Author Topic: Share your weird or funny "I'm an author" stories and interactions  (Read 4533 times)  

Offline David VanDyke

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I'm especially thinking of weird personal, FTF interactions, conversations when "What do you do?" comes up.

I had a weirdfunny/SMH interaction recently. I was on holiday and in an unfamiliar city. I checked online and found a barber shop with good reviews. I walked in and sat down in the chair of a young guy, mid-twenties probably. As barbers do, right after he asked about how I wanted my hair cut, he asked what I do.

I told him "I'm a full-time author."

He replied, "Okay, but how do you pay the bills?"

After a pause to decide whether to be insulted or not, I asked him "I do it by writing sci-fi books. How do you pay yours?" He couldn't believe I could make a living doing what I did.

Thereafter we ended up in a conversation about Star Wars. Turns out he was a huge Star Wars fan, a super-nerd on that one topic. But he didn't read sci-fi beyond Star Wars novels. He read Star Wars novels because of Star Wars, not because he liked sci-fi. In fact, he never asked me what books I wrote. He didn't care.

I did get a really good haircut, though, so there's that.

« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 03:45:01 PM by David VanDyke »


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Online Puddleduck

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 01:37:34 PM »
Thereafter we ended up in a conversation about Star Wars. Turns out he was a huge Star Wars fan, a super-nerd on that one topic. But he didn't read sci-fi beyond Star Wars novels. He read Star Wars novels because of Star Wars, not because he liked sci-fi. In fact, he never asked me what books I wrote. He didn't care.

Personally, I firmly consider Star Wars to be space fantasy, not sci-fi, so it's not at all surprising that someone would read SW but not general sci-fi. That's funny that he didn't even ask you what books you write. Even when people don't really care, most tend to ask that much to be polite.

I'm still brand new at the whole publishing thing, so still far from being full-time myself, but I've been learning a whole lot the past couple years. Last year some time, I was talking with a friend who's a reader but not any kind of creative person and new nothing about publishing. She had loads of advice about how I should publish. Likewise, once I was describing a story idea to my brother, and while I was still giving a general idea of the fantasy world and hadn't gotten to the MCs or main plot yet, he latched onto one minor part of my worldbuilding, assumed the whole story was about that, further assumed it was a totally different type of book than it was, and rambled on for a while about what a great idea it was and how I should do it (not allowing me a word in edgewise). So yeah, even though I'm still very new at this, I've already learned to pretty much keep my mouth shut about my writing when talking with other people (who aren't writers).

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2018, 03:08:23 PM »
My orthodontist: "So, what do you do for a living?"

Me (after a bracing hesitation, because things always go weird at this point): "I'm an author."

"Wonderful! What do you write?"

"Urban fantasy novels."

"I don't know what that is."

"I write about witches, vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural entities in the modern world."

(Long pause accompanied by funny look.) "Okay... And people read that? Open, please." (Sticks fingers in my mouth.)
  I write urban fantasy.  There are girls in gowns and glowy hands on my covers.

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2018, 03:43:07 PM »
I'm a lunchlady at a middle/high school, and the school librarian is kind enough to keep my clean historical series in the library (she also recommends them!). Recently, a little middle-schooler rushed up to me in the cafeteria, waving one of my books and pointing at my picture on the back.

 "That's YOU!" he shouted. "Did you know your picture is on this? You wrote this book! Did you KNOW you wrote a book?"

 I explained to him that yes, I did indeed know that I had written the book. His response? "But you can't write. You're just a lunchlady."

I decided to take it as a compliment.  ;D

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Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2018, 04:11:32 PM »
I was talking with a friend who's a reader but not any kind of creative person and new nothing about publishing. She had loads of advice about how I should publish.

That reminds me of another part of the barber story. The guy described how to write a book, using the "snowflake" method. But he admittedly had never written a book. Yet, he wanted to tell me how to do it. I didn't want a bad haircut, so I refrained from telling him I'd read once about how to cut hair...

I'm a lunchlady at a middle/high school, and the school librarian is kind enough to keep my clean historical series in the library (she also recommends them!). Recently, a little middle-schooler rushed up to me in the cafeteria, waving one of my books and pointing at my picture on the back.

 "That's YOU!" he shouted. "Did you know your picture is on this? You wrote this book! Did you KNOW you wrote a book?"

 I explained to him that yes, I did indeed know that I had written the book. His response? "But you can't write. You're just a lunchlady."

I decided to take it as a compliment.  ;D

Fabulous.



« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 04:14:58 PM by David VanDyke »


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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 04:31:27 PM »
My day job is in high tech - very high tech - so much so, this digital message has a 99.44% pure chance of traversing technology I have been involved with installing. 

Consequently, my daily interactions are with people who are really, really, good at be technical but not so good at the obvious. 

Eventually, it leaks out that I wrote a few books.   Typical scenario:

You wrote books?

Yes, a few.

What kind?

Science Fiction and Young Adult Sci-Fi.

More than one?

Yes, several.

Hummmph, really?  You wrote books?

Sigh... Yes, I will send you a free copy...

And, so it goes...   I can lead large teams and manage critical infrastructure but it is apparently odd that I can write...


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Offline VirginiaMcClain

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 05:42:18 PM »
Oh man, these are great stories! I'm enjoying this thread so much.

The most ridiculous one that comes to mind for me is the following: This one is extra odd because this is a. someone who is an acquaintance of mine, b. someone who just spent five minutes telling me a ridiculous story about how he knows someone who knows the woman who wrote a movie everyone has heard of (can't remember the name of it right now, and of course, hadn't heard of the writer because I never pay attention to who writes movies--not that I don't respect the hell out of them, I just don't generally care). When I was not suitably impressed by his name dropping he immediately followed with this:

Dude: "So, how's the writing thing going."
Me: "It's going quite well actually."
Dude: "You didn't publish with a publisher though. So you don't get paid."
Me: "Yes, I get paid."
"Who pays you?"
"The people who buy my books."
"And do people buy your books?"
"Yes. Yes they do." *shoots him with mental laser beams because he's always kind of an a$$hole*
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Offline Stevej37334

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 05:59:24 PM »
I've started saying stuff like, "Where's your cellphone? Let me give you the link to my author page." Suddenly it becomes more real when they see it on their own screen. And maybe they will even want to buy with just one click!
 

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2018, 05:59:44 PM »
Good gods, My side hurts! Priceless, but I don't think I will be sharing what I do anytime soon. ;D

The nurses at the hospital think it's cool and read my books, they even sent me an awesome gift basket and a thank you card saying how much they enjoy them, but I haven't really told anyone else but family.


ETA: Did ever I tell you guys about getting caught in the ER talking to myself?
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 06:02:09 PM by Pandorra »
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Offline kathrynoh

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2018, 06:01:38 PM »
I caught an Uber when I was in Kuala Lumpur and the driver asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a writer so he asked what I wrote because he wanted to read it. Since he was an older man, I told him he probably wouldn't be interested because I wrote romance. Turns out the guy is a huge romance fan! When we stopped at the lights, he took a selfie with me because he'd never met a writer before. Next set of lights, he made my find my books on the Amazon app on his phone and he bought a couple.

With the cheap price of Ubers in Malaysia, I came out ahead on that ride, and learned a valuable lesson about making assumptions about readers :)

Offline Rick Partlow

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2018, 06:05:12 PM »
When I went to a CPA to get our taxes done, I was giving our paperwork to the accountant and I'd already told him I was a writer.  When he looked at the 1099 from Amazon, his eyes literally bugged out.  He said "I'm going to have to tell my friend (also a tax accountant) about this...neither of us has ever done the taxes for a writer who actually made any money from it."

Offline Trina Lee

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2018, 07:49:13 PM »
I find that explaining what urban fantasy is to people is one of the most common things I deal with. I get a lot of "So, like Twilight?" Which leads to me trying to tell them what UF is even though they don't really care. 

I did once have an accountant scold me (yeah it was weird and I never went back to her) for earning less than the previous year, like she couldn't understand how many variables play into that. She seemed to think my earnings should be constantly rising or I was doing it wrong.

Strangest interaction was probably when a pastor from my church found out I write and started reading my very 18+ reverse harem urban fantasy. I don't think he made it past the first book. Heheh.
 

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2018, 08:01:22 PM »
I've told it before, but...

I told a friend about what NaNoWriMo was. She got wide-eyed and said, "you mean it takes you writers a whole MONTH to write a book?" As if we were dawdling along at a book per month. Still makes me chuckle.

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2018, 08:10:56 PM »
My day job is in high tech - very high tech - so much so, this digital message has a 99.44% pure chance of traversing technology I have been involved with installing. 

Consequently, my daily interactions are with people who are really, really, good at be technical but not so good at the obvious. 

Eventually, it leaks out that I wrote a few books.   Typical scenario:

You wrote books?

Yes, a few.

What kind?

Science Fiction and Young Adult Sci-Fi.

More than one?

Yes, several.

Hummmph, really?  You wrote books?

Sigh... Yes, I will send you a free copy...

And, so it goes...   I can lead large teams and manage critical infrastructure but it is apparently odd that I can write...

Um this assumption isn't that odd. I worked with a guy that was brilliant. They paid him to think. He had his name on so many patents it wasn't funny. If you had a question or problem you couldn't solve you would go to him and he would solve it. On the other hand he couldn't  find his shoes half the time and they had to pay someone to follow him around and read him his emails.  I never assume that people good at one thing can do another.

Offline Rose Andrews

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2018, 08:12:44 PM »
I caught an Uber when I was in Kuala Lumpur and the driver asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a writer so he asked what I wrote because he wanted to read it. Since he was an older man, I told him he probably wouldn't be interested because I wrote romance. Turns out the guy is a huge romance fan! When we stopped at the lights, he took a selfie with me because he'd never met a writer before. Next set of lights, he made my find my books on the Amazon app on his phone and he bought a couple.

With the cheap price of Ubers in Malaysia, I came out ahead on that ride, and learned a valuable lesson about making assumptions about readers :)
This is amazing! Nice sell!  8)

My funny author story comes from a Christian home group that I used to attend. In a room of about 15 people, the gentleman who ran the group asked what I did for a living. I felt my cheeks get hot remembering the steamy sex scenes in my WIP at the time (lol). I answered that I wrote historical romance with mostly bridal tropes. Someone asked if they were sweet romances and I was like, "Nope. And no one from this group should read them either!"   :-X

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Offline Natasha A. Salnikova

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2018, 08:24:21 PM »
I've been lucky. I've got nothing, but positive responses and lots, lots of book ideas. Everyone has a story worthy of novelizing;)
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Offline jmb3

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2018, 09:27:27 PM »
I've been part of a ladies group for years and there was one woman who never gave me the time of day. Maybe four months after my first book came out and word got around that I'd not only written it but that it was doing pretty well, she sent me a text and wanted to meet for lunch. I thought it was strange that she wanted to connect with me but didn't want to be rude so I met her. Turns out she was an aspiring writer who wanted my advice on self publishing. She then whipped out her laptop right in the middle of the restaurant and made me read her sex scene.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 01:11:42 PM by jmb3 »

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Offline nomesque

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2018, 09:52:27 PM »
On the other side of author conversations:

A couple of months ago, I was at the hospital with a friend who gets regular chemo infusions. We've kind of turned it into our 'thing': meet up at the hospital, buy coffee at the Starbucks in the food court, then sit around for a few hours while the staff get their act together and get the infusion happening.

Her immunology team stopped by, the nurse started the infusion, and my friend checked her messages on her phone. An orderly stopped what he was doing and approached us.

"Hi!" he said. "Do you read books on that thing?"

"Uhh, not at the moment," my friend replied, "I'm legally blind. But usually, yes."

"Ohh, I'm sorry," he said. "I'm an author, that's why I asked."

"Really?" she said, looking a little perturbed. "My friend's an author too!" *pointed to me, with a slight element of 'oh god Naomi, please take over this conversation because I'm confused'*

"Oh wow!" he exclaimed. "Write down the name of it and I'll review it for you! This is mine..." *shows me*

"Oh, thanks," I said. "Uhh... I'll add yours to my wishlist."

... And off he wandered.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 10:49:41 PM by nomesque »

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2018, 11:13:35 PM »
My day job is in high tech - very high tech - so much so, this digital message has a 99.44% pure chance of traversing technology I have been involved with installing. 
...

And, so it goes...   I can lead large teams and manage critical infrastructure but it is apparently odd that I can write...
It's the typical stereotype that if you are good at math and engineering you failed English and there's no way you can write. And those English majors were getting their MRS degree. :P Yep, I'm guilty of snickering with people about the latter having attended an engineering college studying EE and Physics.  :o

Online VanessaC

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2018, 12:20:59 AM »
This is a great thread.

I don't have any "published writer" stories yet.  Looking forward to those.  ;)

I write mostly fantasy and many years ago was out with two friends. One was asking me about my project and quite interested. The other less so - she reads a lot but much more at the literary end of fiction - after listening for a bit she asked "why don't you write real books?"

We're still friends, but I don't talk about my writing with her any more.  :D

Offline ADDavies

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2018, 02:12:59 AM »
With older family members I haven't seen for a while, usually goes like this.

"Oh, you're writing novels now? That's fabulous. You'll have to send me one."
"Sure. They may not be your sort of thing, though. They're quite dark crime stuff."
"Oh, do you think I can't handle a bit of dark stuff?"
"There's swearing and a bit of violence."
"I think it's wonderful you're writing. Do send me it anyway."

*hands over paperback on next visit*

"Oh, wow, this looks like ... a real book. You've done very well haven't you?"

*time passes*

"Thank you for that novel. It was very ... original. Well written. You're really quite good at this."
"Thanks, I'm glad you liked it."

*awkward pause*

"About the swearing, though..."

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Online Pandorra

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2018, 02:37:44 AM »
With older family members I haven't seen for a while, usually goes like this.

"Oh, you're writing novels now? That's fabulous. You'll have to send me one."
"Sure. They may not be your sort of thing, though. They're quite dark crime stuff."
"Oh, do you think I can't handle a bit of dark stuff?"
"There's swearing and a bit of violence."
"I think it's wonderful you're writing. Do send me it anyway."

*hands over paperback on next visit*

"Oh, wow, this looks like ... a real book. You've done very well haven't you?"

*time passes*

"Thank you for that novel. It was very ... original. Well written. You're really quite good at this."
"Thanks, I'm glad you liked it."

*awkward pause*

"About the swearing, though..."
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Offline dgaughran

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2018, 04:46:06 AM »
I was living in a hostel in Brazil when writing my first book and I started talking to a girl who asked me what I did for a living, and I told her I was a writer. She mustn't have understood my accent because we were about 7 weird follow-up questions into the conversation when she said "Aren't you a little tall for a jockey?"

At that point I realized she had heard RIDER but it was way too late to 'fess up so I just leaned into it and made up the best damn information about the life of a weirdly tall jockey that I could muster.
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Offline jb1111

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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2018, 04:57:27 AM »
The few people I've told -- it goes in one ear and out the other.

I don't mention my sales numbers, which aren't high enough to impress the big rollers here, but are high enough to prove that I know what I'm doing, but I don't think that would make a difference.

The notion of being an author in the internet age doesn't have the same luster it probably had in the pre-internet age.

When half the people who have a twitter or other social media page or blog already think they are some sort of celebrity, it diminishes the esteem that they may hold for people they haven't seen on TV or in a major story on some frequented news or infotainment site. Some people may have more twitter or instagram followers, or FB friends, than many people here have readers.

The more tech savvy people also are quite aware of internet publishing, so perhaps to them it's just another thing people do. "Oh, so you do that too!" My second cousin just ePubbed a book, and I think one of her brothers did also. It's a more popular pastime than many of us think.


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Re: Share your weird "I'm an author" stories and interactions
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2018, 05:00:41 AM »
With older family members I haven't seen for a while, usually goes like this.

"Oh, you're writing novels now? That's fabulous. You'll have to send me one."
"Sure. They may not be your sort of thing, though. They're quite dark crime stuff."
"Oh, do you think I can't handle a bit of dark stuff?"
"There's swearing and a bit of violence."
"I think it's wonderful you're writing. Do send me it anyway."

*hands over paperback on next visit*

"Oh, wow, this looks like ... a real book. You've done very well haven't you?"

*time passes*

"Thank you for that novel. It was very ... original. Well written. You're really quite good at this."
"Thanks, I'm glad you liked it."

*awkward pause*

"About the swearing, though..."
Haha! My mom asked me why I had to kill one of the main characters off in one of my stories. She hasn't said anything yet about the sex scene in my novel!  :o

I'm fortunate to have very supportive family and friends. Even the medical people who ask are enthusiastic about me being an author. So far, no negativity or weird stories.