Are you a secret writer? Or do you shout about it at every opportunity?
I work at Cheshire Police Headquarters. It's a big lovely new building in Cheshire with excellent facilities (restaurant, sports hall, gym). There's a large workforce - both police officers and staff, and inevitably there are a few writers amongst us! Back in March last year, I got together with a few of them and we had a table in the corner of the restaurant selling books - at least they did. Since I only have ebooks, I just had some cards and sat there and tried to look like I knew what I was doing.
One of the guys writes thrillers like I do. He frequently posts on our intranet bulletin board advertising his books. I don't. Quite apart from the fact that I don't have any actual physical goods to sell, I just can't bring myself to do it.
I mean what if people I know actually read my books? I'm not overly concerned with whether or not they like them, although obviously it'd be great if they liked my stories and thought I was a good writer. But if they read my books, they'll read the whole story - and there are some bits that really aren't very nice. I don't write chick-lit, or fluff, or romance - not that there is anything wrong with them and I do occasionally read them, but I couldn't write them. No, I write some dark and nasty stuff and I do wonder whether people I know start looking at me differently, wondering how I could dream up such stuff, never mind commit it to paper/computer file. It must be the same for erotica writers - many of them write under pseudonyms for precisely that reason, because otherwise the people in the office would think they were just, well, maybe a bit kinky?
I do write nice stuff too. Edge of Dreams is YA fantasy and quite suitable for all to read. But it doesn't sell in anything like the quantities that Hamelin's Child does. Maybe because I don't promote it nearly as much, but maybe because Hamelin is a better story. Or as a very recent amazon review said: ... a story that doesn't so much hook you as grab you by the throat and force you to keep turning the pages until the very end.
I know people at work have bought my ebooks. I know they've read them. And sometimes I'm in the lift with guys and I'm wondering whether they're looking at me and seeing my books and whether they think I'm a bit weird, if not downright dangerous.