Into the Open — 4 Comments

  1. Not only is that an interesting question, but it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out here who has this as a secret! I’ve told only one person because I needed to explain what I was doing with my free time.

    I guess I keep it secret because it’s hard to explain about the romance thing, which is not considered serious writing to many people, and I guess I’m not prepared to have anyone read it whom I have to look in the eye day after day. Besides, it’s a joyful escape for me when I’m really into it, and I fear that aspect of it might somehow be spoiled if I reveal it and expectations of one sort or another then arose as a result.

    Also, I suppose there could be an aspect of “tooting one’s own horn” to it. I mean it’s ingrained in us to not brag or appear to brag (In the U.S. at least), and so that caution is always in play when it comes to announcing things about yourself to people. Especially when your announcement would seem to proclaim that you think you have talent enough to put words to paper, and that you spend a lot of your time doing it.

  2. I think Laura has nailed it. It’s one thing to open yourself up to criticism from the unnamed masses but to have to endure it from those you see everyday is another thing entirely. I am contending with this very same issue right now, on the verge of self-publishing my first book. I want people to read it but only a very few, select people from my immediate circle know about it. There is a self-publishing stigma to contend with as well as a fan fiction one. Besides, I feel like the book is my child and am inclined to shelter it. It is very reassuring to know how your “coming out” was received, particularly as it was your books, specifically, that inspired me to write my own.

  3. Abigail, I just had to laugh (with empathy) as I recently read this. I, too, kept my writing a secret for a long time, and I still don’t tell everyone. At first, when I dabbled in writing for the online sites, even my husband didn’t know. I had to fess up when the computer broke and he didn’t seem to be in any hurry to fix it. “What do you need the computer for? You can check your email at work.” Yikes. Because I am writing a story… While word has gradually leaked out (my husband was the first to ‘out’ me), I still feel that sense of awkwardness. It really reached a peak recently when a group of ladies wanted to read one of my books for their book club. I know every single lady in this group! I was so nervous! I think one of the main reasons is that our genre is to a certain type of person who has this absolute love of Jane Austen, and not everybody gets that. I know a few of the ladies in this book club enjoyed the book, but I have a feeling some were going, “I don’t get it.” Anyway, I identified totally with this and thought it was so funny when you said you hoped you wouldn’t see anyone you knew at your book signing. That was priceless!

  4. Abigail,

    Thank you for sharing your struggle with us. I am in the process of writing my first JAFF what if book. I’m relatively new to the whole JAFF scene, but have been an avid JA fan for 15 years, I told my husband what I was up to, because he is used to my writing (I’m a freelance script writer) but had to explain what fan fiction was, and what an amazing following it had–especially for Jane Austen. My son, who works at a viral marketing agency (internet marketing) overheard our conversation, told me that I needed to get a blog going so people could follow my process and hopefully build a fan base. He made me get a Twitter account and lastly, he made me “out” myself on my personal Facebook page. I cringed because I felt like I was exposing myself to everyone–moles on my butt and all. So, with my son pushing me, I briefly told everyone what I was up to and posted a link to my blog in case anyone was interested. I got a lot of positive feedback and a few people are following me–although I’m only 2 weeks into it.

    I look so forward to reading your books. I have only read 4 JAFF books so far, and Amazon is very pleased with me these days, because I just keep on ordering more.

    Keep up your work and thank you again for sharing with fellow writers.

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