I know you’ve been down in the trenches for years now, churning out novel after novel, researching agents and publishers, editing until your fingers bleed, but I’ll bet you still have a lot of people in your life that think this is just some fun little hobby.
Well fortunately if your real goal is impressing your friends and family (and Lyle in accounting) you don’t have to put so much effort into this whole thing. It’s really quite easy to convince them that you are actually a super impressive author, even if you’ve never published a word. Maybe even never written a book.
How you ask? Well because most people have no idea what getting a book published involves. So, if your tired of doing all this work that goes completely unacknowledged by the people you know (“I finished writing that ‘little book’ two years ago Aunt Sara. Thank you very much and so sorry it’s not a best seller yet!”) read on…
*Note: These tips only apply if your goal is to convince people you know that you’re an author, not to become an actual working author.
Tip #1 – Take your laptop everywhere. Open it up and type at every opportunity
Turns out that one of the reasons people don’t realize you’re working so hard is because they don’t see it. This is really an easy fix. Have your laptop with you at all times. When there is a lull in the conversation, open it up and get typing. When you finish dinner first, open it up and type. When you’re stopped at a red light, get typing. What you type doesn’t really matter. No one is going to look, but if you need some ideas try just typing out the lyrics to “Fat Bottom Girls”.
Tip #2 – Make sure they know how inspired you are
Picture this. You’re at your friend’s house and she’s struggling to get shoes onto her sticky two year old to take a walk in the park. You could just empathize with her about how hard it is to get shoes on a two year old, or you could say something writerly like “This is giving me an excellent idea for my twenty second chapter.” She’ll feel good because she inspired you, and you’ll feel good because she knows you’re writing a book with at least twenty-two chapters. (twenty two is an impressive number to non-writers).
Tip #3 – Print book covers, cover your old books with them
You don’t have to write a book to look like you wrote a book. You just need to have a cover. Or ten! Image a row of book spines with your name on them lined up neatly on a display shelf in your living room. People who come by will be totally impressed, and if they ask you to borrow one, you can cringe and say, “Oh, I’d love to but this is a special edition and I need to keep it pristine.”
Tip #4 – Don’t waste your time querying!
Ug, Why would you even? It’s awful soul sucking work and no one knows what that is, or why you even need an agent anyway. If you actually finished writing a book, you should be famous within, what, like a month or so? So just put your effort into pretending that’s happening.
Tip #5 – Pretend your day job is just research
People will wonder why you’re working a job if you’re an author, because obviously all published authors are millionaires. Tell them it’s research for your series (if you make it a series, they won’t get suspicious if you keep working for decades to come). Tell them not to tell your boss because she’s the inspiration for one of your characters. And so it Lyle in accounting.
Tip #6 – If you have actually written a book, just self publish it now.
Print out a bunch of copies to gift at Christmas. Sign them. Don’t worry about edits. They’re a waste of time for impressing people. Just make sure you have a nice website and cover, because that’s about as far as these unsupportive jerks will ever read anyway.
Bonus Tip – print out best seller stickers and stick them on the cover. It’s not like they actually keep up with what’s on the best seller lists, but if they do tell them it’s not a NYT bestseller. It’s a bestseller over seas. And in Nashville. Yeah.
So there you have it. If your big concern is that people who have no idea what’s involved in getting published don’t consider you an author while you’re trying to get your first book out, these tips are pretty much guaranteed to work for you.
Of course, if your goal it to actually become a published author, you’re SOL. People you work with, and many of your friends and family are not going to get it, at least at first. And the truth of the matter is, if you want to hit that goal, you’re going to have to let go of the need to impress them. Just throw that weight off because it will drag you down and away from your dream.
If you want to be a working author, you can’t tell them. You need to show them.