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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stuff People Say to Authors

So when you become a published author, you discover that people say stuff to you. And while much of it is wonderful and supportive or just curious or whatever, some of it is just, well boggling.

In no particular order:

1. How many copies have you sold?
(answer: I have no idea. I don't sell the books out of the trunk of my car. I do get royalty statements and those give me the specifics, and I can in fact ask my agent and editors but that's not what this question means. This question presumes that I have a running tally in my head.)

2. What do you do all day?
(answer: I sit in dirty yoga pants and type. Sometimes I stare out the window. Then I type some more. I am not sure if this is what you want to hear.)

3. Are your books like Harry Potter/Twilight/The Hunger Games/Fault in Our Stars?
(answer: No. And yes. And no.)

4. How much do you make?
(answer: Do I ask your salary? Perhaps you are really asking how authors get paid. In that case, the answer is that we make an advance when we sell the book and we get half of that on signing the contract and half on completion. And when we earn out that advance through sales -- which is figured, more or less, on the royalty percentage-- we get royalties while the book is in print. If our publisher sells  our books at deep enough discount, this may occur only after a trillion books are sold.)

5. That seems like a lot of work. Why do you want to work so hard? (asked after asking me "How's the writing going?)
(Answer: Seriously? What kind of rain on my joy question is that? Begone with you. Nothing worth having comes without work. I LOVE what I do. It's the best kind of work. People PAY ME for making up stories. And yes, I'm neurotic some days, but seriously! I get paid for making stuff up.)

6. I'm going to write a book when I get the time.
(response: No you're not.)

7. Does anyone read anymore? There aren't even bookstores anymore, are there?
(answer: Yes. Yes they do. Lots of them. And did you know that there's been a revival of indie bookstores -- amazing places that love books and can't wait to put them in the hands of readers? In fact the indie book stores are doing better than ever.)

8. Still writing YA? Do you think you'll ever write an adult book?
(answer: So should I ask my child's pediatrician when she'll start treating adults?)

9. Would I like your books?
(Answer: I hope so. Sure. Why did you ask me that?)


6 comments:

Janet Gurtler said...

Joy you are the best and #8 answer is the best thing I've seen all week!

Hannah J said...

Ugh. These people sound annoying. Especially the ones who ask the "why bother?" question. Seriously, people? Because it is art, and art brings you joy but also pain. That's what art is. Emotion.

Dotti said...

These are great! And I'll add the "When are they going to make your books into movies?" question.

SKJoiner said...

Love these, Joy. Thanks!

Joy Preble said...

Yes, Dotti, I know! The movie question is another one. I always say, "You'll be the first to know." And yes, Janet Gurtler, I have actually said #8.

Also, Hannah, yes, it does really come down to matter of art and the artist's life. And sometimes -- not to open up a whole other can of worms-- I really do believe that mostly, men don't get asked the 'hard work' question. So there is a whole discussion about women in arts and the value of work that women do… Yeah. I see another post or 100.

Anonymous said...

I am grateful to all authors for providing imagination, entertainment and thought provoking ideas. Reading is my favorite hobby. Well, obsession. :) What about the question "Where do your ideas come from"? I read that one was an annoyance as well.