This week, I sat down with some friends and we talked about stuff. We hadn’t done that in a while, so it was good. Until we got to that part where one guy, who I didn’t know so well, asked, “Why don’t you just get your books published by NY? I mean–how hard can it be?”
It took a lot for me not to reach across the table and answer him like this…
Luckily, I remained calm and put it to him this way. “Gee, I don’t know. Maybe I should just call someone up and demand the JK Rowling contract.”
“Yeah, why not?”
I shook my head because Jacked-Up-the-Ass wasn’t getting it. “It took me longer to get my first book published than it did for me to earn my bachelors degree and that was with an e-pub. It’ll be nine years in May since I’ve started on this writing journey. During that time, I also earned a masters degree and that was with a two-year hiatus in between. I’ve finished my education in eight years and I’ve been writing for nine. So, name withheld to protect the innocent, at this rate, do you think it’s easier for me to earn a PhD or to break into NY, especially since they have these four-five-six-figure contracts just lying around collecting dust?”
His reply: “Oh. Okay.”
One of my biggest pet-peeves is when someone who doesn’t understand the business enough to know that I can’t just pick up a NY contract like I would my dry cleaning. It doesn’t work like and the asker is bound to get hurt before he/she will get an answer. Those of us who’ve been in this business a long time know how it works. Telling me I’m doing it wrong or wasting my time by sending query letters when I should fly to NY and meet with an editor in person to pitch my story will only get me arrested, banned, or locked away in a padded cell.
We writers know what we’re doing. Trust us. I don’t tell a mechanic how to fix my car, so I don’t like it when a someone who doesn’t have a clue about publishing tells me how I should go about landing a NY contract. In fact, I’m keeping a list of names in case I become a NY Time Bestselling author some day. I want to make sure I don’t thank the clueless people for my success. In fact, I’m looking for disavowing any knowledge of their existence.
How do you respond to people who act like they have the answer when, in fact, they don’t have a a freakin’ clue?