Tell Someone You’re an Author and… A Coping Guide

So Gentle Reader, nothing is worse (for an author) than being at an event where no one knows you and you are faced with the inevitable question…

So, what is it do you do?


Do I lie?

Do I tell the truth?

So many possible ways this could go badly badly wrong.

But you take a deep breath and you tell the truth.

I’m an author.

Oh noes… here it comes!

The Responses:

OPTION ONE: The Idea Pimp

What they say:

I have this great idea, what if I tell it to you, you write it, and then we can split the proceeds 50/50?

What I say:

I am sure that your idea is absolutely brilliant and utterly unique, but there is no way I could possibly do your idea justice. You simply must write it yourself.

What I’m thinking:

  1. There are no unique ideas left in this world.
  2. Funny that you think 50/50 is fair, when all the work is actually writing and we’re lucking if we get 25% on the final product.
  3. Do you know what ideas are? Really really cheap.

OPTION TWO: The Dreaded Memoirist

What they say:

My life story is so interesting, it would make a wonderful book, you should write it for me.

What I say:

How could anybody possibly tell your story for you? You simply must write it yourself, and I’m sure any such memoir would sell beautifully.

What I’m thinking:

  • No one buys everyman memoirs. The only people who can sell a memoir are humorists or famous.
  • It’s charming that you didn’t even ask me what kind of books I write because I wouldn’t touch a memoir with 1000 foot pole.

OPTION THREE: The Buddy Writer

What they say:

I’m writing a book myself.

What I say:

Oh that is great! Have you finished it? How many books have you published?

What I’m thinking:

Oh no, here we go again.

What I will never say:

That sounds awesome, I’d love to read it.

What I might say:

Can I get your card?

And that card better have the book’s cover and title and your author name on it. If I have to do any work to find that book, I’m never going to do it.

OPTION FOUR: The Terrifying Reader

What they say:

What kind of books do you write? Will I have heard of you?

What I say:

I write commercial genre fiction. Maybe you know me, any idea what steampunk is?

What I’m thinking:

Not a chance in hell.

OPTION FIVE: The Prove Yourself, Fellow Author

What they say:

Oh really, who’s your agent?

What I say:

Kristin Nelson of an NLA.

What I’m thinking:

Interesting that you knew to ask that question and no I will not recommend you to her having only met you at a cocktail party. Because you know that’s the next question or we gonna start that lovely subtle jockeying to find out which author “ranks” higher than the other.

And there you have it.

The reason why, when asked what I do, nine times out of ten I say:

“I’m in communications and marketing.”

Because, you know, I kinda am.

Yours in introvert suffering,

Miss Gail

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Your Tisane of Smart . . .

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~ Tamora Pierce, Squire

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