“So you’re a writer…?”
Most authors have had this response: one of the worst things someone can say upon discovering you’re a writer – “Lovely. So what’s your pen-name?”
The sub-text, of course (sub-text? Hell, it’s the text), is that they clearly don’t recognise your name so you either write under another name or you’re just a bit crap.
But still… at least there was a bit of cachet about being a writer: the listener expected to be impressed. (To digress, one of the very worst responses I had was a swift follow-up to the pen-name question: “So what kind of things do you write?” When I mentioned science fiction, the response shifted abruptly from hugely impressed to a complete change of subject. She might just as well have said, “So not a real writer, then?”)
Recently, I’ve noticed a new reaction when someone hears you have a book out. It’s no longer…
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