Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

When A Writer Becomes “A WRITER” . . .

One of the blogs I’ve just begun reading posed this question: “Do you think experiencing publication could make you uncomfortable?”

But, hey… Don’t all writers long for the day their book is published?

Maybe they do long for that day but some have problems handling it when it arrives.

Debbie Maxwell Allen, from Writing While The Rice Boils, published a post about Tahereh Mafi who recently had publishing success with her YA novel, Shatter Me.

Debbie’s post, How Will Publication Change You?, says that Tahereh’s experience of being published has made her:

“Uncomfortable with the recognition and adulation that comes from publication.

“Unsure what to say when people exclaim over her accomplishment.

“And uneasy that some writers might feel she’s on another level from them just because she garnered a book contract.”

After much humor, that covers much suffering through the aftermath of the publication of her first book, Tahereh says:

“i tell people i write books and they look at me like i’ve said something remotely amusing, like i’ve said something in another language that, roughly translated, actually means “i couldn’t get a real job.” it’s only when they realize that i have an actual book in an actual bookstore that they suddenly look at me like “oh, god, i totally thought for a second that you were one of those loser ‘writers’ who hasn’t actually published anything, lolol, my bad, my bad, you’re cool, carry on.” and oh, it’s so gross, guys. i hate it so much. i hate the implication that you can’t be a real artist without having sold something. i hate that we don’t appreciate struggling artists until they’ve “made it,” i hate that writers aren’t appreciated until they’re “published,” i hate that musicians are pitied until they “get that record deal.” because there’s no such thing as a stamp-of-approval. and i hope you guys know that.”

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6 responses to “When A Writer Becomes “A WRITER” . . .

  1. Selena Wolff December 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    This girl is a real joy; accent on ‘real’. Her honesty about her feelings regarding publication were refreshing. Makes me want to go out and read “Shatter Me.” Thanks for finding and posting this!


    • Alexander M Zoltai December 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      I know exactly how you feel, Selena :-)

      Here’s a synopsis:

      Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

      The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

      The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

      Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

      In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.


      • Selena Wolff December 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

        ooooo, this sounds like my kind of book. Can’t wait to read it!
        Happy Holidays, Alexander!


        • Alexander M Zoltai December 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm

          Happy Holidays to you, too, Selena :-)


  2. Debbie Maxwell Allen (@DebbieMaxAllen) December 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Great post, Alexander. I think it’s important for us as writers to be aware of the realities we face as we deal with publication.



    • Alexander M Zoltai December 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

      Absolutely, Debbie.

      To not do so would be the equivalent of studying anatomy and ignoring the hands and feet :-)


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