Some feign interest or offer ‘helpful’ advice on how I can ‘get published’; ignoring the fact that I’m already published.
Others behave like I just announced that I have a contagious disease, or want to talk to them about Jesus, or interest them in multi-level marketing. I can almost hear them pleading with me in their minds not to ask them to read or buy anything.
Those ones are easier to deal with.
What I most dread hearing is, “You’re a writer? Well I have a story for you. We need to sit down and work on something together. You should write my life story. We can even split the profits. We’ll both get rich.”
Um, no. And… NO!
I’m sure your life story is fascinating, as is mine and a million other people out there. It doesn’t mean I want to write it for you. And turning it into a book doesn’t make it an automatic bestseller. There are billions of books out there, and only a comparative handful that are household names.
Most people have no inkling of what goes into writing a memoir. I’m not going to come to your house and transcribe while you talk, box of tissue at your side for the difficult parts. Then I’ll turn it into a literary masterpiece the likes of which the world has never seen and publishers will beat down our doors with big fat checks.
This isn’t Hollywood, and that isn’t how it works. Oh, sure, celebrities do it all the time – they get a ghostwriter to tell their stories in book form. Those writers are well paid for their efforts. Publishers snatch them up because of the name attached, not the story inside.
Many times I have had to, as tactfully as possible, explain that I am not that type of writer. I write fiction, not biographies. I have no shortage of ideas. What I’m short of is time to get all of my ideas written down in this lifetime.
My advice to those who have a story to tell is, tell it. Write it down, even if you’re not a writer. Once you have it on paper, then you can hire a writer to transform it into what you want. You can self-publish it. But first, you have to do the work. Provide your writer with something to work on, and then choose the right writer for the job. Expecting a horror fiction author to transform your sensitive memories into a heart-touching non-fiction book is unrealistic.