I was thrilled last month to sign a contract with a publisher to publish my first romantic suspense novel under the pen name, Angela Evans. The reactions I have received from friends and family as I share my news has been varied, and yet still followed a predictable path.I've compiled a list which inspired this post. Enjoy!
- I should write a book! This response has generally come from the people you would categorize as "least likely to ever write a book." I'm not sure if writing and publishing a book sounds like easy money to them, or if they just think if I can do it anyone can do it. Maybe anyone can do it, (after all I did), but I can promise you it's far from easy money. More like pour every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears you have into creating a story on the page and then hope someone buys it so you can prove to your family you weren't really just wasting time. Or avoiding them. Or both.
- I knew someone who wrote a book. I've had so many people tell me about their husband's second cousin's wife who had a hairdresser who once wrote a book and published it I could write an entire book of those stories. No one would read it, but I could totally write it. I get it, it's their way of trying to relate, but really...your second cousin's husband and I don't know each other, and I've probably never read his book. I'm sure it's fabulous though!
- Will you have free copies? Remember that blood, sweat, and tears that I mentioned pouring out onto the page earlier? The only way a writer makes any money from doing that is if you actually buy a copy. Whether the author is self-published, publishing with a small publisher or one of the big New York publishers, the only way any revenue is generated from those days, weeks, and months of labor they poured into creating that story is if you buy it. Giving you a free copy won't keep the electricity on and writing in the dark is much too difficult.
- I don't know where you find the time! I'm not sure if this is somehow implying that writing is a waste of time, or simply marveling at my ability to multitask but I can tell you I don't find the time to write, I carve it out with determination. I stay up late, I huddle in the corner while my family is watching television, I carry a notebook or a laptop with me everywhere, and I write every second I have a chance. Writing isn't just something I do for fun, it's like oxygen, I simply have to do it or I get edgy, a little cranky and more than a little moody (just ask my husband!)
- What's your story about? This is simultaneously the most fun, and the most difficult question for a writer to answer. Sure, we've all practiced our elevator pitch just in case we end up riding the elevator with the World's Top Literary Agent, but there is nothing more difficult than summarizing our story in a few sentences. We love every paragraph, every sentence, every word and every syllable we've poured onto the page to bring this story and these characters to life. Don't let this stop you from asking, however, just understand that we may go on and on about our story a little longer than you're expecting us to.
So now I've taken every response you had for when someone, maybe even me, says "My book is going to be published!" So now you're wondering, what the heck am I supposed to say then?
Start with "Congratulations!" and then go straight into "Wow, that's so exciting!" You can even throw in, "I didn't know you were a writer, have you always written?"
And, of course, the best closer is always "Where can I buy a copy?"
In the end, it doesn't really matter if you say some of these things, all of these things, or none of these things because in the end anyone who just got an acceptance letter to hang on their wall next to the gigantic stack of rejection letters they've collected is too over the moon to be bothered by anything at all.