Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWIRL: Insecure Writer In Real Life

I don't normally take part in the whinefest known as the Insecure Writer Support Group, but there is something I wanted to whine about, so now seems like the time to do it.

A few weeks ago after work I went out to my car and was getting ready to go when some guy comes up to my car.  If I hadn't been in our locked parking garage sitting 50 feet from the security office I'd have probably thought I was about to be carjacked--it is Detroit.  As it was I figured the guy probably wanted directions (which I'm terrible at) or a jump start (which I'm concerned about with these modern cars and all their fancy electronics) or something like that.

Instead the guy says something like, "Hey didn't you write a bunch of books?"
And I'm like, "Um...yeah."
And he's like, "That's really cool.  Would you autograph one for me."

Here are a couple of things to understand.  I don't advertise my books IRL, at all.  Especially not at work.  I don't go around handing out business cards saying, PT Dilloway--Author.  At work I know the people I work with enough to know them and my books are not compatible.  It also seems pretty pathetic to me to sell books like Girl Scout cookies or those other stupid fundraisers people are always posting on the fridge.

The really mysterious thing is I have no idea who the guy was.  He doesn't work in my office, at least not on the floor I work on.  So really I have no idea how he knew who I was or how he knew that I sold books.  Maybe he saw my name on my badge and Googled it?  Maybe he works for the NSA and has been hacking into my phone?  Maybe he's reading this right now....[looking over my shoulder]

The bottom line is it weirded me out.  Then I was trying to think of why it was weirding me out, besides not knowing who the hell the dude was and all that.

I think what bothers me most is the idea of someone IRL not wanting your books because they're interested in them but because they think it's neat you wrote a book.  Like it's some kind of goddamned novelty act, like a dog who can perform a trick.  Ooh, you can put words onto paper, how cute!  I had my fill of that in middle school and high school; it was just as well in college I was a commuter student so no one really got a chance to find that out.

Obviously a lot of other people are far more comfortable with that than I am.  I just prefer compartmentalizing things.  Work is separate from home is separate from Internet.  I don't go to conventions or stuff like that where I might run into people I know on the Internet or Skype with people or any of that.  It bugs me then when people try to breach those walls.  Actually I can use another dated Seinfeld reference when George talks about there's Relationship George and then Regular George.  Worlds are colliding!

Anyway, as of this writing I haven't seen the dude again and I don't think he's bought a book for me to sign.  I hope he's not planning on me providing one as I don't keep spare copies around.  Not after I bought a bunch of Where You Belongs and realized how hard it is to actually move those.  (I gave most away through Goodreads.)

I do have a spare copy of the third Girl Power book because you could get 2 free copies of your NaNoWriMo novel from CreateSpace (just pay additional processing and shipping!) so I have an extra one now that I have no idea what to do with.  I don't want to do a Goodreads giveaway or anything because then I have to mail it, which negates the benefit of getting it free.  Dumping it in the donation box at the library again seems like a waste.  Maybe I'll give it to a relative as a gift.  BTW, if you ever want a copy of one of my books and don't want to buy it from CreateSpace or Amazon or one of those, the Wixom, Michigan library probably still has a bunch of old proof copies of Scarlet Knight, Chances Are, and Girl Power books.


  1. So he didn't even have one of your books? Weird.

  2. That is rather strange.
    Detroit...where the NSA goes to screw with Pat...

  3. People in real life have a much greater perspective on writers than people on the Internet. They still have the magic.

  4. I think you've got a weird stalker-dude on your hands. I'd be wigged out too.

    I'm a pretty outgoing person, but too like to keep my writing and work life separate. That's why I use a pen name. Most of my friends IRL don't even read, so I don't even bother talking about my other life.

  5. The thing about writing, once you put your work out there, having a run-in that weirds you out will be inevitable. At least that's what I'm expecting. Btw, I'll look you up if I'm ever in Detroit.

    And easy on the girl scout cookies. Those things are kryptonite. :)

  6. Hey, you're an extremely talented author. This was a compliment and you should take that to the bank. You've got a real fan out there! And I've heard about those incredibly scary carjackings taking place at service stations in and around Detroit. When I read about them, I thought about you and hope that you don't fall prey to one of those assholes.

  7. It's interesting the way "regular" people react when they find out that you're an author. Except for the expected "Oh, I've been thinking about writing a book" that comes from about half of them. And even my brother has called me up with the "greatest idea EVER" for a book I should write.

    1. (I hit publish too soon.)

      Anyway, I can see why you'd want to keep the things separate.

  8. You could look at it that way but you could also say that he's never met a professional writer before and thought it was cool! Just watch out for the paparazzi now. BTW I'll bet you're glad you have paperbacks. ;)

  9. That would kind of weird me out, too. I don't make an effort to hide the fact that I'm an author, but I don't advertise it either. I certainly wouldn't expect someone to recognize me on the street.

    I don't have any physical copies of my books, because the formatting on Createspace is too frustrating. I didn't know you could get a free copy for Nanowrimo, that would've been awesome.



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