You've read the lists of questions writers hate. Now you want to avoid us. But, no, no, please don't go away! We really DO like you, and we need you as readers. Allow me to invite you into a discussion where your author friend does not bite your head off. Here are the questions we are dying for you to ask us.
1. "Why do you write?"
Sometimes the reason we are writing is more important to us than the actual book we are writing. Sure, some authors just have a story they want to get out. But usually, they want to get it out because they want someone to know the story. It's that someone that's important to us. We really want to tell you about them.
2. "What kind of books do you write?"
Asking "what kind" might be better than asking, "What's your book about?" Our books are usually at least 200 pages long, and we know you don't want to hear more than a sentence or two. We could never sum it up that consisely. But if we mention a type of book you like to read, we will happily direct you to a catalog or website that tells you about all of our books.
3. "Where can I find out about your book?"
Ah, phew. You have again let us escape that oh-so-difficult question of "What is your book about?" Most authors have gone to painstaking lengths to get their wording precise on their website. Usually, their website will tell you everything you ever needed to know about their books. I, for one, am terrible at composing words on my feet. I need time to sit down and type it all out. I need to SEE what I'm saying. (I guess that's why I'm a writer! Don't ever try to call me on the phone.) We try to consider you, the reader, as much as possible by linking our information to popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, etc., and we also try to make the names of these links as easy as possible to remember. (I thought www.tcslonaker.com was pretty easy.) Reading about our books on our websites also helps drive other traffic there as well by boosting our Google rating.
By the way, to read more about the YA Christian fantasy books I have written, click here. (after you finish this post, of course.)
4. "I usually find out about the books I like from [this blogger]. Have you ever heard of him?"
Maybe you have no interest in our books. That's fair. We can't please everyone. But you still want to help us out? Thank you! It is so hard to track down people who might like our books. The best way to do that is to go where the readers go. Getting us connected in any way to other potentially interested readers is just as good as getting the book yourself.
5. "Where can I get your book?"
Please ask. If you are asking, I'm sure it's because you want to help me out. Some well-intentioned friends will buy the books I have on consignment at book stores as a way to support me. Unfortunately, I only have those book in stores to give exposure to people who have never heard of me. I am selling them for less than I paid for them and am losing money on them. But hopefully I will gain a fan from it. Others have bought lots of print copies of my books, just because they thought I got more royalties from a print book since it is more expensive. In actuality, I make more royalties on ebooks, because they cost much less to produce. The bottom line is we want you to get what you like. But if your goal is to get more money in our pockets, ask us how to do that. And thanks in advance for that!
6. "Is there a way I can get your book for free?"
Don't be shy! I am always a little embarrassed to ask people to spend their hard-earned money on anything. (Did I mention what a terrible salesperson I am?) We might not be able to give you a free copy, since authors do have to buy their own books, but we might have ideas for you. For example, ask your local library to order it! Most libraries take requests from their patrons. Then, not only do you get to read it for free, it can be there for others to read, too!
7. "Should I leave you alone for a little bit?"
Tell the truth. Your impression of a writer is someone holed up in a room, finger thoughtfully poised on their chin, waiting for ideas. That isn't too far from reality sometimes, except that it is far from peaceful. While we are waiting for ideas, waiting for our brains to get in "the zone", we are getting nervous that the idea will never come. And while we are waiting and getting nervous, we are terrified of those brain waves getting interrupted. It happens. Life … happens. So, we understand your desire to hang out and talk with us. But if we could get just an hour of silence, we would probably get that idea and be so thankful.
8. "I read your book. Now what can I do for you?"
We aren't sure what to say when you tell us, "I read your book." Hopefully, you will also say that you liked it. (If you didn't, we KNOW you wouldn't have brought it up.) But we are bursting to say, "Then please tell someone about it!" We will be happy to explain ways you can do that. Don't be scared of the word, "review." We aren't looking for a whole blog post (unless that's what you do). A review could be as easy as going on Amazon and saying, "I really liked this book. The main character was very believable." Done. By just doing that one little step, you told Amazon that you believe other people should read the book, and they will "recommend" it to others for you.
9. "Will there be another book coming after this one?"
This is a kinder variation than, "When's the next book?" I am learning that it is hard to get a release date nailed down. There are more variables involved than even I know about. I had no idea when my last book was going to be released. So when I was asked - almost daily - "When is your book going to be out?" I started avoiding all people. Trust me, we won't be shy about letting you know when our next work is out.
10. "Would you sign my book?"
You aren't a bother! We love to feel like a celebrity, even if we have only sold less than 100 books in total. And hey, we can use the practice in case we ever do make it big. You can say you got one of the first signed copies. And if we never make it big? Well, you still made us feel good. Thanks.
So now that I have put these questions out for you, I'd love to answer them for you! Which conversation would you like to have with me?
Because I love even numbers and lists!