This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I think since I started writing, I’ve had nearly every reaction under the sun from friends, family, and strangers. Whilst on the whole I’ve been overwhelmed by how supportive people can be, there have been some comments that have pushed my buttons.
I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago about the little ups that surge us aspiring authors on, and one of the comments made me giggle. It said, “Most friends and family think if I was any good some major pub house would have banged down my door years ago. With a seven-figure check in hand.” It made me laugh as I’ve got that feeling from people I’ve spoken to before.
I honestly don’t think people mean to be nasty, or come across as dream-crushing, I just don’t think people know how hard it is to get an agent or get published. In fact, I was one of those people when I wrote my first book (I soon learnt). Yet, there seems to be something soul destroying when someone says to you, “Haven’t you sent your book out to a publisher?” and you have to cough and say, “Yes” and that you’ve been trying to get published for years.
Some of the worst comments I’ve ever had have come from an ex-work colleague. He treated my self-publishing as a big joke, as, after all, “Anyone can vanity publish” as he reminded me. When my books started selling, his tack changed to, “It just shows you that people will buy anything.” To be honest, as rude and as uncomfortable as those conversations were, it just made me feel prouder about what I’d achieved. I knew how hard it is to have got a book to the stage of self-publishing, and then getting people to actually buy it! The last thing I’ve heard is now, the ex-colleague is writing a book himself…
Sometimes, I get the impression from people who have never written a book, that writing a book is a pretty easy thing to do. It’s been quite staggering since I started selling well on Amazon, how many people tell me that they might ‘give it a go’. Maybe I’m making it seem too easy. I mean they don’t see me writing until stupid o’clock in the morning and they certainly don’t see me turning down social engagements to do a bit of editing. I think what annoys me about it, is the way that they just think they’ll bash out a book and voilà – they’d be an overnight bestseller. I guess it would be like me meeting a professional photographer, and telling them I might start giving weddings a go on the side. After all, I like taking photos, so how hard could it be?
I don’t think I’d ever belittle someone for not being at the top of their profession, yet in a creative industry, unless you’re a household name then you’re often not seen as if you’ve made it. I know these people’s opinions don’t matter, it’s not like their connected to the publishing industry, but their words can still rattle my cage.
So what’s the worst thing a normal person, AKA an outsider to the publishing industry, has ever said about your writing dream?