You Write What?!?!?!

You know the drill. You’re having a nice conversation over dinner and your companion seems really interested that you’re a writer. He/she is even more impressed that you have finished a novel and are actively trying to publish. And then comes “the” question:

What do you write?


The most recent time I told someone this, he literally laughed in my face. Seriously, sound came out of his mouth as he mocked me.

“Romance? Pssst.” (More laughing)

It was as if I said I take a razor blade to newborn puppies. Even though I’m really proud of what I write, I felt so embarrassed. Let’s face it, having someone laugh in your face is never a feel-good kind of moment, no matter how many glasses of wine you’ve consumed.

Leading up to this joyous encounter I had been doing pretty well with the haters. I’ve joined writing groups lately, which seems to have made a big difference in both my writing and my writing life. But my writing group wasn’t sitting at that table with me while someone laughed at my biggest dream.

And I know all the stats. I know how much money the romance industry generates each year. I know that there couldn’t seriously be anything wrong with a genre of fiction that promotes a happy ending. And I definitely know that this laughing person was a total d-bag.

Still, it hurt.

I remembered all the hours I’ve poured into sitting diligently at my computer. All the rejections letters I’ve received. All of the almost-published stories. The time, the energy, the emotions. And here is someone completely discounting all of it because they are, in essence, ignorant.

But, like so many things in life, I knew what to do. I had some more wine, brushed it off and wrote a blog post about it. 😉 Because seriously, you might want to think before you laugh at someone with the power to write.

So, I ask you fellow romance writers: How do you handle the romance haters of the world?

19 thoughts on “You Write What?!?!?!

  1. Interestingly enough they don’t so much hate as dismiss – which I find just as annoying. So when my mother told me she ran into a writer and her mom, and they asked her what I write, she said, “mess.” then she dared repeat the story to me, I told her never to say that again, and if she could’t remember what I write, and can’t figure out what to say more respectfully, don’t mention it at all. She stuttered for a moment, and then apologized, and said she’d get it right next time. I figure I’ll deal with the home front first, and tackle the other naysayers as they come. Whoops, sorry for going on and on, but u hit a nerve:). Great topic because it remains relevant, unfortunately..

    1. Ah, Denny-Mermaid! It’s tough to hear criticism or dismissals, but especially when they come from your family. I think you handled it well by dealing with it head-on. Big hugs! 😉

  2. Oh Kerri! I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’ve encountered my fair share of people making frustrating comments, but I think laughing takes it to a whole other level. Recently, someone told me that they laughed out loud at one of my stylistic choices. It stung, it really did, even though I know the person didn’t mean any harm by it. There is just something so defeating about being laughed at for something into which we put our heart and soul.

    1. Thanks P.H.! And you hit the nail on the head. We are putting so much of ourselves into our writing that when someone laughs at it, it feels like they are laughing at us. I’m sure many of these people don’t realize what they’re doing though. At least, hopefully they don’t. 😉

  3. Ask them what they do for a living. Chances are it’s a most unromantic, soul-sucking office job. And then, you can laugh back because YOU’RE following your passion, no matter if it’s writing romance novels or piercing navels in Nepal. I’ve found that people who laugh loudest at those who pursue their dreams are usually the most afraid to pursue their own. Maybe we should weep for them instead?

    1. I never thought about it that way, Jen! But you know, I think you’re on to something. I’m glad you stopped by. 😉

  4. Jen said it perfectly. I’ve also found that the haters (and those who laugh in your face or dismiss what you do…an ex-sister-in-law once said, after I talked about trying to get my first novel published, “So, you’re actually banking on that?”) are often the ones who are creatively blocked. Or they are ignorant and make fun of things they don’t understand. Feh. Go, Kerri! Don’t let ANYONE stop you. The world needs all of our stories.

  5. I ignore them. People who don’t read romance are to be pitied – poor sods. : )

    And, when it happens again, call me and I’ll tell you how awesome you are and what d-bag they are.

  6. Oh Kerri, I’m so sorry you had to go through that!

    I have also experienced my share of nay-sayers and it sucks. But don’t let anyone–ANYONE–put down your dreams. I agree with Jen and Laurie, the people that laugh the loudest are the ones who are too afraid to pursue their own dreams. It makes them feel better to put you down rather than admit their own ignorance or fears. One of the best answers I have head to the “So, what do you write question?” is…. “I write romance. I write about life and relationships, and yes my books have sex in them because life has sex in it. And I think if the hero and heroine have to go through all of the trials and tribulations to bring them together then I think they deserve some pretty fantastic sex at the end. Don’t you?”

    And if that doesn’t make you feel better, tell the person they’re being a small minded jerk, get up, go home, have a large glass of wine, sit down to your computer and then eviscerate them in fiction! 🙂 Or call me and we’ll do it together–because THAT my friend is what friends are for!

    1. Ah, Dana-Mermaid!!! You are so sweet! Now I kind of can’t wait for the next d-bag to insult me so we can chat and have wine and write! 😉

  7. “Think before you laugh at someone with the power to write.” I would so love to see this on a bumper sticker Kerri Mermaid! Followed by “Awesomesauce!”

  8. Although I’m not a romance writer but an avid reader of romances and the mother of a great romance writer, I have given the situation some thought. I hope you ordered the most expensive things on the menu and a bottle of wine. Then you should have pulled out a notebook and made notes for an ‘idiot’ character while asking him to tell you some more about his life, snickering while you wrote!!!! After you ate most of the meal, excused yourself to go to ladies room and then went home. Ok, we always think about what we should have done after ther fact….but perhaps, you can slip tis into one of your books some day!

  9. I wear a t-shirt once in awhile that says, “Careful or you’ll end up as a character in my novel”. I’ve had people ask me what I write about, I tell them romance. I either get a curt ‘oh’ or ‘really? Anything published?’

    But if I get a negative–I go home and make them the ‘evil’ character in my book. 🙂

  10. Ah yes, the laugh that makes a person feel inadequate. We’ve all done it and had it done to us. It sucks! You are so talented that you could write bumper stickers and be successful. Nice site. My first visit. Be strong and in the end, your royalty checks will give you the last laugh.

Comments are closed.