Monday, December 7, 2009

I Can't Explain This.

A few weeks ago, my daughter told a woman at the library I found my agent on Craig's List.

Proof she has my genes, but whatever.

The lady had just sat down with a stack of books and my daughter immediately went publicist on her.

Daughter: *Points at Stack of Books* "My dad wrote a book. He has an agent."
Woman: Oh, what kind of book?
Daughter: It's about love.
Me: It's for teenagers.
Woman: Is it young adult?

I went on to explain that, yes, it was young adult and gave her a brief explanation about the plot.

Woman: Where did you find your agent?
Me: I--
Daughter: Craig's List
Woman: Is he local?
Me: No, he lives in New York. And I didn't find him on Craig's List...

At this point in the conversation, I was looking around and feeling very self conscious. And I have no idea why. Since signing with MB, I'm felt increasingly weary of sharing my good news with people. I always imagined trotting out the words my agent... with comfortable ease. But it's exactly the opposite. I don't know if I don't want to seem arrogant, all Look at me! or what. But every time the topic of me being a writer comes up, I start to cringe.

It turns out this lady happened to be STEPHANIE MEYER.

Okay, that's not true. But still, I needed some drama (if only for a couple of seconds...)

Am I insane? Is it idiotic to feel self conscious about calling myself a writer? Do you (agented or not) ever feel sheepish saying, "I wrote a book..."?


  1. I am so gullible. I did believe you met Stephanie Meyer at the library. I was wondering what books she took out. And then I read on.

    My personality is such that I will probably always feel sheepish about tooting my own horn. It is just too bad that in this day and age, writers are their own publicists. Although, it sounds as if you can hand that job title to your daughter.

    I imagine that your comfort level will broaden out after time.

  2. hahahah Great story!

    Off to Craigslist......

    I've told a few people about my books, depending on the person, which book, but most of the time I get a general indifference, unless they've tried to write one themselves and knows how hard it is. Then again, I live in Idaho. Most of the people I talk to think books are really thorough scripts that they base movies off of.

  3. I drop it into conversations and then elaborate if asked to.

    "I saw Dwight the other day. He volunteered to take a look at my book."

    "You wrote a book?"

    And then I talk about the book, but I never do so with all that much enthusiasm. It's more, "Yeah, it's for high school kids. Boys mainly."

    People have to really pry to get much out of me.

    I guess I want people to know I've accomplished the feat. That I write and finish stuff. But as for the details, I'd rather not get into it.

  4. "Craig's list" gave me a good chuckle. I am extremely choosy about when and where to bring up writing. To quote our mutual favorite, Christopher Moore, "You'd be better off to call yourself a turtle. At least they've seen a turtle Your family, your coworkers, your friends: don't care, think you're nuts." (This is from a speech I've titled "why call yourself a writer if you're not writing" Let me know if you ever need the motivation and I will email it to you. I promise you will want to hang it where you can see it). He was right, with the exception of those who live under my roof (and they ALL get it), most people don't, so I don't bother.

  5. When I tell people I write in my spare time, I do feel sheepish. I've been published in magazines, but no agent/book deal yet, so I don't feel like a "real" writer quite yet. I know I shouldn't feel that way, but I feel that's what others may think.
    If I had an agent, I'd feel a little better telling people I'm a writer. So tell away!
    Your daughter sounds hilarious by the way!

  6. It's hard for me to really articulate my discomfort. I'm totally happy to have an agent, obviously. If I'm ever published, I don't think I'll have any difficulty being a publicist. I guess it's like some of you've said: I'm wary of the people who don't get it. I've had a number of people say, "Oh, maybe I should write a book..." The implication being a.) it's easy. b.) if I (an obvious can do it, somebody (such as the person I'm speaking to) with an incredible intellect could do it. c.) most people have no perspective on this subject. The idea of the difficulty it takes to publish a book and sign with an agent, I think, is not understood.

  7. BTW - my boss gives me a really hard time about this subject... anytime my phone rings he says, "That must be your agent calling." It's annoying, especially since he's a pastor and all. :)

  8. I know exactly the discomfort you're talking about. I think it's caused partly by the vaguely (and mostly unintentionally) condescending, "A book, huh? Good for you" reaction it often gets.

    And plus I think that it's just a bit of natural shyness, especially among writers who don't want to see like they're boasting.

    PS I also believed it was Stephenie Meyer!

  9. I feel EXACTLY the same way. Like if I even bring it up, I'm a pathetic braggart. But when I do tell people that I have an agent, they never seem to even remotely grasp the significance.

    "So what does that mean? When does your book come out?"

  10. Okay, just popped back on your blog after not reading for a while and my eyes literally BUGGED out of my head.

    My first thought was "WAS MICHELLE WITH HIM?"


    Happy 2010. Jackson is just not the same without you guys.

  11. I am glad I started backlog reading, this post speaks so well to me, and it seems most writers.

    I have the problem that I recently moved in order to write. So when people find out that I am new (which is technically not true, since I moved back to my hometown after a seven year absence)they immediately ask me why, which always leads to me telling them, "So I can focus on writing", which inevitably leads to, "writing what?" So, I share the sheepish feeling on a daily basis.

    Not to complain, too much, but this whole thing gets amplified when I run into people I went to high school with. They always ask what I'm up to and I vehemently avoid the writing thing, especially when they tell me that they are heading off to vet school or joining their Uncle's practice. But then one of my friends always inserts the fact that I'm writing and as I give a sideways glare to that friend, I try and explain my books. (These situations do come in handy when you sit down to write a query and realize you may not have had any idea of how to explain it if it weren't for that awkward convo a few weeks before.)

    I keep in mind, that in five, four, okay, I hope two years, that I will be proud about being a writer and excited to share my news of being agented/published.

    Okay, wow, I am a blabbermouth...but since this is an older post, I think fewer people will judge me.