Thursday, February 7, 2008

Who Do You Let Read Your Stuff?

Tip of the Day: Packaged cookie dough from the store (but NOT homemade) is ok to eat when you are pregnant.

Well, they ask and they ask but I just won’t let my family read anything I write. Is that awful? Nah—they are the most judgmental people on earth! Ok, I’m kidding about that of course (really—you guys are great!) but I won’t let them read any of my books. Not yet. If they want to shell out the bucks when they hits the bookstores well then that would just rock. I’ll just disappear for a week until I’m positive that everyone has finished reading and then slowly reemerge. But I’m just not at a point where I can hand it over to them now to read. Is it a problem with me? I don’t know. I keep telling myself that they just won’t “get” my books. They aren’t my target audience.

But I’m not sure that’s it either. On Oprah they are always talking about things like that book The Secret or laws of attraction and how you bring something to your life by wanting it and visualizing it. One woman on yesterday’s show said that she purposely didn’t tell her family when her husband lost his job because they viewed it as a good thing (they even broke out the wine and glasses) and she was afraid the family would put off negative energy and bring them down at a time when they needed to remain positive. So maybe I’m anticipating the chance of negative energy and I don’t want anything to pull me down? Kinda like how I didn’t even tell my family I was writing books until I was about to get an agent? Like if I told them they might have said “that’s stupid”, or “you can’t do that” and I didn’t want to be slowed down so I just plowed straight ahead? Hmmm…I wonder what Dr. Phil would say about all this?

I would let my husband read my books but honestly that scares me a little too. He’s more into science fiction stuff and he reads like 250 books a year. That is a lot of books to compete against. And he HAS to be nice to me so he would just say everything is wonderful right? I kinda almost sorta offered that he could read one of my books once…but he said he wanted to wait until he could hold the book in his hands so I’m just fine with that because he’s probably the only person I’d bend my “nobody in the family reads my stuff” rule for.

That’s not saying that I don’t let anyone read my books—obviously I do that. I have a number of great critique partners, and my agent, and others at her agency, and then editors etc. that read my books. They are all great readers because they “get it”. I willingly and happily send them stuff all the time. So when the family asks me now if they can read something, I practice a number of techniques—1) avoidance, 2) redirection (“Oooh, is that a new shirt?” 3) Fake labor pains and 4) The smile/head bob/no comment thing.

What do you guys think? Am I wrong here? Do you let your family read your books? Who do you let read your stuff?

Kristina, Miss Soon-to-Pub


Lisa Schroeder said...

I'm the same way, Tina. Although once my husband read I HEART YOU (he grabbed an Advanced Review Copy when it arrived), and convinced me he really liked it, I've been a little more willing to let him read stuff. Although still not an entire book. I printed out a section to get his opinion recently, for example.

I think sometimes he feels left out of my writerly world, and he truly cares, so I need to open up a little more and let him in when I can.

But everyone else? No way. :)

Emily Marshall said...

I'm the exact same way Tina. But that is too funny you fake labor pains :)

My husband read my first book, prior to me having more trusted critique partners, since I did need some feedback. I felt like wanting to stand over him the entire time, and I knew he still wouldn't "get" it. But he's not my target, either. And I think it was much harder on me having him read it, then him. I think he's waiting to read more until I finally finish his dissertation he wrote. But that sounds about as appealing as I'm sure my books do to him.

My mom also read my first one, but only after she kept asking. Luckily, she doesn't ask anymore. It probably scarred her that much. Ooh.

But other than that, no one in my family has read anything else. I'd like to keep it that way, until they go buy the book.


Anonymous said...

Besides my critique group members, I've let my husband read my YA. He been so supportive, I couldn't say no. I've been sharing a WIP MG with my daughter as I make progress and she's been a great teen advisor!

I've had other family members ask to read my stuff and some people from work, too, but I'm only comfortable with letting others who really understand the process read drafts.

Lisa S. is the first writer friend outside of my crit group and family who has read my YA. Thanks, Lisa!!! xo

Kate Fall said...

Lisa a, that's exactly how I feel: I don't like people reading my work who don't understand drafts. My family might expect my WIP to be as good as it will be someday as a published book. Already, reading it in Word manuscript form is a strike against it compared to the beauty of a printed book.

My hubby is very emotionally supportive but he doesn't read fiction. He's a great fact-checker and I ask him questions all the time, but give him a manuscript to read?? Uh-uh. I'll read pieces to my daughter sometimes, who's an avid reader, but I find myself staring at her for a reaction. Why isn't she laughing? Is she listening? Should I poke her? ;)

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

I can relate to all your stories. To this day, my mother has no idea that I am writing. She and my younger sister would be merciless and I just don't need that. My DH, on the other hand, has read everything I've written. He has learned, mostly, when I need dead-on honesty, kind support, or just a question or two. Of course, he likes to offer suggestions as to where the plot should go next, etc., but I give him "the look" and he zips it up pretty quick.

I also have a dear friend who reads everything. She is fabulous. She's an artist and has a great sense of what YA readers want. She asks the best questions!

And my BF's teenage son has also been reading my work and is convinced I'll be famous!

As for the family--they can buy the book when they see it at the book store. Until then, it's my secret identity!

DeenaML said...

My parents always want to read my stuff, and my bro and sis, and when I finally send them the stories knowing they'll take forever to read it, they're like, "It's good!" Whatever.

My manpanion, however, is a GREAT critiquer. Honest and helpful about places that need work. I usually WANT him to read my stuff faster than he does! He's no true CP, but does know what he likes.

Anonymous said...

Whew! I'm not alone. NO ONE in the world besides my online writing friends and my hubby even know that I write. And I've been doing it a while - even have an agent.

I even have a sister who writes but she doesn't know either. Am I a little self conscious? Uh... perhaps.

I figure I can tell everyone when I finally get to quit the day job and write full time. I'm sure they'll wonder why all of a sudden I'm at home every day. ;o)

Anonymous said...

i let 2 of my daughters, depending on the book and the contents, just how much sex is in it, for the 15yr old, and the 20 yr , regretfully does not swallow books the way me and her sister does, adn ym 11 yr old writes her own books

i was brought up, reading is only a HAVE TO for school, so my aunt started giving me books when i was like 12, of hers, and gosh i loved tohme and escaped

Susan Moorhead said...

The husband is not invited to read any longer since all his remarks start with "well, it's not the thing I would read but...".
I run stuff by the teens in the house, they give the best advice like - no one says/does/acts like that anymore. Very handy :)