Lately, once again, I have been asked a bunch of those really, really dumb questions I keep hearing over and over again.
I was discussing books with someone, and that person tells me: “For years I plan to write a book, but I just don’t have time. I replied: “Time is not the only thing you need. It needs a lot more to publish a book.” – The question back: “Why would you know?”
My answer: “What do you think?”
Or another situation: We’re talking about hobbies, how we’re spending time off work, and people do things like cooking, sports (often means watching football), walking dogs and so on. Except me, I said. “I write.” And of course one asks me: “You mean, you’re writing a diary?”
I looked at the person and replied scornfully: “Oh, I’m sure writing my personal diary is important enough for me to mention.”
Let’s say, the embarrassment of my conversation partner was clearly visible.
The next question is even worse. “Oh – you published a book? Can I have one?”
I replied: “Of course, you can – the title is ‘Soul Taker,’ you can get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo…”
(Seriously: What do people think? Am I running around with a stack of my books in my purse to hand it out like candy?)
I’m sometimes surprised how insensitive some people are with authors. There are a few more of these, what I call ‘dumbest things you can ask an author.’
Is it good? What am I supposed to reply? No, it’s the biggest crap you can imagine, but buy it anyway?
Will I like it? What am I, a fortune teller?
How much are you making? So discrete and tactful, your question. (And yes, I’m sarcastic!)
Don’t you have a great time writing instead of having a real job? What the hell do you think I do? Sleeping in, typing three sentences into the computer and then wait until the book magically writes itself?
So you are a second J. K. Rowling then? No, not really. J. K. Rowling is one of the most extraordinary writing talents of the last century, and I admire her! But I don’t want to be a second J. K. Rowling – I want to be a first A. J. Alexander!
Can you write a book on teenage pregnancy/family inheritance rows/vampires and werewolves/superheroes/dystopian futures because I’d love to read that story? No. I’m not a performing monkey. I write what I want to write, what I’m interested in and what I love. Also, YOU (asker of said question) are almost definitely not my target audience!
There are so many more stupid questions one can ask an author; this is only a small portion of the insensitivity most of us a facing far too often.
If you have any experience with questions like this, funny situations or similar, let’s hear them in the comments, please. We’re curious.
In my January Newsletter, I asked my subscribers to help me collect stupid questions they are asked occasionally because I thought they make a funny blog post. Here are mine and the ones I got sent by Rachel Twomey. Thank you, Rachel.