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?
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. 🙂