5 Things Not To Say To Writers... And 5 Things To Definitely Say

Last week I blogged about the first world problems of a published author. Yes, our live are pretty awesome. Are the easy? No. We’ve still got problems. They’re just not query trenches problems… and no, I don’t think any of us would ever trade it.

Today, I’d like to talk about things that are said to me… often. They aren’t bad things, or insulting things (although I do get those too, just usually not related to my writing). They’re just… things that I hear a lot, and I’m guessing other authors do, too.

Again, I don’t have a hard life. Consider this post first-world problems of a published author, part two.

5 Things Not To Say

1) You Still Publishing Books? Yes, because it’s my only form of income. I doubt lawyers, doctors, farmers or teachers are often asked if they are still in their chosen career path. But here’s the other thing - what if the author you’re talking to is on a downswing? What if they can’t sell another book and their publisher dropped them and they don’t have an agent anymore? That’s incredibly painful, and not something that’s easily spoken about.

2) How’s The Book Selling? If the author is traditional published, they probably don’t know. We typically get our royalty statements once every six months, and they cover the period of time three to four months prior to that. If they are self-published they have a much better grasp on how the book is selling, but… did you just ask how much money they make?

3) You Should Make Your Book Into A Movie. We all would if we could. A movie requires things like actors, set designers, directors, producers, recording equipment, editors, and probably a million dollars. Movie making is incredibly difficult, very expensive, and best left to the people that do that for a living. We’re writers.

4) I Have The Idea For Your Next Book. No, I have the idea for my next book. Sounds like you have an idea for a book that you’re excited about. You should totally write it.

5) I Love Your Work! I Illegally Downloaded It! Cool. What do you do for a living and is there a way I can reap all of the benefits of it without paying you anything? Let me know.

5 Things To Definitely Say

1) What Are You Working On? Authors are usually pretty happy to talk about our work in progress. This is a safe question because even if the author isn’t under contract or hasn’t sold a book in awhile - or even if they lost their agent - chances are they are still writing, and would love a chance to talk about their current project.

2) Are You Going to Write A Sequel To… Most authors are going to love the fact that you’re asking for more of their work. In my case, I get this question all the time about A Madness So Discreet. I don’t mind answering honestly - as of right now, no. This is because a sequel generally only nets about 40% of the audience of the first book, and A Madness So Discreet hasn’t really sold well enough for my publisher to green light a sequel. But - the fact that you love it makes me happy, and this gives me the opportunity to encourage you to tell your friends about it, in the hopes a sequel could be forthcoming. Word of mouth is still the best marketing out there.

3) Your Book Made Me Feel… Honestly, I love hearing this. I made you feel!! I don’t even mind if it made you angry, or sad, or any range of negative emotions. A couple months ago I had a girl walk into one of my signings and say, “Mindy McGinnis, I’ve got a bone to pick with you.” I loved it. She was seriously aggrieved with the ending of one of my books, and I told her what a huge compliment that is to a writer.

4) Will You Sign My Book? Yes. Always. Forever. Twice, if you want. I’ve had people walk up to my table with a stack of all my published titles, then apologize for asking me to sign them. Don’t apologize! This is the highest compliment that can ever be paid to me. You love my work! You bought my books! The absolute least I can do is sign them for you. Personally, I don’t mind if people approach me in public, either. Don’t hold all authors to this, but if you see me and you have a book on you (or nearby), yes, yes, I will sign it for you. Of course I will, thank you for asking.

5) You Probably Don’t Remember Me, But I Met You At… Honestly, no we probably don’t. We see a lot of faces. But, this is still an excellent thing to say to us because you’re telling us you care enough about us, or our work, to come out and see us more than once. We’re all busy. Making time in your schedule to come to an event is a huge compliment, and signings are notoriously dull for authors. If you met us before, tell us! Give us a little reminder of where, and while we might not remember you, we can probably still recall the event, and thank you for being enough of a super fan to support us by coming out for events!

The Saturday Slash


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The boys of Asotin are dying. Great hook!

The golden boy, the popular boy, the loner boy––one by one, they’re being found dead in the small Washington town. At first, their deaths are ruled accidental: nothing more than >dumb boys doing dumb things. I'd rephrase to something more like *teens doing risky / dangerous things. You've got an array of descriptors for the boys above, but are all they all actually dumb? But as more of them start dying in increasingly violent fashion, it becomes clear there’s nothing accidental about what’s going on in Asotin.

Athena Briggs knows the boys that are dying. You arleady stated it's a small town, so just knowing them isn't that indicative of an actual relatinoship. As Asotin High’s star wide receiver, she’s competed side-by-side with them her whole life. Are all the boys athletes? Even the loner boy? And as the biggest player in school, she knows most of them off the field, too. Biggest player like her size, or player like with relationships / hearts? With the athletic references that come before, it lends context to the word player, so you might want to use a different one. The first time I read it I thought this meant she was a huge hulk.

Lila Perez also knows the boys that are dying.Again, just knowing them might not need to be stated, I'd go into the how of it right away instead. As the smartest girl in the town, she’s tutored most of them at one point or another. And as someone who can’t ever leave a puzzle unsolved, she wants to know why so many of them are dying.

Athena and Lila haven’t ever crossed paths before.In a small town? And apparently they have a class together? But when an English assignment throws them together, they find out that they have more in common than they first thought––including an interest in the recent deaths, and in each other.

With the local police force completely out of their depth, Athena and Lila take it upon themselves to find out the truth behind the boys’ deaths. Soon, they find themselves emerged in the secret, privileged side of Asotin­­––one that’s far more dangerous than either of them bargained for. It’s up to Athena and Lila to bring the killer to justice, even if the lines between right and wrong aren’t so clear anymore.

IS THERE SOMEWHERE is a YA psychological thriller complete at 65,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Kara Thomas, and ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen McManus.

Overall, this is great. You've got an unlikely female crime-fighting duo, great comp titles and a good setup. Tweak some of your wording here and you're good to go!

Cover Reveal & ARC Giveaway for Be Not Far From Me!

Okay readers, if you’re ready for another book from me… you’re going to have to wait a bit. Until March 3, 2020, to be exact. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t show you what it looks like. And, if you’re the impatient type, make sure to enter below for a chance to win an advance copy!

Don’t like to take chances… or just not that lucky? Either way, you can pre-order now, to be sure to have your copy on release day!

Hatchet meets Wild in this harrowing survival story from Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis.

The world is not tame.

Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she's alone - and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.