Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.
What assumptions do people make about you when they hear you are a writer?
The first one is that I must be rich and or famous. Then they might ask if I lead a life rubbing shoulders with other famous authors. Occasionally, they’ll ask me sensible questions, like how many books do you have published (twenty-three so far) or how long does it take you to write a book (from three weeks to three years)?
However, once my secret (that I self-publish) is out, the whole mood changes with some people. There’s a sense of disbelief, that because I don’t have an agent and a contract (neither of which I actually want), my work somehow doesn’t count. I’ve even been told that I’m not a “proper” author, whatever that means.
Then there’s the obligatory hatred of Amazon that always seems to be there. As if (by working with them), I’m somehow responsible for their activities.
Now, I’m not an apologist for Amazon (or any monopolistic entity). BUT, and this is important, they have given me and many other people a voice, a platform to express ourselves. For that reason, I’m grateful to them. It doesn’t mean that I have to like everything about their operation. Or agree with it.
On balance, they don’t treat me badly, pay me on time and what I earn from them is enough to keep me in meals out and a few spare pennies.
At the end of the day, it’s their business, as long as they comply with all the relevant legislation, they can conduct it how they see fit. I CHOOSE to do business with them, that’s the key, it’s a BUSINESS arrangement.
I digress, sorry about that.
To better illustrate what I’m up against, as a little-known author who self-publishes, these are some true stories from my experience.
Once they’ve decided that, as I’m not part of the “proper” literary world but a hanger-on who obviously has no talent, some people excuse themselves, by saying that they don’t like Sci-fi or don’t have time to read. They move away as if I was on fire, or harbouring something contagious.
There are also the people who start off by asking a lot of sensible questions about self-publishing. They then proceed to tell me that they’ve written a book which would be a best-seller, if only I (as an obvious expert), could help them publish it. And by that, they mean edit and format the manuscript, design a cover and then upload it all for them.
Now I’m more than happy to offer advice, a lot of very kind people helped me to get my books published and I want to pay that forward wherever I can. But I didn’t expect any of them to DO it, just to tell me how, or suggest where I could find out.
At a sci-fi convention, a person told me that he’d written a sci-fi story. I congratulated him and he then took over an hour to describe his story to me, with a lot of repetition and asides, plus the occasional suggestion that I “ignore that bit.” It was almost as if he was reading me his first draft from memory. I was desperately trying to be polite but a lot of potential customers at the event got fed up with waiting to catch my attention and buy books before he got the hint.
There was even a person who interrupted my conversation with a group of fans at another convention. We were talking about world-building when she barged in and loudly asked for a refund on the paperback that she had purchased not an hour before. Turns out that she’d started reading it over a cup of coffee and had decided that it wasn’t to her taste. Needless to say, the crowd around me vanished.
Finally, there are the ever-present people who tell me that they’d “love” to read my books, if only they weren’t so expensive. I guess that they don’t have any idea of how much work is required to create and polish them, as well as the upfront costs incurred, or for the fact that I like to eat or turn a light on occasionally. Or perhaps they feel that giving away one freebie won’t hurt me? My stock response is that one of my books is cheaper than a cup of coffee and will take a lot longer to consume.
Until next time.
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