The other day someone I didn’t know was aware of my writing asked about my books sales. I just kind of laughed, acted as humble as possible, and mumbled something like, “I haven’t really heard anything yet.”
But really, two thoughts popped in my head when she asked about it.
The first was “Well, let’s see…the copies I bought, plus zero, equals…the copies I bought.” That is totally not the way I should be looking at things, by the way, but we’ll have more on that later.
The second thought was a little more abstract. It was more of a feeling than a thought, I suppose. If you’re a writer, you know exactly what that feeling is too. You don’t want to come across as smug, bragging, or whatever, so unless you’re talking to someone who you know for certain is interested in your writing, you just don’t say to much.
When I first started writing, I almost went out of my way to hide it from anyone who wasn’t either a) married to me or b) already writing fiction on their own. In fact, I didn’t even mention it around other people until I scored my first anthology acceptance. Even today, outside of the virtual world of the internet, I rarely feel comfortable talking about writing to anyone unless they bring it up first.
I can talk to other writers all day long, but when it comes to people who don’t write (I think the successful authors call these people “fans”) I stutter and stammer like I’m in high school talking to a girl I like.
Anyhow, I wonder why it is that we (as in people who try to write fiction) shy away from the attention we get from people don’t write. We really shouldn’t. I’m not saying you should grab a set of cymbals and run up and down the street proclaiming that you’re working on a novel, but if someone asks, it means they’re interested. And that means we (collectively, but especially me) should be more willing to talk about the hobby we hope to one day turn into a career.
Every person who shows interest is doing it with well intentions. It could be they’re also a writer and want to share some commiseration/inspiration. Could be they’re not currently writing, but are thinking about it. Could by they like to read and want to see your work. Or even buy your books.
So when the opportunity comes to talk about your writing from unexpected places, don’t shy away from it. Embrace it. Be grateful that you’ve got another person interested. Talk a little about your book. Ask them about there’s, if they’ve got one. And don’t be afraid to self-promote at bit.
Writing is a big part of who you are, right? If not, then you should find something else to do.