Ask and ye shall receive

I’m going to bust some myths today. You ready?

Since I hopped on the publishing train this year, I’ve been asked certain questions a lot. I mean a whole lot. At first, I’d laugh at their ridiculousness. Then, after the second, and third, then fourth person asked the exact same question, I realized there are some common misconceptions about writers and the industry. I’m going to debunk some of those today.

Granted, these are my experiences…take them with a grain.

Hilarious publishing question #1, asked most often by very distant cousins:

Have you made it rich yet?

Oh, boy. Take a look at the sagging economy. The merging of publishing companies. The layoffs of editors. The closing of Borders. The rise in e-books and the slow decline of print. Judging from the trends, do you think a multi-million dollar publishing house would dish out million dollar advances to every debut author that smacks a shiny manuscript on their desk? It may’ve happened for J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer, and I’m sure a handful of talented others (lucky suckers), but those instances are few and far between. The rest of us are slaving away, writing day in and day out, trying to build a reader base from which our career can grow.

No. I haven’t made it rich. When I do, you’ll be the first I invite to my castle to take a swim in my moat. Until you get the royal invite, cool your heels.

Ridiculous publishing question #2, asked most often by photographers or men trying to pick me up:

Is that you on the cover?

Have you seen the cover of my upcoming release, Vamped Up?

Releases December 6th, 2011

No way in hell could that be me. Not on my best day, using the best Photoshop, with the most talented air-brusher on the planet.

But, this question can also be swapped for:

Do you design the covers yourself?

Now, I understand the curiosity since self-publishing has reared its head. Many authors are buying pictures from sites like iStock Photo, then mashing something together themselves. They look beautiful. Professional. Some authors are even paying graphic designers to mock covers for them. I can understand the confusion. But I am the least creative person on the planet. (Writing aside, of course.) I can’t draw. Paint. Mold. Scribble. Nada.

Just to clear things up, I have not, nor will I ever have the desire to design any of my covers myself. In fact, I have little to no say in the final product of the covers. And I like it that way. I’m going to leave the cover design to the people (or person) who does it best. (And holy-macaroon, does HarperCollins have a WILDLY talented cover artist.)

Outrageous publishing question #3, asked most by family members:

How long do you think you’re going to stick with this writing thing?

This question is asked like this “thing” is not a career I’m trying to build. Like this “thing” I’m going through is some sort of weird phase that’ll pass. Like my addiction to Hypercolor in junior high. Would someone ask a doctor how long he or she is going to be interested in medicine? Or a teacher how long he or she is going to like teaching? No. Because that would be ridiculous. I’ve found the desire to write is much like the desire to do either one of those things…and they were simply two examples I yanked off the top of my head. I taught. I loved it. It wasn’t a “thing”. It was what I did. Who I was. I was proud to be a teacher. And I’m proud to be a writer, too.

For the record, I’m going to stick with this “writing thing” until the “thing” becomes a career, and then I’m going to keep doing it. I’m going to write until the stories stop drumming in my head. And since they’ve been cooped up far too long without an outlet (because I was convinced I couldn’t write until after college), I’m thinking this “writing thing” is here to stay. I’d wager other writers feel the same way.

Ask me in twenty years…

I could go on and on, dishing out more ridiculous questions and answering them with waaaay more sarcasm than necessary, but I’d rather hear some of the ones you’ve been asked.

Don’t you write in evening gowns and stilettos, too?

Edited to add: This post was not intended to read harshly, although I realize it could if you were one of the people who has asked me those questions recently. (I was actually smiling through the whole post.) I absolutely LOVE that there’s people interested in my work. I LOVE when people care enough to send me emails asking about my writing process. (Keep those coming!) I guess I woke up with a fire in my belly today…thus, the sarcasm. 🙂

About Kristin Miller

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Kristin Miller writes sweet and sassy contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance of all varieties. Kristin has degrees in psychology, English, and education, and taught high school and middle school English before crossing over to a career in writing. She lives in Northern California with her alpha male husband and their two children. You can usually find her in the corner of a coffee shop, laptop in front of her and mocha in hand, using the guests around her as fuel for her next book. Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorKristinMiller Twitter: www.twitter.com/kristinmiller02 Web: www.kristinmiller.net

Posted on December 1, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Great responses Kristin! It would be nice just to be paid, wouldn’t it? BTW, I am a graphic designer and your covers absolutely rock!

    • Thanks for the love, Candis!

      When I first got into the business, a few well-established author friends warned, “You know you’ll make chicken feed off your first few books, right?” (I must’ve been doe-eyed and gleaming with hopeful insta-success.) Realistically, I knew the truth. I knew they were right. It’s something I’ve come to accept–chicken feed is better than dirt. 🙂

  2. I had no idea you had this in you!! Congrats on the success. I’ll have to get ahold of one of your books!

  3. I get asked those same questions as well as why I won’t lower the price of my books on Amazon. People don’t believe that the author has no say in the pricing–no say at all. Hey…when you get that castle and moat, I want to visit! 🙂

  4. I loved this post, Kristin! You have me giggling out loud. It irks me most when people ask if I write porn. Uh…no.

  5. Love the cover of this book. She has beautiful eyes. Great interview. The book looks great. This is a new author for me and would love to checkout this book. Going to add to my must read list.

  6. blackroze37@yahoo.com

    do the ppl design the cover read the book first?

    • Though I can’t speak for every cover designer at every house, I can tell you that I’m betting my bottom dollar the ones I’ve worked with at The Wild Rose Press and Avon do not. I’m not saying that’s bad…at all. I simply don’t think there’s any way the artists could read all the books before they designed them. They’re too busy. (And are sooo good at what they do!) Although…I’m sure if they got the book blurb and thought it sounded interesting, they’d give it a read, but there we’re talking more reading for pleasure than reading for research.

      Long answer short, I think not.

  7. I dreamed of being one of the big 6 published… but now I see friends pubbing with small presses, and they seem just as fulfilled, as happy with their work being appreciated as I dreamed of being in those big dreams. Plus, with a smaller press, there seems to be a smaller gap between witer/reader. You still get to do the cons, even if you’re paying your own way. 🙂

  8. kristinmiller02

    Hi Bettielee,
    Like you, I’ve dreamed of being traditionally published for years. By that I mean, I wanted to walk into a bookstore–any one–and find my book on the shelves. While I’m still charging ahead for that dream, I’m absolutely thrilled with the opportunities e-books are giving writers who may be early in their career.
    I’m not sure what you mean by, “doing the cons” (conferences, maybe?), but I’m not really paying my own way. Vamped Up is contracted with HarperCollins’s e-first line, Impulse. I don’t pay for edits, marketing, publicity, etc. (Is that what you meant?) The thing you have to be careful about in this changing market is the variety of the presses. It’s easy to remember that Big 6 is different from small press. And that small press is different from self-publishing. But it’s getting increasingly difficult to differentiate between self-publishing (Createspace, etc) and vanity presses (in which you really do pay your own way).
    Good luck to you! And I hope to see you on the shelves one day!

  9. Lol…I enjoyed the post! I think every author is asked how long they are going to stick with the
    “writing thing” as a career, for some strange reason people just don’t get it. By the way love the new cover and it doesn’t matter who designs it or if you are on the cover – it represents you:)

  10. My question is Why vampires? Is there a book that turned you on to vampires like Dracula?

    • I can’t say one book or movie in particular wanted to make me write vampires, though Interview with a Vampire, Underworld, Twilight, and Nora Robert’s Circle Trilogy, definitely influenced me. Paranormal creatures are intriguing–vampires, therians, werewolves, zombies, dragons, fairies, goblins, and ghosts–they each come with a rich history and inherent rules to their species. It’s fun to test those rules..and bend them a little. I’ll probably write them all over the course of my paranormal writing career. 🙂

  11. I really loved your answers. Seriously no matter what industry we are in. There are always those questions that just beg for a kind of sarcastic response. And while most of the time we can not say what we really want. We really are thinking it.

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