For the most part, people are really awesome and they appreciate that you're a writer. However, there are always those times you want to punch someone for saying certain things, so I decided to make this slightly salty post.
1. "I don't read."
Okay, good for you. I really don't understand why people feel the need to brag about this fact--even more so when you tell them you're a writer. It's like you're telling them you're a baker and they hate cake. I just don't get it.
2. "I wish I had time to write."
Yeah, me fucking too.
In all seriousness, you most likely do have the time to write. You just have to sacrifice some things like with anything else you want to do. Cut out drinks with friends or surfing the internet for hours on end. It gets easier the more you get used to writing as an aspect of your life rather than just something you want to one day do.
3. "Can I get a free copy of your book(s)?"
No. Unless you win it or it's your birthday and I forgot to get you a present, nope. You don't go to a book signing and ask an author for a free book, right? Here's the thing: writers make their income (at least part of it) off of their writing. It isn't just writers who face people asking them for art for nothing or "exposure" or some other bullshit reason. If you want to show an author, artist, musicain, etc. how much you appreciate their work, how about ensuring they can feed and clothe themselves?
4. "You know, publishing is dying. You wasted your college career on a degree that doesn't matter."
This is usually from someone who knows absolutely nothing about the writing community or writing as a career. Publishing, if anything, is being reincarnated as an even more awesome version of itself. More and more readers are picking up indie books over traditional because of the accessibility and frequency of how many books are released in a year. If anything, it can be more lucrative to certain authors and certain books than if they were only able to put out a book every year or so with traditional publishing. And if you're a writer, taking matters into your own hands is the ultimate freedom.
5. "Writers don't make money."
Yeah, so buy my fucking books.
I joke (but no, really, you might like my books and I need to keep buying tea). You are absolutely right. Most of us don't make a lot of money if any money at all. It might be hard for the person saying this to grasp (since they probably don't read either) but get this: the majority of us don't write to make money. We write because we love writing and sharing our work with the world. Not every measure of success is based off of money, so fuck off.
Also, a lot of writers do make a shit ton of money. So fuck off.
6. "Can you write my book for me?"
Uh...can you be my personal chef and pay my bills and clean my house for me? 'Cause I barely have time for all the books I have churning around in my head--seriously, as soon as I'm even partway into one idea/book, up pops another wanting my attention. I wish I was a ghostwriter. I would LOVE to be paid them Dan Brown dollars. However, I think I would slowly go insane if I started making more time for books that weren't mine when I already edit them as my day job.
7. "Will you write my biography, book description, will, obituary?"
Same thing here. Only, since it's shorter than asking for a novel, people think you're being rude when you say no. Listen, if you want to pay me for it, sure. Honestly, I'll do it for the money. The thing is that most people who have asked me these things expect it of me. "You're a writer so you should write this." Yeah, and you're a nurse so you should pick up my prescriptions and you're a painter so you should paint my house. It's the same principle as people asking you for free books. Writers get paid to write. If I'm writing you something for you, it's because I care about you and want to do something nice. Don't expect this of someone just because they have a skill that you don't.
8. "I found a typo in your book."
Listen, writers are not infallible. Editors also, are not infallible. Chances are, they are far more aware of typos and mistakes in their published books than any one else. I know I am. There are famous authors who have typos in their published books (I mean, have you read Twilight? And that shit is an international bestseller). I think it's focused on more in the indie community because people automatically assume you didn't have an editor, but it's usually the opposite. You're just being more of a knit-picker because you saw that I wasn't with a publishing house and you want to start shit. Stahp.
9. "I'll review your book for $50.00 or your first born. Oh, and I only read print copies."
This one seems to be fairly new to me. A few bloggers have the usual guidelines of what they like to read, how they review, etc. on their site and then when you email them they say they'd love to review it but they only read paperbacks or want to be compensated in some way. I can kind of see where they're coming from in that they want to make a little money off of their hard work, but if I paid everyone for my reviews (with money or books), I wouldn't know they were authentic and neither would anyone else.
10. "You should write books about..."
I don't write kids books for example. If I did, they would be real fucked up and I would probably get into a lot of trouble with parents asking why their children are crying. Different writers have different strengths and preferences for their subject matter. You wouldn't ask Stephen King to write a teen drama, would you? "Writer" isn't a blanket statement that means "I write anything".
11. "Are you ever getting a real job?"
THIS. IS. MY. JOB.
12. "What publisher are you with? Oh, you publish yourself? Wow, I wish I had a hobby like that!"
Yes, writing starts out as a hobby. The difference between the writer who writes as a hobby and one who writes as a career is that it takes WORK. I can't throw up my hands and say screw it when I don't want to write. I can't blow it off and go out for drinks at the end of a long day. We put in the time (lots and lots of time) and then we put in even more to publish it ourselves and get the word out. It most definitely is more than a hobby.
13. "Writing must be such a fun job!"
On most days, yes, writing is amazing, fun, and fulfilling. On a lot of days, when you have a million and one real life things going on, it's a looming thing in the background demanding to be noticed. It takes care and it takes research. It takes reading, proofing, more research, and revising. I love writing more than anything else in my life, but I'll be the first to admit it can be a pain in the ass when I have other shit that needs to get done. People tend to look at authors like they get to pet puppies or pick flowers all day but it just isn't always like that.
14. "Can you get me groceries/come over/walk my cat since you're home all day anyway?"
To elaborate, NO.
Yes, I am home. No, I am not available. Let's put it this way: you work at a pet store. I would never call you at work and ask that you drop everything to bring me a hamster, now would I? It sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn't it? Yeah. That's 'cause it is.
15. "I've never heard of you."
A few people have said this to me in a way that was supposed to insult me. "Well, I'VE never heard of you so you can't be THAT good of a writer."
There are millions of books out there with millions of writers. There is no possible way you can hear of every single one of them. The authors who are well known are just a small portion of the amazing things there are to read out there. I'm not offended. Honestly, it's just reality. But to say it in a way that is meant to tell me how much you don't CARE that you've never heard of me is just plain rude and you can eat it. ;)