Saturday, October 26, 2013

Why I don't talk about writing in "real" life

Friend: Hey, how's that book thing coming along? 

Me: Oh, really great. I just finished edits and now I'm querying. 

Friend: I thought you were editing before? 

Me: Well, I was rewriting last time I talked to you. Is that what you mean? 

Friend: …

Me: Well, I mean, rewriting is major stuff, big changes, and then I had to proofread those changes, make sure everything looks good. 

Friend: Oh that makes sense. … So, is it going to be published? 

Me: I'm querying right now. 

Friend: … Just … like, waiting? 

Me: *stifles a sigh* Yeah. Basically. But I'm starting another book next week. 

Friend: Why next week? 

Me: It's National Novel Writing Month. 

Friend: What?!

Me: It's just an event where people try to write a whole book in November, cheering each other on, competing to see who can write the most. 

Friend: Why November? Just so you can have the book published in the spring then? 

Me: Never mind.  The book is great. Everything is great. 


  1. Wait, you forgot one of the most important questions!

    Friend: Why don't you just publish it yourself on amazon? You could sell a million copies that way and keep all the money yourself!

  2. Laura: nailed it.

  3. OY.

    This is a whole other can of worms. I should post about this, too. All the misconceptions about self-publishing.

  4. Yes, you're right about it being a whole other topic. And what you wrote was on the money. I actually had someone ask me if a good writer can't just get it perfect in the first draft (after I mentioned I was revising) :-)

  5. I begrudgingly had to explain the
    difference between the self -published middle grade book I produced and “being
    published.” I tend to try to not discuss the writing with other people. They
    want to know what the story is about, and it’s hard to explain. Plus, a lot of
    people think it’s like being an “artist” - they think their whole life is spent
    running around at night, painting murals on public walls or something.

  6. Hahahaha. This is the story of my life. Thankfully, some of my friends have been really interested in learning more about the publishing process and how it's more complicated than it seems. So there's that. But yeah... explaining it all can be a pain.

  7. Oh - also, do you get a lot of the "can I read it?" I get that ALL THE TIME and it's 1/2 of why I don't tell people about my writing. NO YOU CAN'T READ IT RIGHT NOW

  8. This totally made me laugh. It's so true. And then when you've started querying, and then pulled it for more editing after getting rejection feedback, that totally confuses people. I don't think the average person understands the editing involved with novels. I sure didn't before I started.

    The other thing I feel like I have to explain a lot is the publishing thing. Everybody's got some friend that is published, but when you dig, you discover it's a vanity press. With so many people self publishing, it's no wonder non-writers think it's so easy. Just slap it up on Amazon and voila.

  9. I've let ONE person read it (outside one of my betas, who I happened to know in "real" life before I started this journey, but she doesn't really count) and it was a total disappointment. It took her five months to get around to it and then she was not enthusiastic. Which is fine, because it was a work-in-progress, and I didn't expect it to read like a final book, but she couldn't even envision what the final book would be like and it was just really awful.

    So. NO. You cannot read it, friends of mine.

  10. Yeah... I had a friend ask about self-publishing because she thought of an idea for a children's book and decided she wanted to make some Christmas cash. She decided this in September. There weren't even enough words in the world for me to tell her how wrong she was.

  11. Yeah... my husband asked how it was going. I told him I was in the middle of a big re-write. There was a long, awkward pause and then he said, "RE write? As in, you wrote it once and now you're writing it again?"

    I had no words.

  12. People THINK they want to know more, but then about thirty seconds into explaining what a query is and how they work, their eyes glaze over and I can tell they wish they hadn't asked. So I've fallen back on, "Oh, it's just a really slow process." and I don't get into it.

  13. Yes. I think I will do one of these posts about the many confused self-publishing conversations I have with people.

  14. Such a familiar convo. Though, I do have plenty of friends who work hard to understand.

  15. Yep. Sounds about right. So glad for writer friends who actually "get" it.

  16. Yes. The internet has saved my sanity.