11 August 2014

I Thought I had a Thick Skin

I’ve debated blogging about this, because it got under my skin. Or through my thick skin, either way, this experience really made me angry.

Now don’t get me wrong, I get mad at stuff all the time. I don’t have a particularly legendary temper or anything like that, but between my OCD and common sense, I tend to get irked over, shall we say, little things.

I’ve been writing for something like ten years. I lost count a long time ago and have never bothered to really figure it out. Or if I did, I put it in a blog post and forgot about it. If you find it for me, you get a prize! Maybe.

Anyway, I digress, back to the thick skin. I’ve been writing for a long time, and I’ve been through some really tough critiques, both amateur and professional. There is a decent pile of rejection letters from publishers and agents somewhere in my house, and I’ve spent a ton of money on writing conferences and workshops. So I’m not a rookie.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a little writing workshop. The information was fantastic and the people there were great. I learned a lot and would have glowing reviews to tell you about, if not for one thing.

I got up the nerve to go talk to a librarian.

In general, I have no qualm with librarians, they’re awesome people who helped me find all sorts of great books as a kid. They work hard and know things that not even Google can find. Am I right?

This woman has her debut novel coming out early next year, which is great. I figured we could chat because we’re both authors. I figured we could talk shop. So I walked over and asked if I could ask her a few questions about librarians and books. We chatted for a few minutes, and I asked her the best way to get your book into libraries. She’d already said that they usually carry local authors, so I figured I was on safe ground.

Nope. Not really. She became a little closed off and asked who my publisher was.

Let me break in here and say that yes, my novel, New Sight, came out through a small publisher. To make a long story short, it felt right to me like only a few things before in my life have. Done.

Well, this woman’s face literally went from a friendly expression into a condescending sneer. She looked down her nose at me (she’s tall, I’m short) and said, “I’m wary of small publishers. You can bring me an Advanced Reader Copy and I will try to look it over.”

Her reaction totally turned me off. Good thing the meat of the workshop was over, because I let that boil in my head for about an hour before I left.

Everyone else in the industry that I’ve spoken to or gotten to know is happy that I have a book published. Two books, if you count Babes in Spyland.  This is probably an isolated incident, and I probably caught her on a bad day, but seriously, who is she to scorn me for the route I’ve chosen for my novel?

Grrr…I’m still a little worked up about it. I can take criticism for my writing—believe me, it’s far from perfect—and I love it when people give me helpful advise. But I have never before been looked at like a second class citizen.

I’m still not sure what to make of it or do about it. Do I send her a copy of my book? Do I forget the whole thing?

Well, I do have one plan, write a kick a** book that blows hers out of the water. Er, I mean, I’ll write the best story I know how. And maybe shoot her a dirty look at some point when I have a movie deal and she doesn’t.

See, I feel bad even saying that, because as a fellow author, I want her to succeed. Curse my mother for teaching me manners.


Tohru said...

I vote that her little library doesn't deserve your awesome book. And she wants an ARC--a freebie for her library. Whatever.

Stacey said...

This "Miss Librarian" will find that what goes around, comes around. You are very awesome person with great talent! I need to get your books with your signature too! Keep up your great work!

Anthony Dutson said...

Wow! It looks like you found a literature snob. I'd ignore her little 'slice of paradise' like the plague if you can. A good story is a good regardless of its path to publication.

And I've never met another author who was instantly dismissmissive of someone's work. They're always supportive. Well... I have met one jerk, but he picked his nose and ate it, so his opinion didn't carry much weight.

Write on!