Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | June 14, 2012

Handling the Nay Sayers by Gerri Brousseau

It seems when you tell someone you are a romance writer, you still hear snickering.  Then start the comments and questions, such as: “If you ever need any research for your love scenes, I’m your man” (I’m thinking “in your dreams, jerk”) or you may get, “Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?” or “Do you think you will actually ever get published” or “Get your head out of the clouds and get a real job.” or “Don’t you ever get tired of sitting all day and writing make-believe?” and the best one, “Do you really think you would ever make enough money to replace your “day job” by writing books?”

When someone snickers about me being a romance writer, my inner goddess smiles because I know the person I’m speaking to is not educated in the current market trends.  The person doesn’t know that romance novels sell more than any other genre.  I generally find the person making fun of the romance genre often times is not a reader and has never even read a romance novel.

I don’t mind answering questions about where my ideas come from, because way back in the day before I ever dreamed I would be a novelist, I asked the same question of Stephen King, and he was kind enough to take the time to give me an answer.

I don’t mind explaining that writing is my real job and although I’m only a debut author, I do expect that one day I will be able to support myself financially from the income my writing career provides.  My answer to the folks asking this question is, “Do you think Stephen King or Nora Roberts have day jobs?”  I ignore them and keep writing because success is the best revenge.

I never get tired of sitting all day and writing make-believe.  Personally, I love having my head in the clouds, creating worlds of romance with happily ever after endings, because life generally doesn’t give you that.  I love writing about two people being swept off their feet by a love so strong nothing could stand in their way.

When people ask me what I hate about being a writer, I have to say … nothing.  I love everything about it.  I don’t even mind the rejection letters.  Every published author has gotten rejections, so I am in good company.  I just look at those letters and say to myself, “One day when they are making my NYT best-selling book into a movie, you will be sorry you didn’t say yes.”  Yes, I believe big.  I shoot for the moon … because even if I missed my goal, I would still land among the stars, and that’s a pretty good place to be.

How do you handle the Nay Sayers?

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Responses

  1. Yeah, some people at the university just give me that sidelong, embarrassed smile, obviously showing me that they believe I will never make it. They don’t even care, which is fine by me. When they do ask me questions, it’s always with a fair helping of snark. Fuck ‘em.

    • I was quick to disassociate myself with negative people and to just keep writing. I found a writers group and joined in with like minded people and this has helped me a great deal. I think it’s fair to say I would not be having two books published later this year if it weren’t for my association with the group. Thanks for your comment and KEEP ON WRITING.

  2. I’m reading Janet Evanovich’s book on writing again. Where she says in th first line, “When people ask what you do, tell them you’re a writer. Put yourself on the line. Make a commitment.”

    I hate it when people say all the things you wrote and more. I quit telling people. In my case I’m self published which is worse, “Have you been published?” Somehow telling them yes, by me, never satisfies anyone.

    Romance is a great genre and it’s the one that never goes out of style even in times as these. I wrote a cozy mystery with senior citizen characters, but it’s a hard sell. This time around I’m writing romance, but not for any other reason than it’s what I feel compelled to write at the moment. I agree that women do want to read a good romance as most of us have never experienced a true one in our lives.

    Good luck and keep on keeping on.

    Madison

    • Thanks for commenting, Madison. I think if you feel compelled to write romance … write it. I believe women crave it and I also believe sex sells … as evidenced by 50 Shades of Grey. Keep writing. When someone asks if you are published, say yes. No need to say self published. Say yes and my books are available at Amazon and B&N … you need not say anything more. In fact, a friend of mine is self published and has replaced her full time income with her book sales.

  3. I have to say, Gerri, that I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone give me the stinkeye when I revealed that I was a writer. And I’m passionate enough about what I’m doing (the writing itself, the networking/friendships, the learning about the craft and business) that I think that passion comes through when I am talking to people about what I love. There is that mystique about writers, no matter the genre, that captivates the uninitiated. Or maybe I’m just hanging around with the right people these days! The slight exception here is my dear husband, who is supportive but has an underlying “show me the money” attitude :) My advice on handling naysayers would be to simply say, “I’m a writer, and I love what I do!” Because most people are NOT doing what they love to do, or what they dream of doing. Very thought-provoking post, Gerri. Thanks.

    • Thanks Suze. I have to admit, I got more stinkeye when I was working. Now that I’m no longer attached to the ol’ ball & chain of a job, things are different. CTRWA helped a lot too because we are all like minded. I do say I am a writer and I honestly do love what I do. I thank God daily for bringing me to this path.

  4. I would give anything to be able to write all day long. :)

    I know what you mean about people snickering though. I went to the orthpedics last month and the doctor actually said, “OH, you write sexy books! I’ll make sure I buy it.”

    I left smiling because he was so wrong. Romance books are not always “sexy” books. There is a wide spectrum. I hope he got my book, Real Virtue! :) He’s in for a treat if he did.

    • He sure is in for a treat. That’s ok, Katy … let them snicker all they want … we are getting paid to do something we love to do (probably unlike them) and we are laughing all the way to the bank!


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