Monday, January 10, 2011

A Daily Dose of What Not To Ask Authors

I first want to thank @David7118 on Twitter for today's topic. I'm thinking this could be fun.

Disclaimer: Sarcasm is only one of the services I offer. It's used freely in this post, though oddly there is often some truth in sarcasm. ;)

Romance authors are interviewed and asked questions all the time. Some questions are pretty good and a lot of fun to answer while others are asked so often they become second nature and others still leave us scratching our heads as we try to think of an answer (or even try to figure out what the person asking is really asking because sometimes it's just not that clear.)

And then, as indicated in today's title, there are those questions that you just shouldn't ask an author. Especially if you do not know them very very well as those are typically when these types of questions become really inappropriate.




~ Who do you not like to read? Are you kidding? Are you really asking me to badmouth a fellow author? No, I am not answering this. Now, are there authors I refuse to buy either because of them as a person or what they write? Sure. Am I saying who? NO!

~ Would you give me your book for free? Um, no. If I wanted to give my work away for free it would be a free download on my website. When it has a price, we authors tend to want that price to be paid.

~ The personal ones like: Do you base the characters in your books on your own life? Is your life as exciting as in your books? And one of my personal least-faves as a romance author: Is your sex life as crazy as in the books? Okay, I'll be a little fair here. No, I do not base my FBI women on me. I'm not in the FBI. No, I did not base the agoraphobic witch on me. I'm neither agoraphobic nor magical. As for the excitement... No, my life is not filled with intrigue and danger unless you count the mystery of what katzenjammer (uproar) I'll be addressing next thanks to 2 kids, 3 cats, a dog, a husband, and a day job. My life's not dull, but I don't go on treasure hunts or face down killers or evil wizards. As for the last one, can you say none of your business? Come on people. Think before you ask some of these things.

~ Will you read my book? Enter a contest if you want feedback. Find a critique partner. Okay fine, if you write and get published a book I think is interesting sure. But don't ask authors to read your stuff unless they've offered or you've taken the time to get to know them very well. And don't be offended if the answer is no. Many authors work day jobs and have families on top of the demands of writing deadlines and business.

~ Why don't you write a book about "X"? Simple. I don't want to. If we wanted to write a book about a particular topic we would. Granted, there are times when we would like to write whatever the question is about but it's not necessarily the case. Like when a romantic suspense author (hello, me) receives an email asking why I don't write books about, oh I don't know fairies, because no one else is doing it correctly. One, surely someone out there is following the mythology you believe is accurate. Secondly, don't send me email upon email with attachment upon attachment of said research and mythology. I'm not opening your attachments and risking viruses on my computer. Again, come on guys.

~ Will you introduce me to your editor/agent? I have many many friends who I know very well who have agents and/or editors I would like to work with. Never have I asked one of them for an introduction unless they'd first offered it. It just puts everyone in a weird spot. And the same goes for asking an author to pass your book to their agent or editor. Just assume the answer is going to be no of some form or another.

~ Why can't you write bestselling books I would enjoy reading? Wow. Why don't you just slap us open handed across the face as hard as you could next time? It would be preferred.

Now, there are way more questions we get asked that are just bizarre or shockingly inappropriate, but I think you get an idea here. Right? So the next time you talk with an author, think about what it is you're saying. Save both of us some embarassment if possible.

Nikki's latest work is an anthology with Mackenzie McKade and Cathryn Fox. Mackenzie's book is available this week with Cathryn's and Nikki's coming soon. Check them out for more information.

What do you get when you combine three couples and one secret bet? An all out smoking hot reunion.


  1. Spot on, Nikki! I chuckled all the way through this post. "Simple. I don't want to." Made me snarf coffee on my computer screen.

    Congratulations on your CAPA final! When is your next release?

  2. As unpublished, I don't get these questions but the ones I do get often when someone (non-writer) finds out I'm writing or have written a book is "Are you going to publish it?" and "Can I read it?".... Well meaning but nothing better to bring down the feeling of accomplishment at having written something ;)

    The one that really has me stumped is the "Wow, is it a *real* book or just a romance....... Umm yeah... That's a conversation killer!

  3. Lisa I would apologize for the screen, but I'm not really sorry. At least since it's not ruined. :)

    And thanks for the congrats, Lisa. My next release is the third part of the anthology which will be out next month just before Valentine's Day.

    Oh Kim do I know what you mean. When I got my first contract I got the "you mean a real book?" question. Excuse me? Is there a fake book?

  4. Loved the post. I think we're talking to some of the same people.

  5. So does this mean that we can't ask how you managed to achieve some of those great positions in your books if we can't find them in the Karma Sutra to see how they would suggest? (Does CIS have to peel you off the ceiling now?) LOL I also see you found a use for the katzenjammer. Very good.

    P.S. Joy put me up to this.

  6. lol, love your humor, Nikki :)
    And I'm looking forward to your next release!! I actually had a dream I was talking to you about your upcoming titles, lol