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Today I’m going to finish giving serious answers to the questions in my humorous post The Top 10 Things People Say to Writers, and How You Should Respond. So when you’re tired of being snarky this will help you give some constructive–and helpful–answers to your non-writer friends and family.

I’m combining 9 and 10 for this last post, since 10 was just a funny throwaway.

9. Will you read/edit the book I wrote and give me suggestions on how to make it better, maybe rewrite a few scenes for me?

Wow, we’re ending on this doozy of a question. I understand, I really do. If I had access to a ***real writer*** (aka someone who has books published) when I was a young, green, inexperienced writer, I probably would have made this faux pas too. Actually KNOWING someone who has done what you want to do seems so shiny and wonderful, of COURSE they’ll help you! I did help someone once by editing his short story, but quickly learned this was a mistake because then he wanted me to edit and revise ALL of his stories (all the while not taking any of my editing advice to heart). I was also in an unfortunate, cringey position in which my boss brought his daughter’s book to work and asked me if I would read it and give her some suggestions.

Of course, a lot of writers have beta readers, and these are people (usually other writers) who have volunteered to read your stuff and give advice and suggestions–and often, you return the favor. But basically ‘cold calling’ an author is a big misstep. There’s four huge reasons I won’t read or edit your book for you:

  1. You’re going to get offended when I tell you what’s wrong with it (been there, seen that).
  2. Editors are people who get paid to do what they do. It’s a real job.
  3. If I spend all my time editing and reading for other people, I’ll never get any of my own work done.
  4. You probably don’t write the same stuff that I write, or am interested in reading, and I can’t give you a fair evaluation because of that.

My humorous answer on the list: Sure thing. Just let me look up the going rate editors/ghostwriters charge these days, and I’ll get back to you with an invoice. By the way, I only take cash, paid in full in advance.

A more constructive answer: The same, but slightly more polite.

And that leads us to:

10. Why are you so grouchy?

*eye twitch*


Well that’s it, folks! I hope you got a laugh out of this, and maybe learned a few things.

By the way, stop by Long and Short Reviews today, there’s a contest going on and I’m giving away a copy of Star-Crossed! There’s tons of other prizes to be won as well, including books and gift cards, so come on down!

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This week I’m going to finish up giving serious answers to the questions in my humorous post The Top 10 Things People Say to Writers, and How You Should Respond. So when you’re tired of being snarky this will help you give some constructive–and helpful–answers to your non-writer friends and family.

On to number eight!

8. When is it getting made into a TV show/movie?

Humorously, a couple years ago, about a year after my novel The Wicked City came out, a short-lived TV show called Wicked City aired on ABC. I got several messages from friends asking if it was a TV show based on my novel. I’m not even joking, and they weren’t either. One of these people is a person I talk to regularly, at least a couple times a week, and it boggled my mind. Did he not think I would mention, at least offhand, that my book was being made into a TV show? Also, why would I still be going to my day job if the television rights to my book had been purchased?

On top of that, I have to scowl at these friends because clearly they never so much as read the description of my book, since the TV show isn’t remotely about the same things as my book.

I suppose in a world where books get made into movies and TV shows all the time, if someone gets a book published it’s a valid question to ask. Unfortunately, your book has to be super popular before that’s even an option, my friends.

My humorous answer on the list: Letting your work be turned into a movie is selling out to THE MAN, and besides, I don’t like money. See #7.

A more constructive answer: Not every book gets made into a TV show or movie, obviously. Those rights are separate from print rights, and they don’t get sold until a later time, IF your book is optioned for a TV show or movie (a side note to authors: a publisher should NOT try to purchase your TV and movie rights at the time of publication–only print rights). Most aren’t and never will be, but we can all dream, can’t we?

How about you? Have you made it to Hollywood yet?

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This week I’m going to finish up giving serious answers to the questions in my humorous post The Top 10 Things People Say to Writers, and How You Should Respond. So when you’re tired of being snarky this will help you give some constructive–and helpful–answers to your non-writer friends and family.

On to number seven!

7. Can you give me a free copy of your book?

When you have a book published, you’re probably going to find yourself with a mix of people in your life: people who want to support you and buy it right away, and people who expect you to just give them a copy. Of course, you probably will give some people your book. When my first book came out, I gave away about ten paperback copies (which I had purchased myself, at full price) to people who loved, supported, and stood by me for most of my writing career, and just people I really love in general. But these were also people who would never have their hand out expecting a free copy, either. They were delighted and humbled I gave it to them.

The truth is most publishers are not going to give you a free box of your books to give away, and they might not even give you a discount on buying your own books. Of course if you’re a huge, bestselling author with a big publishing house, you will get free copies to give away or use for promo, but that’s because the publishing house is already making their money back on you and more. Smaller publishing houses don’t have the money to print off a whole bunch of your books and give them to you to distribute, especially if you’re an unknown small fry. Yes, you do get free e-copies to give away, and giving away free e-copies isn’t even that difficult to do on your own. But trust me when I say people who want you to give them a free book usually don’t mean on their Kindle.

My humorous answer on the list: Sure thing. My publisher sends me crates and crates of books to give to people for free and I don’t want to make any money off my book anyway, so here you go.

A more constructive answer: I would love to give copies of my book away to everyone I know. The unfortunate truth is, I don’t have free copies to give away. If I want copies of my book I actually have to pay for them, and I might not even get a discount. I can show you where you can buy my book if you’d like, and I’d be happy to let you know when it goes on sale.

Have you ever had someone in your life expect a free copy of your book?

By the way, if you’re in the U.S. HAPPY ECLIPSE DAY! I got my glasses all ready and I can’t wait to watch!

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For the next couple weeks, I’m giving serious answers to the questions in my humorous post The Top 10 Things People Say to Writers, and How You Should Respond. So when you’re tired of being snarky this will help you give some constructive–and helpful–answers to your non-writer friends and family.

On to number six!

6. Where do you get your ideas from?

This is such an impossible question for me to answer, especially if it comes from someone who doesn’t write. People who don’t write probably think ideas manifest fully formed, in their entirety, and are sparked by one thing–but nothing could be further from the truth. When I write, I’m mostly making stuff up as I go along. When I get an ‘idea’ for a book it’s really just a nebulous notion of something I kind of want to shoot for–but I might end up completely off target. Also, books are a series of ideas, that come from all sorts of places, and it’s hard to identify just where sometimes. Explaining where the seed of story came from might be easier, but again, it’s not always one place.

For me, I also find ideas in the storytelling itself. It’s how my brain works. If you don’t write, it’s difficult to explain how the act of writing is actually an act of creation that unfolds hand over hand, and I’ve been doing it for so long that’s how my thought patterns work now. It takes practice, and it takes time.

My funny reply on the list: I could tell you that, but then I’d have to kill you. Hmm, there’s an idea for a story…

A more constructive answer: Ideas come from a lot of places, and there’s a lot of ideas that go into one story. Some come from things I’ve seen and experienced. Some come from dreams, or fantasies, or other stories. Some come out of absolutely nowhere. But they don’t all come at once, and I’ve never been able to see an entire story from the beginning. That’s the great thing about writing. It surprises even the writer, all the time. Ask me where I got a specific idea, and I might be able to tell you.

What about you? How do you answer this oft-asked question?

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For the next couple weeks, I’m giving serious answers to the questions in my humorous post The Top 10 Things People Say to Writers, and How You Should Respond. So when you’re tired of being snarky this will help you give some constructive–and helpful–answers to your non-writer friends and family.

On to number five!

5. Do you know (famous author)?

I really only included this on the list because a curious, slightly odd coworker once quizzed me as to if I knew several famous romance authors, Diana Gabaldon among them. I suppose it’s an easy assumption to make, since writer’s conventions do happen all the time, and I’m sure a number of big-time authors know each other. Sadly, though, the only ~famous author~ I’ve ever rubbed shoulders with is Brandon Sanderson, and I can’t say I know the man. We just sat on several writing panels together, along with other authors, at a convention. He’s very nice and very focused.

It would be great if we did all get together, say once a month, in a big gymnasium somewhere and mingled and wrote together, maybe exchanged ideas and drank coffee and/or wine. Given the nature of writers and our squirrelly habits, it would either be the best party ever or the worst.

My funny reply on the list: Yes. We just got done having sex.

A more constructive answer: No, there’s a lot of us, and we don’t all hang in the same social circles. Do you know any famous people?

How about you? Have you ever met a famous author? Do you KNOW them?