Please Stop Asking Authors THIS Question

4 booksI love talking about my books and my writing. And it’s so nice when friends, family, readers, and others ask for details.

But there’s one question that comes up over and over that I simply don’t know how to answer. It usually comes up in that quiet time after the flurry of releasing a book is over but before I’m really promoting the next one.

The dreaded question is some variation of . . . How are your books doing?

Oh wait, I do know how to answer it. I DON’T KNOW.

And even when I kind of know, I still don’t know.

Here’s the problem. I get statements twice a year. Sure, they list how many books have been sold . . . as of three or four months ago. So I kind of have an idea of how many books moved a while back. Of course, if a new book has released in the meantime, I don’t know much about that one at all.

Oh but wait. The statement doesn’t actually list how many books SOLD, it lists how many books have been ordered by bookstores and other vendors. And guess what–they get to return the books they don’t sell.

For example: Say a June statement shows that 1,000 copies of a book published in January had been ordered as of February. The December statement may show that 250 of those were returned as of August. Does that mean 750 sold? Maybe. But not necessarily. Another 250 might have been returned in September.


So here are a few questions I’d love for you to ask instead:

  • How’d you come up with the idea for that last book?
  • What are you working on next? (I’ll be vague, but it’s still nice to be asked.)
  • What do you like to read when you’re not writing?
  • Or any of a dozen what’s-your-writing-life-like questions.

Basically, ask me about writing. Because I really don’t know how my book is doing . . .

Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

10 thoughts on “Please Stop Asking Authors THIS Question

  1. Well… based on how many of my friends have told me they bought this latest book (for themselves and as gifts for others) it’s doing VERY well. I still have mixed feelings about loaning my copy versus telling them to go buy their own. 😉

  2. I never ever even thought of this question? I’m so thrilled to meet authors that I read , my mind is always on the book – if I can get out of my awkward fandom mode.

  3. I guess I’ve never thought of asking that question?! I’m just delighted to read each wonderful book. Most
    inspired since I have met you &
    VERY blessed that you’ve signed my 1st (2) books! An honor that some wish they could say!! Keep up the GREAT work!! 🤗

  4. I know how your books are doing. They are perfectly content lined up on my shelf. I keep them dusted and in release order. So if anyone asks feel confident to say they are happy as can be in their new homes😁😁😁

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