Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Who's Going to Star in the Movie?

If you missed my publishing news from my December post, it goes something like this:

Squeeeee!  I have a book deal!!*

In the interim between the initial excitement and the editorial letter, there's a kind of a "did that really just happen" limbo.  Luckily, I spent some of that time with family and friends but the following is a smattering of the (sometimes) bizarre reactions to my book news.

1.  OMG! That's incredible!  You've worked so hard for this!

The best reaction!  Usually from the people who know how long I've been at this writing thing.
My response:   Thanks! I know, pretty wild? Still wrapping my head around it.

2.  How much is your nice, fat advance check?

Yes, people really do ask this question!
My response:

I get it, I do.  Humans are curious creatures but um, really?!

3.  You sneaky little devil!  I didn't know you liked to write!

This was at a family dinner with a cousin I rarely see so I'll cut her some slack but for some reason this made me feel odd.  As if I sit at my computer, twirling my moustache and laughing maniacally while I write.
My response:  Giggle. Blush.  Mwahahahahaha...

4.  What's the book about?

Okay, totally legit question.
My response:

5.  Will it be a movie?

This question is asked with more frequency than I ever imagined, sometimes with genuine enthusiasm.
My response: Um, well, no.  It's a book.  And I'm pretty stoked about that!

The funny thing is, all these reactions brought up a few unexpected feelings of my own.  The most heinous and surprising one being:  sheer terror.  What had I done? Why not just perform naked karaoke to "Call Me Maybe" instead?  My characters are my babies, and they will be "out there"...under scrutiny...possibly on Goodreads.  Yikes.

And this got me thinking about #4.  I think the real reason I don't have an elevator pitch is because I don't want a face-to-face snap judgement.  What if the person replies, "oh, um, sounds good, please pass the blue sangria", or reaction at all.

Writing is such a fragile endeavor and mostly it's just you and the page with some idea of a phantom audience.  It took a long time for me to share with others that I was even a writer in the first place (hence #3), I'm not sure why I thought I'd feel differently when I could finally say "My book comes out next year."  Each new step brings its own set of fears.

So how about you Paper Waiters?  How do you deal with bizarre reactions to your writing endeavors?

*I apologize if this is obnoxious.  I've been squeeing an awful lot lately.
**the .gif reactions are inspired by the following awesome tumblr sites, check them out! Title to Come, Life in Publishing, Life of a Dude in Publishing   


  1. I'm still squeeing for you, Robin! And I hope you'll continue to share your insights about the whole process. I can't wait to read every word.

    As for me, I rarely tell anyone I write. I used to, but no more. I hate the same set of questions. And you all know what they are.

    So in casual conversation, mums the word. Even my husband has learned that. He's hears the same questions too many times.

    But I do love to talk writing and process with people who understand or who are genuinely curious.

  2. Judy, Thanks! I was really thrown by the questions/comments that people had. It's very scary putting yourself out there and saying "Yes, I write".

    I know exactly the questions you are talking about too!!
    And ditto for talking about the writing process. I LOVE that :)

  3. Congrats again, Robin! It's just such great news. I have had some odd reactions to my role as writer too. I don't think people even realize how they come off, half the time. I remember shortly after I graduated college, one of my uncles asked me what I wanted to do and when he heard the answer, he said lightly "Oh, another unpublished writer!" Oh, how it stung! Well,, some years passed and I published some magazine articles and came back to him proudly saying, "Not another unpublished writer anymore!" Well, he had forgotten all about what he said and when he heard it repeated back to him he was mortified. He isn't a bad guy, he simply didn't realize how it sounded at the time. But it stayed with me for years.

  4. Robin,
    I have often heard children's writers say that they aren't considered "real writers" unless they write for adults. Now, I guess having a movie made from your book is the new test of your worth. Ouch! Well, I think it's terrific that you have a book coming out. People mean well--keep that in mind. Hopefully, they'll buy a copy.

  5. Love this post, Robin! And congrats again!

    I think the question that got the oddest reactions for me is-- when is it coming out? In publishing time, my book came out pretty quickly, but for the rest of the world it seemed really slow. Friends celebrated my good news and then they wanted to see my book in a book store... soon! I would explain that there's a lot that needs to happen to get my book ready-- including time for the illustrator to make all his incredible illustrations. But often, I got the sense that they slightly doubted that my book was real if it was taking this long. :o)

  6. p.s. Their apparent doubts that it was real reinforced my own doubts that it was real, 'cause I could hardly believe it myself. :o)

  7. You deserve a long, loud squee!! And as for the questions and comments, just chalk them up to well-meaning ignorance. I imagine lawyers and doctors get some irritating/funny comments also.

  8. Thanks, ladies! Glad to know I'm not alone with odd questions being tossed my way!!

    The only think that really threw me was the advance question...but like you said, most people are well meaning and eager to say congrats!!