Please Stop Asking Authors THIS Question
I 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 . . .