Talked about this with a few friends on Twitter on Monday, but I want to take the time to really expand my thoughts on the matter.
So, a coworker bought my books, has been reading and enjoying them. He told another coworker. She came up to me and said, "He says they're dark and twisted. I didn't know that. I thought your vampires, well... sparkled."
For a year, she's avoided reading my books because of what Twilight has wrought. How she got the impression I wrote about light and fluffy things, I don't know. I do have some stuffed animals on my desk, but they're dragons and Skelanimals and Gir. I have Orlando Bloom pictures, not a single Edward or Jacob. I've never been caught praising Twilight. NOTHING implies I'm that kind of girl.
Which means her statement offended me on two levels.
One level is that vampires are that watered down, that people are connecting vampire and Twilight in the same thought. The creatures in Twilight aren't vampires, and they're most certainly not what I like.
But on a deeper and more passionate level, I was offended because she never asked me about it. In a year of knowing I had books out, and knowing I write all the time, she never bothered to take the time to express her concerns. She LIKES monsters and vampires. I'd have given her such a rousing speech about why my stuff is worth reading...if I'd just known she had doubts. "I want to support a person I know, but I don't like sparklepires. She's writing about vampires, but it would take too much effort to confirm the species." Would have take all of two minutes of her life to find out All Hallows Blood is something she might like.
Kudos to me for not revealing any of my inner turmoil. I just smiled and nodded, and told her I can't stand Twilight. I didn't even blink when she said, "I'll have to look into them now." Because that's code for "not going to happen."
The day job is the worst place to make sales.
So, writers, has anything similar happened to you? Readers, ever been pleasantly surprised by an assumption being broken?