Subscribe to Letters from Valentina Hepburn and be entered into a monthly draw

Friday, 20 May 2016

Don't Invite Me to Your Party... Pleeeease!

I went to a party last week. The truth is, I didn't want to go. I really didn't want to go. Don't get me wrong, there are certain things I like to do in a social sense. The informal lunch, a trip down The Thames with a friend, family get-togethers, a night in the pub, y'know the sort of thing. But parties? Not really.

I've always had an ambivalent attitude towards them. I was never completely mad about them. It was okay when I was young. Then, I was happy to be the centre of attention, and drank enough to conveniently forget about some of the things I did at said parties, which was probably just as well. Unfortunately, much of the attention I receive now is due to the fact that I write.

You might think this would be a good thing, a conversation starter, an interesting discussion. It isn't. Here is a list of the questions and comments I receive on a regular basis (some by the same person at different times) at social gatherings.

The main one...'So, I hear you write.'
Then... 'How long have you been writing?' So far so good.
Then the coup de grace, very early on... 'Who's your publisher?' It's downhill from then on in because the fact that I self-publish is seen as the green light to ask any question, no matter how intrusive.  
'So, you're self-published. How does that work?'
Then, and I guarantee this is where it gets interesting...'How much money are you making?'  

In the world I inhabit asking someone how much they earn is a no-no, so maybe someone can tell me why it's okay for a person to ask me how much money I make from my writing. My stock answer is, 'Enough to keep me happy.' I would like to make it clear here that I don't write because of the financial rewards, in fact, most people I know who are passionate about writing don't do it for that reason because most writers don't make a living from it. It's a nice bonus when it happens. This is just how I view it.  

Then...'What's your book about?' Fair question.
'I don't read fantasy, or contemporary fiction. You should write a Western. I've heard it's the next big thing.' S'pose it might be.
'Maybe you should write something like Fifty Shades of Grey. You might have more luck.'
'I've been thinking of writing a book' or... 'I'm writing a book.' Tells me about book which is fine. Then.
'D'you think it will sell?'
'If I write it will you edit it for me?' (They mean for free.)
'Do you make your own e-books?'
'If I write my book will you do mine for me because, honestly, (there's usually a little laugh here) I don't have a clue about computers.' Not that I'm in any danger here because this has been said many times to me and it's never actually happened.
'Do you do your own covers?'
'Could you do mine?'

I kid you not, all of the above has been said to me at one time or another, usually at someone's party/barbecue. Please understand, I like helping people, really I do, in fact I'm known for it, but sometimes...sometimes I just want to tell people to take a long run off a short pier.
D'you know what I mean?

Lots of love
Valentina xxx



Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Lol. I know what you mean. My fav is not when they ask how much $$ I make, but they assume I'm a rich person who will invest in them. I have a standard answer now, "You should write! Good for you!" And "I have no expectations, so everything I do or make is nice." And I smile, change the subject to something fun-- for that I usually wear a Ravenclaw sweater or scarf and divert their attention to another story.

Valentina Hepburn said...

A Ravenclaw sweater? Need to get me one of those.

Linda said...

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.

Miranda said...

Blog gave us useful information to work. You have done an amazing job.

The Blogettes