are you insecure about this month?