Some Things I Have Heard

Sometimes I wonder where the line between the truth and another’s feelings should be. Here are a few things that have been said to me about my work. My response or thought, follows.

1. I’ll never let my children read your book. The kids in there are too naughty.

Steve said, after I told him this, ‘She didn’t have a lot of faith in her parenting, did she?’

2. Oh. Contemporary.

Yup. Just dumb, old, sad sack, someone dies and is nekkid, contemporary.

3. That’s what I hate about people like you who say they don’t like fantasy. You just don’t know what you’re talking about.

IĀ  considered standing up to this person as this was said in a public place, in front of lots of my friends. But I let it go.

4. I’m not one of these [unpublished] people. My book is the lead title.

For me, humility is pretty important. Being an ass won’t keep you from being popular and rich, but I won’t like you. And neither will some of your contemporaries (who write fantasy! Hahahaha!).

5. You write rated R books.

I do?

(I actually liked this, it came from Steve. Still, I was surprised at first because I don’t watch R-rated movies.)

6. Why did you curse in this book?

Uhhhhh. Sorry fifth-grade kid. Ummmmm. ‘It’s life?’

7. I’m just worried you are selling your soul to the devil for money and popularity.

Well, then, my soul is worth pennies on the dollar compared to other people’s souls.

8. Children’s and young adult writing aren’t taken seriously in academia.

Then how do you expect people, who don’t read as children, to read as adults? As far as I’m concerned, we have the most important job of all, no matter what our degrees are.

9. Do you think you’ll ever write for adults?

Only if adults want a story with a main character who sounds twelve.

10. I like so-and-so’s work better than yours.

Okaaaay.

11. I know she’s sitting right over there, but will you sign Louise Plummer’s book for me?

‘Yup!’

I will have you all know that I did sign Louise’s book. With my own name. šŸ™‚ Just as the reader asked me to.

12. At ALA a reader came up to me and told me everything I had done wrong in my book, GLIMPSE. She then compared me to a more popular writer of verse-type novels, telling me this other person was a better writer and etc than me.

Laura and Kyra were with me and tracked the girl down. They wanted to beat her up. We argued about it in front of MT Anderson.

13. “I guess you can sign it.” From a young lady who won my book and didn’t want it.

I don’t have to sign it for you.

These are just a fraction of the comments I have gotten. I’m not sure why people feel the need to help us along in these odd ways. And yes, some are funny, but others are painful. And it’s not always from children. Mostly the comments come from unthinking, unkind, educated adults. Sometimes the comments come my fellow writers.

Do they think because we have published a book, we no longer have feelings?

The truth is, most writers are MORE in tune with their feelings than the average bear. Just rewriting these things causes a bit of sting.

There are all kinds of ways to tell someone something about who they are or what they have written. I may not like your book, but you will never know.

Here’s something funny to end on.

I was doing a signing for THE CHOSEN ONE (you have to have read the book to get this).

A long line of librarians waited for me to sign their copies. It was so great, talking to all these men and women.

One came up, clutched the book to her chest and said, “I drive the book mobile as my job. I can’t wait to read this novel.”

I just smiled at her.

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13 Comments

Filed under Agents, CLW, Life, Publication

13 responses to “Some Things I Have Heard

  1. Hahaha–the book mobile. I wish you could have followed up with her after she read it.

    People can be so mean. And stupid. I’m afraid of both types. šŸ˜¦

  2. Amy

    Here is a comment to add to, hopefully, a different list:

    You once told me, “Oh Amy, you aren’t just a reader. You are a writer.”
    I don’t remember if you put it into words at the time, or if my imagining has created this added dialogue, but I always add to the above . . .
    “You just don’t know it yet.”

    Now . . . I write, how could I not?

    I don’t know that it would have ever happened without those comments–from you.

    I hope that evens the scale a little bit.
    Hugs.

  3. thank you for writing for children and inspiring so many of us as to it’s importance and relevance. i love your honesty. i love your characters. i love your talented way of bringing them to life and thus changing mine. and i can’t wait for the day i can read them with my girls, and i love that through your stories they can experience things that will help them be more compassionate and understanding women.

    and thanks for reminding me that i need to pay attention to my words. i am appalled at what people have said to you, but then i wonder what i’ve said to others without thinking. for me, the unthinking comments come out especially with my husband – the person who should hear them the least.

    catching up on blog reading and i’m realizing once again why i love your blog so much. šŸ˜€

  4. Every time I pick up one of your books I can’t put it down until the last page. I just read “Miles from Ordinary”, finally, and was so amazed that a trip to the library and back held so much, and revealed so much about Lacey. I loved this character and wanted to know she was going to be okay. I guess people have different perspectives, but it is certainly a lesson in how to handle those perspectives. Our words can be hurtful.

  5. I can’t wait for my children to read your books. There.

  6. sueburton

    “Iā€™m not sure why people feel the need to help us along in these odd ways.”

    Ummm, we are all here to help each other??? Ha ha.

    Honestly, I fear even the slightest success for that reason. People tell me, “Authors need to have tough skins.” I think I have a tough one, but it’s many tender layers down.

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