Friday, November 02, 2007

Inquisition

When I'm out and about I don't like to tell people I'm a writer but people find out anyway - I'm introduced as one, or a mutual friend has mentioned it. Most people ask me what it's about and wish me good luck. But there is a small minority with a large attitude that I don't understand.

Immediately upon meeting them the inquisition starts: what is my sales strategy, my idea sounds very local, maybe I should rewrite it for the American market? Don't think it's going to be easy now, because it isn't, and only the serious may apply. What is my angle? How am I going to sell it, push it? What's my plan?

The whole experience feels like an interview - not quite knowing what they want from me, I just keep the answers short but truthful, thanking them for their suggestions, reiterating that I do have a market in mind but that my priority is to have something half-decent to sell in the first place.

Then when they lose interest and I have got my breath back, I always wonder why I get this reaction from people. It amazes me that these people aren't writers but for some reason they put me through the wringer like I'm all pie in the sky. I mean, if someone told me they were starting a business I wouldn't start the conversation by asking if they had the right permits in place, if they had thought about the long hours, cos starting a business is hard work and only the serious may apply...

11 comments:

Helen said...

Well said.

And what about those people who say they would like to write, if only they had as much time as I have?

Alix said...

Gosh what a nightmare, I don't know what it is with some people. They think that because they have read a book, been to school, have a bank account etc they are an authority on that subject.
Well done for staying calm!

JJ said...

I've never come across that attitude. All the other ones, yes, but I had no real idea how difficult it really would be, either!

hellojed said...

Helen, that attitude is so patronising! Apparently writers get that a lot.

Alix, I guess you'll encounter those people whatever you do.

JJ, glad that you haven't encountered it, it is quite a weird experience. Writing certainly is hard, but my point is how would they know? They've never written a book.

Jen said...

People can be such a nightmare. Strangely, the most common response I get is people asking me if they could be in the book! I often end up with estate agents and suchlike telling me how interesting they are, as if they're auditioning for a part.

Odd. Very, very odd.

hellojed said...

Jen, people are nutters alright!

Jen said...

How deeply annoying that must be. Sounds like this small minority of people are confusing advertising with the actual creative writing process. Which is definitely NOT how it works! And yes, everyone's an expert...

Emerging Writer said...

And they say to me 'It's still not published?!!'

Beth said...

I get that ALL the time, plus "Well where have you been published?" and "Why haven't I seen it?" like I somehow have to audition for them personally. Truly, I think it's fuelled by a little jealousy - kind of like how can we do it but not them? If they just stepped back and took a breath I think they'd realise they could if they really wanted to make the sacrifices that we have!

Macoosh said...

there are just some people out there who will do that with EVERYTHING. I've made some crazy decisions in my life and i get an inquisiton at every turn.

these are usually the people who are most jealous of the fact that i do whatever i do. keep that in mind.

in regards to the american market, i'll help sell it over here! haha

Angie said...

I'm a bit late on the commenting, but wanted to say that I've had this happen too. In my experience it's either someone who knows *nothing* about publishing/writing/books, or someone who is completely wrapped up in him/herself.
Loved your comment about starting a business. ;) haha