When Mean Family Members Make Fun of Your New Book

When Mean Family Members Make Fun of Your New Book

Q –

I just published a new book and (this is embarrassing) I haven’t told anyone in my family about it. I’m too nervous! What if my siblings make fun of me? Yes, they are those types of people. What if my parents think it’s awful and are too embarrassed to tell their friends about it? 

I know this probably sounds silly but I just don’t know what to do. Should I just not tell them? I was hoping if I did that they might tell their friends or co-workers and I might make some sales. I feel more comfortable telling strangers about my book than I do my own family and friends. Is this normal?

– Roberta B.

A –

This is actually NOT a unique problem. It’s often easier to “perform” in front of strangers than it is to do so in front of our families. And, sharing your writing is performing…in a literary sense. If someone is raised in an overly-critical family, the fear can be quite real.

Let me preface this by saying there is a not-so-fine fine line between critiquing a book and personal criticism. If I ask someone to read my book, and give me an honest critique, I expect to get it. But, I also expect that critique to be professional, not rude. It seems your family, or at least your siblings, might be inclined to be nasty (i.e. “YOU wrote a BOOK? I bet it SUCKS!”). THAT is not a critique.

When I published my first book, I sent free copies to several family members. I didn’t need to worry about criticism because only one person read it. ONE. (Yeah, that stung.) Now, granted, it was on the topic of writing and my family members, with the exception of my brother, are not writers. But, still, it felt like a slap in the face.

The same thing happened with my second book. So, by the time I published my third (I’ve published 24 books now), I stopped sending out free copies to my family members. Nowadays, I don’t even tell them when I release a book. Instead, I spend my time promoting the book to an audience that I know will be interested in it based on the genre of that book.

I have heard from authors in the past whose families have poked fun at them for publishing a book. All I can say to those authors is…the problem likely stems from jealousy. Almost everyone has a book in them but few, statistically, actually write and publish that book. You’ve done something that most other people will never have the courage to do!

If it’s not jealousy, it simply means your family members are jerks. If that is the case, I definitely don’t recommend sending copies to them, nor even telling them about your accomplishments. Nobody needs that in their lives. Blood may be thicker than water but it’s certainly not thicker than many people’s skin when it comes to family bullying. And, why should we need thick skin in order to deal with the pressures or meanness of family members? If this describes you, find supportive, loving friends and make your OWN family. 🙂


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Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.

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2 Responses to "When Mean Family Members Make Fun of Your New Book"

  1. Richard McHenry)  November 30, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Kind of agree; was really miffed when I sent a few copies of my poetry book to one or two close family members; and even to some from my high school graduating class (because I was known for being artsy: writing and acting) — and received not a peep of “anything.” It is further extremely galling to have some numb-nut, from a non-English speaking country, give my novel a rotten review, when it is obvious he really didn’t understand what he was reading, and had an axe to grind regarding a former bisexual lover, who left him in the lurch. But poison comes in all forms. You either pass it by, or let it get under your skin. I try to overlook stupidity; but when it is a reflection on “you,” hard to dismiss. And that person usually knows not a whit about you or your reality. Way it goes…. But, it hurts nonetheless.

  2. Jennifer Lincoln  November 30, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    I’d like to address the authors who must battle all of the jealousy and cattiness that comes with your accomplishment of publishing. When I published my first book my husband told me he was ashamed of me, two of the people I put in acknowledgments were mortified and insisted their names be removed. I know what a slap in the face feels like.
    It is just like anything else in life there will always be haters and it just so happens that you never know when or from whom you will receive this criticism. Hold your head up high because you just did something they could never comprehend. You had a goal and reached it and that’s a lot more than most people.
    Know I am going to click on post then go back and order a copy of your work so thanks for sharing.