13 Things You Should Never Say to an Author!


Being a writer is a lot harder than most people think. The same holds true for most jobs that fall into the art world. We all love to admire art and the artist who create the things we enjoy, but there is a disconnect between that love and understanding of the work involved. That leads many people to wrongfully assume that the work is not as complicated as other forms of work.

You hear the word doctor, rocket scientist, or teacher, for example, and you instantly respect that individual for the hard work and dedication their job title demands. The same respect, however, is not given to those bearing the title of, actor, writer, musician, or painter.

The arts contribute so much to our society, and yet people forget that. What would our lives be like without music, television, paintings, books, statues, movies, poetry, etc? Imagine that world for just one moment. Look around your home. See how sterile and boring your life would be if you removed all art forms from your life.

Just because a type of work is difficult for you to comprehend, does not make it less valuable. Nor does it make a person, who’s passion drove them into that career, less valuable or deserving of your respect. Remember that. Hug an artist. They probably need it.

With that said, and being an author myself, I thought it might be fun to explore some of the things you should probably never say to an author.


“I want to write a book someday.”
That’s awesome. Here’s the difference between a writer and someone who wants to write. They…wait for it…..Write!
It’s like walking, in the fact that you must put one foot in front of the other, over and over again to get somewhere. People want to write, but they don’t want to do the work. Because it is actually work. Hours upon hours of work. Books take anywhere from 5-10 drafts before being ready for the public to read. And, at about 60-80k words per book, that’s a lot of writing and rewriting to do. Writing takes a lot more than just a desire to tell a story. It takes dedication to the craft of storytelling.

“I wish I had time to write.”
Do you live in some alternate universe where time moves differently? I’m a mom, from sun up to sun down I’m running interference for three kids, four if you count my husband. On top of that I run my own business, write three books a year, and still manage to carve out time for my Game of Thrones addiction. I have the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else does. It goes back to the point above, dedication. If you want to write, you do. Don’t make excuses. Just like any other job, you clock in and out for your shift. If you want to be a writer, you have to put in the time.

“I've got a great idea. You can write it.”
You’re cute. No!
You have an idea, you write it. There are no shortcuts in this job. Let me make that clear. This is my job. If you want to write, great, do it.

“I don’t read.”
I just can’t even. Sorry. No. Next!

“You must be rich.”
Ha ha ha ha.. *dies laughing*

So you’ve only heard of a few big name authors in your life? Well let me tell you something. Behind those very few people are literally hundreds of thousands of authors who grind out book after book who’s royalties earn them less than minimum wage.
That ebook you bought for $3.99 and complained about last week. The author of that book (if they were indie) probably spent about $1000 of their own money to produce (not including time spent writing it). Often more than that. And they don’t get that entire $3.99 per sale. Most are lucky to get 60-70% of that if there are no additional digital fees. And they still have to pay for their production costs before they can use any of those earnings to pay for things like… I don’t know… electricity, water, food, etc…
If they were a traditionally published author, that ebook was probably $7.99 and the author might only see about 10% of that in their quarterly royalty check.
Most authors, indie and traditional, have to cover their own marketing cost to make sure people like you know that their book exists. That usually eats away the author’s royalties.
Bottom line, you have to sell a shit ton of books just to earn enough to feed yourself. As I said above, passion drives us toward this career. You really have to love storytelling to be a writer. It’s not a job one does to get rich. Most authors have other jobs so they can pay their bills.

“How many books have you sold?”
Honey, you don’t want to go there. Unless you do, and we can both pull out our financial records and compare. How much to do you make? What tax bracket are you in? How many deductions do you qualify for? See how rude that question is? Don’t be that person.

“Are you real published or fake published?”
Are you a real person or a fake person? See how rude that is? Ten years ago, independent publishing was looked on as vanity publishing by the elitists in the Big 5. With the introduction of ebooks, kindle in particular, publishing became more accessible to a larger portion of the writer community. But that does not mean project managing and funding the production of your book makes you any less of an author. To bring a book to market via the indie model, an author has to be so much more than just a writer. And as I have said above, either model is not a direct path to riches or fame. It is just another method of getting your stories in reader’s hands.

“Where have you been published?” 
Where do you buy books? You’ll find me there. Go ahead and look.

“Have you written anything I’ve heard of?”
I’m a writer, not a mind reader, dear. I have no clue what books you’ve heard of.

“You should write a best seller!”
Hey, great idea! *Cries every night into my pillow* Working on it.

“You write romance, right?”
Look, just because I’m a girl does not mean I write romance. Yes, there are romantic elements to many stories I write, but I’m not a Romance writer. Take a peek at my booklist and read the backs of the books. The summary is there. You can tell straight away what genre you’ve just wandered into.

“You should turn your book into a movie!”
Let me just pull out my magic wand and make that dream come true. Hey, I share your thought here. I believe more book to movie adaptations should be done. But Hollywood is a machine all its own. So, until that happens, go ahead and enjoy the movie in your mind while reading my book, m’kay?”

 “Can I have a free copy?”
While I do occasionally send out review copies, I make my living from book sales. That would be like me asking you to perform whatever job function you do for free. You’re a carpenter? How about you build me a house for free? Doctor? Hey can you fix my broken leg for free? Teacher? How about you teach my child for free? See how that sounds? Most of my books cost $10 in print and my ebooks are cheaper than a cup of coffee. 

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