Working Stiffs welcomes guest blogger Krista Davis today!
by Krista Davis
When my agent called with the good news of my sale, many of my writing friends were genuinely overjoyed for me. After all, I had worked toward that goal for many years. I wasn’t a newcomer who got lucky with a first manuscript. I had been through the drill with three agents, many manuscripts, plenty of rejections, and wrenching self-doubts.
But after the sale, all sorts of exciting things happened -- discussions about titles and covers and marketing. I got to say “my agent” and “my editor” in sentences that weren’t just imaginary. And there soon came a point when I wondered how much I could really say to my friends who were trying so hard to be published. Did they grit their teeth every time I mentioned the book? Was I rubbing salt in their unpublished wounds?
I had heard my share of complaints from authors before I was under contract. After all, a contract doesn’t mean life will be perfect. It’s another step forward, a major step, but sometimes things don’t work out the way one hopes. I remember all too well the reaction of the unpublished to the whining of the published. How dare a published author complain? After all, she won the brass ring.
On a listserv the other day, someone introduced herself and mentioned that she didn’t “crow about her writing.” I have no way of knowing if that little barb was aimed at me. I hope not. But even if it was, I’m not offended. It prompted me to sit back and consider my posts. I would hate to be the annoying one. It reminded me of a new author who bombarded other writers with announcements every time her book burped. Making matters worse, she cross-posted so extensively that we found identical announcements in our mailboxes five and six times since we belonged to a lot of the same groups. I’ve tried very hard not to pummel my friends with posts about me, me, me.
Now reviews have begun to come in. Some wonderful, some delightful, some okay. None too terrible -- so far -- knock wood. I’m also getting fun feedback about the book. And where do I go to share my news? To my friends who aren’t writers. Ironically, while they’re very happy for me, their enthusiasm is often followed by the question “and what does that mean exactly?”
I worry that my old pals think I’m being oddly silent. But will they think I’m complaining if I express disappointment about something? Is it crowing to share good news? Do they cringe when they read the words “my editor”? When does an author cross the line? How much do the not-yet-published want to hear about a friend’s book when they’re mired in a search for agents who seem as elusive as Bigfoot?
It’s a tough call to know when your not-yet-published buddies have had about enough of you and your books. My critique partners have instructions to clobber me if I become annoying. I hope they do.
Krista Davis is the author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries. The first in the series, THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME, has just been released by Berkley.