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TT #11: It Doesn't Hurt to Ask…But It Should

5 Mar 2008

Some days I think I need to change the blog title to “The Cranky Writer” because the TT is yet another list of things that annoy me. I occasionally lecture junior high, high school, and post-secondary students and I always encourage questions because there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Then I got these ones.

Please Don’t Ask

Number 1
Oh, you write those kind of books. Where do you get your ideas/inspiration? *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

Number 2
I’m single mom and I love to read but can’t afford to buy books, so I’m starting a review blog. Can you send me your books? And can you get other authors you know to send me their books, too? (I send out free books all the time, but don’t try to guilt me into it.)

Number 3
My wife/sister/cousin/girlfriend likes books. Can you get her some? Like the new Nora Roberts?

Number 4
You look nothing like your characters. (Uh, that’s because I don’t do Mary Sue fantasies.) And you look like you’re twelve. (I write fiction! It’s all made up! The human imagination is a wonderful thing.)

Number 5
Will you get my book published?

Number 6
Will you give me your editor’s phone number?

Number 7
You’re e-published. That’s not really published, is it?

Number 8
Okay, so you are published. You can afford to pick up the tab. Right? (Uh, no, I can afford to pick up the tab because I sold my soul to Big Business. Publishing affords me McDonald’s.)

Number 9
Is writing easy? It looks easy. I bet I can write a book if I really want to. (Then please do so and leave me alone.)

Number 10
Will you read my unpublished manuscript? (This one is strictly CYA because I don’t want you to accuse me of plagiarism if I ever write something similar to yours down the road.)

Number 11
[Insert trend] are popular right now. Why can’t you write a book like that? (No, because writing a book to meet a trend and not because I’m passionate about it turns my beloved hobby into a chore.)

Number 12
Will you write a story about me and my significant other? (Sorry, but I have more than enough voices in my head to keep me busy.)

Number 13
You’re opinionated and do a lot of bashing of books/authors/etc. on-line. Didn’t your mother tell you if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all? (Actually, Mom taught me to stand up for myself and my beliefs. And I only bashed one author–and that was because she was stealing other people’s words.)

21 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 Mar 2008 2:50 PM

    I promise never to ask you any of the things on your list. Happy TT. πŸ˜€

  2. 5 Mar 2008 5:05 PM

    Pussreboots — Thanks. πŸ™‚ I will point out, however, that there are other not-so-cranky writers out there who don’t mind these questions–even ones about their sex life.

  3. 5 Mar 2008 6:00 PM

    My favorite? “what are your New York published books?” It’s such a derisive comment really designed to make someone feel bad – and I fall for it every time. sigh.

    Hey, I’m working on an author’s blog roll on my stories blog – I’ll add you.! πŸ™‚

    Happy TT – people suck.

  4. 5 Mar 2008 6:11 PM

    What about: “You know, I’ve often thought about writing a book.” or “I have a great idea for a novel. How about I tell you the story and you write it and we’ll split the profits 50/50?” ?

  5. 5 Mar 2008 6:57 PM

    So I shouldn’t ask you if you know Terry Pratchett? πŸ˜‰

    Lost Hemisphere’s TT #5

  6. 5 Mar 2008 8:52 PM

    Love. This. List.

    I get some of these because I write, I get others because I work in publishing!

  7. limecello permalink
    5 Mar 2008 9:43 PM

    Oh, those comments. That made me just as sad today, when one of my fourth grade classes didn’t know what the Civil War was. Or who we fought in the Revolutionary War. Or who led the troops in the American Revolution.
    #2 stuck out to me – that woman’s got some balls, I’ll say that. I wonder if it’s worked for her.

  8. 5 Mar 2008 11:35 PM

    On a Limb with Claudia – I love telling people that there are NY authors who submit to e-publishers because the money is (1) more regular and (2) can even be better.

    Nicholas – Dear God. At least they want to split the profits with you. I have people asking me to write custom-made stories for them–and just for them. I didn’t realize writers are supposed to take requests.

    gdaybloke – LOL. I thought Terry and I had a great thing going. We were going to write a book together! Then I got the restraining order. *sigh*

    Journeywoman – I keep thinking that one day I’m going to work some of this into a book. But my editor might reject it because it’s too far-fetched.

    limecello – That saddens me, too. I always found history fascinating (really, reading about the Napoleonic Wars or the American Revolution was like reading a novel for me), and I can’t understand how today’s kids would rather watch TV shows like “American Idol”.

  9. 5 Mar 2008 11:50 PM

    Wow, sounds like you deal with some rude people. I would carry around library applications.

  10. 6 Mar 2008 12:21 AM

    What a bunch of questions, that must be really frustrating.

    Amazing how many people feel that sense of entitlement.

  11. 6 Mar 2008 12:35 AM

    beeker – That is an excellent suggestion!

    Robin – There are people who make me pause, but thankfully I have a lot of readers who are wonderful people and make me want to write around the clock.

  12. azteclady permalink
    6 Mar 2008 5:18 AM

    I imagine that the worst part is how often these questions, and variations thereof, come at you. It’s amazing, people’s utter lack of self awareness, isn’t it?

  13. 6 Mar 2008 6:55 AM

    Oh my God. That is crazy. I’d be to embarrassed to ask any of those.

  14. 6 Mar 2008 8:18 AM

    i hate stupid questions — or maybe it’s just because it’s my time of the month. sorry. tmi.

  15. 6 Mar 2008 9:02 AM

    So, then, um… Can you get my book/manuscript/screen play looked at by your editor/agent?

    Yeah, that would drive me crazy too. No one ever asks people in MY profession stupid questions. Oh wait, yes they do.

  16. 6 Mar 2008 9:45 AM

    OMG- those are great, yet terrible at the same time! I hate stupid/mean/selfish questions. Screw those people. πŸ™‚

    Happy T13!

  17. 6 Mar 2008 10:16 AM

    That’s a great list! It’s amazing the stuff people will ask!

  18. 6 Mar 2008 4:09 PM

    Some people should keep their mouths shut and their ears open. Sounds like you got the group that believes otherwise.

  19. 6 Mar 2008 5:08 PM

    Fun list. I enjoyed it.

  20. 6 Mar 2008 11:45 PM

    I have used up my weekly Internet time today (yes, I have a self-imposed limit to wean myself of this addiction), so I’ll just add one comment:

    Corina – Yup, there are people whose filters between brain and mouth have much bigger holes than mine (I didn’t think that was possible) and I encounter my share of them, but I also have wonderful readers (or at least they claim to be readers of my work) who fill my inbox and make my day.


  1. Since You Asked… « The Not-so-deep Thoughts

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