When people find out a person is a writer, they’re intrigued. They ask questions. What do you write? Where do your ideas come from? Are you published? Do you have an MFA? Where can I read your work? Are you rich and famous?
I’m often asked by friends and family: What’s going on with that book you’ve been writing? Is it published yet?
Answer: Not yet. I’m querying agents.
Then the follow up question: That’s what you said last month. What’s taking so long?
Short answer: Ugh.
Long answer: That’s sort of like asking a first year med student, “How’s that MD coming along? You a doctor yet?” Finding a literary agent is not easy. It takes time, hard work, and more persistence than you can imagine.
Here’s another: You wrote a book? What’s it about?
I love and hate this question. I love it because I’m thrilled when anyone is interested in my writing, but it’s a hard one to answer. How do you describe a 300 page book in one sentence? I’ve written a million (okay, maybe not a million) one-liners that describe my book and have yet to come up with the perfect answer. But I’m getting closer.
And the all-time “favorite” question/request: I have a great idea for a book. I’ll tell it to you, and you write it. Then we can split the money. What do you say?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: No, thank you.
Longer answer: Here’s my card. I charge by the word.
I don’t mean to sound snippy, but every author I know has received this request. The truth is, if you really have a remarkable story (you survived a shipwreck or just discovered you’re the bio-child of someone super famous), you should hire a lawyer and a good CPA, because the tabloids will offer you a fortune.
Another very FAQ: Isn’t being a writer easier now that there’s self-publishing?
Short Answer: No
Long answer: Writing is hard work regardless of how one publishes. Self-publishing has cleared the way for many excellent novels and works of non-fiction to be released more quickly. It also has opened the floodgates for thousands of books that are not well-written or properly edited. Most of these sell few copies. Writing anything requires time and patience and dedication. Even this short blog post has taken me three days!
In case you’re wondering, here are my answers to the first five questions:
What do you write: Novels, short stories, short plays, blog posts, and many to-do lists.
Where do ideas come from: Imagination, observation, contemplation, aggravation, conversations, and sometimes my dogs.
Are you published: Yes
Do you have an MFA: No
Where can I read what you’ve written: There’s a lot of it right here on my website. Or google my name. Something will pop up.
Are you rich and famous: Not yet.
As a bonus, I’m going to ask you a question that has nothing to do with anything except for giving me a reason to post this adorable picture:
What’s your favorite kind of dog? Mine’s BOXER
Give me your answer in the comments. Feel free to share a photo! And ask me more questions, too.
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