Let’s do some word association. I say a word, and you blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?
Did you think “Dog” or picture a certain breed of cat or get a general impression of whiskers and playfulness?
Ready for another?
Did you think “Elephant” or picture this guy?
Or maybe this adorable crew?
Here’s another. Ready?
Did you picture this:
Or a successful gentlewoman in a business suit at a signing where her adoring fans gush over her latest release?
Um, probably not, if you’re like most non-writer folks I’ve chatted with about the writing biz. And that’s okay! We are a hard lot to pigeonhole.
Waaaaayyy back in 2008, when I started writing seriously, I began introducing myself as an “Author.” Capital A. Yes, I thought I was important. What I was doing was rare and interesting, and surely new people I met would agree.
Cue the uncontrollable laughter:
Over the years I have learned. Oh, have I learned.
You see, I never—and I do mean never—got the reaction I expected/hoped for/craved, which is this:
Just for fun, I conducted an informal poll. I posed the following question to my friends here on Hearts Through Time and some other writer friends: What are some common reactions you get from people when you tell them you write romance?
Their answers might not be what you expect. (I included their FB page links so you can get to know them off-blog too!
Here’s what they shared:
“How does your husband feel about that?”
“Do you write from experience?”
Or… When hubby and I are together, I’ve gotten this one “so, I bet you practice a lot of what you write.”
“You’re talented, you should write a real book some day”
“If you ever want to try out positions…”
“Where can I buy your books? Online. Oh!…” in that dismissive tone because clearly I’m “self-published”
My worst reaction is when they say nothing at all…
I usually get that silent stare, something like you’d get if you told them you rob banks or film porn for a living. Then “oh… romance, huh?”
“Oh, you write THOSE kind of books.” And then there’s the – “I don’t have time to read. “ Or “I only read thrillers.”
“When are you going to have a book in the bookstore. You know, a real book.”
“Romance?? Does anybody read those?”
“But what do you actually do all day?”
“You mean, like Fifty Shades of Grey?”
“Do the sex scenes come from your real life?”
“Oh, so you write smut?”
“Oh, I thought your mom said you were writing children’s books.”
“Oh, are you going to get it published?”
“Heh-heh-heh bodice rippers, eh? Is your husband inspiration? Heh-heh-heh”
“I’ve always wanted to write a book.” (Said like it’s easy somehow to write a book.)
“It’s lady porn, right?”
“So, like what? Fifty Shades of Gray?”
I’ve had a few derogatory comments, but most people are still wowed with the idea of writing books – no matter the genre.
Here is the most common reaction – “What is that like?” with a facial expression much like:
We authors are often left feeling a bit like this when people react to what we do:
But the most important opinions are the ones we get from our readers. Thank you, dear readers, for your encouraging notes, honest reviews, and for buying our books! We couldn’t do this without you, and each and every one of you are appreciated!
Thank you, everyone who responded to my survey!
I hope you had fun reading the results! Leave a comment below. Add to the results if you’re a writer, or let me know if some of these responses surprise you!
Jessi Gage Bio:
USA Today Bestselling Author Jessi Gage is addicted to happy-ever-after endings. She counts herself blessed because she gets to live her own HEA with her husband and children in the Seattle area.
Jessi has the attention span of a gnat…unless there is a romance novel in her hands. In that case, you might need a bullhorn to get her to notice you. She writes what she loves to read: stories about love.
Use the contact page on jessigage.com and drop her a line. There is no better motivation to finish her latest writing project than a note from a happy reader! While you’re visiting her website, sign up for Jessi’s newsletter so you never miss a new release.
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