I’ve been a published author for… three years now, and I’ve been able to talk to many other new authors as well. No matter what the circumstance is, all new authors have a handful of questions that everyone asks them.
The worst part is that many authors still answer it as politely as possible instead of giving the questioner the honest-to-goodness answer they really want to give. So, here are six questions that every author gets asked, and how they want to respond.
#1. “I went to my favorite bookstore and couldn’t find your book. If you’re published why isn’t it there?”
Well, the fact is that in order to get into big book stores, you need to have that connection, and the majority of publishing houses don’t have it. If someone was very, VERY lucky, they might have gotten a contract with a big-name publisher with a team of people to ensure that every Target, Walmart, and Barnes and Nobles store has copies to sell. For the rest of us, we have to hand over books to independent bookstores and hope and pray that they’re found.
#2. So, your book’s out, so you’re like [insert name of famous author here]?
This question is bad for two reasons: 1. we authors are a prideful group. Unless that author is a hero or someone we look up to, we want to get defensive and tell you that we have our own voice and our own style completely unlike said popular author. And 2, we wish. The majority of authors never quit their day jobs. If you want to talk about labors of love, ask an author. Even Brandon Sanderson, one of my favorite authors, still teaches at BYU. Few authors get the privilege to have writing as a career.
#3. So, when’s the movie coming out?
Again, we wish. Even popular books like Looking for Alaska (by John Green, another hero-author of mine) has been optioned for a movie, but it could take years from then to actually put a movie in production.
#4. Can I tell you about this book I’m going to write?
This is a frustrating question for authors. Even if the idea is amazing, the fact that it still remains unwritten (or has a few chapters in first draft) likely means that it won’t get completed. This is the one fundamental difference between authors and everybody else. Everybody else will choose to do things like sleep, watch TV, or play Borderlands 2, and often you’ll see those things gathering dust while an author sits at his or her laptop staring at it and waiting for the muse to descend.
#5. Could you put me in one of your books?
If you ask an author this, they likely will fulfil your request. There are loads of characters that end up dying, catching the latest plague, getting hit by very expensive cars, or being the subservient lackey to a pathetic villain. You just might become one of them.
#6. What are you working on next?
Here’s the question we’d love to hear. Give us the opportunity to talk about our work. Some of us aren’t social butterflies, or we get nervous in front of large group, so asking us what our current project is will let us market ourselves as authors (it’s harder than actually writing the book, trust me) and promote what we love most. Ask your author this question. You will get hugged, and possibly some culinary treat. There would be food if people asked me this.