Tuesday, October 17, 2006

FAQs

With the exception of Shannon Stacey, writers are very hot to put up FAQ pages about themselves. So are publishers. I'm FAQ-challenged, I guess. Or maybe it's because I can answer most questions with two basic responses: Just shut up and write or Wear some bunny slippers.

There's also that deja vu feeling I get when I read some FAQ pages; I flash back to reading all those job resumes from people who weren't qualified for a position I'd advertised. Or finding a Wikipedia bio that goes on and on and on for an author who only has two books in print; beautifully worded but complete B.S.

No one ever lists the real FAQs authors receive, like from:

Reviewers: Will you send me an ARC?

eBay Seller-Reviewers: I'm a huge fan -- will you send me a signed ARC?

Nonwriters: I have a great idea for a book -- will you write it for me, and let me publish it under my name, and I'll give you half of the royalties?

Yet to be Published Writers: Would you recommend me to your editor/agent?

Yet to be Published Paranoid Writers: Did you tell your editor/agent to reject me because you hate me?

Yet to be Published Egotistical Writers: Did you tell your editor/agent to reject me because you're jealous of me?

Colleagues: Can I get a quote from you? (always tagged with: My editor needs it next week so you don't have to actually read my manuscript.)

Single Colleague at Con: Will you have a drink with me?

Single Alcoholic Colleague at Con: Ayyyyy, buy me a widdle drink, shweetie?

Married Colleague at a Con: Pssstt! Would you stop by my room after 4 a.m., and use the stairs instead of the elevator?

New colleague: Did you know I read your books in middle school? (or) Wow, do you know you look SO much older in person?

Parent: When are you going to get a job?

Spouse: When are you going to get a REAL job?

Rookie Agent: Are you happy with how badly you're being represented?

Your New Editor: Can you come to my sixteenth birthday party?

If you're going to create an FAQ page and lie your ass off in the process, at least make the questions more entertaining, i.e.:

Weren't you the one who really broke up Brad and Jen?

Is it true that J.K. Rowling calls you when she hits a plot snarl?

Why did you turn down that huge recording contract with Def Jam?

How did you make your first billion?


I like hateful questions myself, so for fun I made up a PBW FAQs page with a few of those. To generate one of your own, stop by The Javascript Source's FAQs Maker.

Your turn: As a writer, what question are you most frequently asked? Be honest.

38 comments:

  1. The question I'm most frequently asked, without a doubt, is this:

    When are you going to write a REAL book?

    I'm training myself to transcend the rage this question inspires. Results of said training are thus far inconsistent.

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  2. Oh, that's wicked! The "most hateful writer" answer made me snort at work, a dangerous risk.

    And you led me to a neat bit of free software to boot!

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  3. FAQ: "How do you do it?"

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  4. My most Frequently Asked Question: "Can you take the trash out?"

    Oh, was this about writing? :)

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  5. Anonymous2:20 AM

    I finished the new Wilderness 300,000 word novel in a week! When's the next one coming out?

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  6. Looks like you get FA'd the same Q's as me. I just put a FAQ page on my site the other day and now it looks like I copied your examples above ;-)

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  7. Because I write for teens I get, "When are you going to write a real book?"

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  8. Anonymous7:45 AM

    "You write? But you have a real job."

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  9. You answered them all. No point in any writer ever doing another FAQ again.

    Sure it's all about you, you, you, but how could there be better answers?

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  10. Anonymous8:27 AM

    Glad I'm not the only one with the "real book" problem. "Have you ever thought about writing a real book instead of fantasy or science fiction?"

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  11. Anonymous9:09 AM

    Why don't you write a novel? (from those who have read some of my short story stuff, as though I can snap my fingers and make it happen)

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  12. Snort! Hahahahahahaha! Must avoid reading this sort of thing at work. People will think I'm loonier than they already do. Mind you, if it keeps them away...

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  13. Constantly...
    are you going to write such and such book and why didn't you put such and such together instead of THOSE two...

    why haven't you written this yet

    why do you do so many threesomes ?

    I did put together an FAQ page just cuz I get tired of answering the same questions over and over. Except, people still keep asking the same questions over and over.

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  14. 1) Which real people in your life are your characters based on?

    2) How's the book doing? (Which is really the vague way of asking, "How much money are you making?")

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  15. Should you be so twitish as to tell anyone you have just finished a novel, the inevitable question is "When's it coming out?"

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  16. I don't get a lot of questions but I got this lovely gem from my step-mother: Are you required to have a certain number of sex scenes? (said with the face of a woman who just swallowed pickle juice). I, of course, told her there were about four in each 100 page novella which meant a single title erotica should have a minimum of 12.

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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  17. Oh that FAQ link is priceless! I just wanted to let you know I think you might have gotten me in trouble because of the loud snort I've let out at work, making all the other office drones give me funny looks :).

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  18. LOL

    Love the FAQ link.

    "Mom, can you move the laundry along?" is my #1 FAQ ... but I'm not published yet. Although some do ask "How's the writing going?", I doubt they're asking out of anything other than politeness.

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  19. I have two FAQ:

    1. "Ebook, huh? So, are you REALLY published?"

    Grrrrr!

    2. "Hey, I've got a story at home! Would you please read it and tell me what you think?"

    Uh, hello? I'm busy writing and working on my own stuff.

    *sigh*
    Sabrina Luna )O(

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  20. "Can I have a cookie?" is my most frequently asked question. And the answer is usually "not until you've finished your lunch".

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  21. "Are you EVER going to do laundry again?"

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  22. SAbrina.......tell them you charage a buck a page =)

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  23. Most of my questions have been about my podcast lately; the most notable of those being "How do you get your kids to stay so quiet?" I must add that my lawyer reminds me not to answer that question. (big wink)

    But as for writing the most annoying FAQ I hear is: "A writer? Are you published?" As though you aren't a writer until your book is in print. Perhaps the least annoying is: "How do you find the time?" But come on, I can't give away all my secrets....

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  24. Anonymous12:37 PM

    First, your FAQ generator is friggin' hilarious. Thanks.

    Okay, here's the most asked question, from aspiring writers or the just-first-time published:

    "Why aren't you doing something for me?"

    (And I understand their feeling, however futile and self-serving. They think that it really is "who you know" that gets you anywhere. Unless your parent is a mega-selling writer or celebrity, "who you know" is meaningless in the face of "what you create for yourself that no one else can give you.")

    Second most-frequently-asked, always from readers:

    "Why aren't you writing specifically the kind of book I want to read when I pick up your books?"

    My answer: I'm not delivering groceries to your door. I'm writing novels.

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  25. They most frequently Q: "Where do your ideas come from?"

    My A: "The Idea Fairy."

    Terrific blog.

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  26. *dies laughing*

    Fuckin' priceless.

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  27. Anonymous4:03 PM

    My *most* common question is:

    "Do I have any clean underwear?" followed closely by "What's for supper?"

    My most common writing related question is "You seem so nice! How do you write such disturbing things?" or the ever popular "Do you Nano?" ;)

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  28. In reference to my paranormal worlds: How do you come up with this stuff?

    I do have a FAQs page on my website, but it's more to answer recurring questions about my two main series, not general writing questions.

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  29. Hahahaha! Oh, these are great! My #1 most F'd asked question is: Do you do all the kinky things you write about in your books?

    My reply: Why, yes, of course I do. And I also shape shift into a huge wolf and run naked through the woods every chance I get, too. :P

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  30. Most common question: "Can I watch TV yet?"

    Far worst, in my case, are the questions not asked by the people who know I've been working on the same novel for five years. The untenable silence. The fact that no one asks to read it, and lately, "why don't you forget the novel and take some writing classes."

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  31. "So...are you making a lot of money?" This one never fails to piss me off and comes from family, friends and strangers alike. The first thing out of their mouth and they want to know about money!

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  32. Your New Editor: Can you come to my sixteenth birthday party?--Hilarous.

    Loved your FAQ too!

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  33. :) Too funny.

    I hear, "I've got an idea, help me write it." type stuff.

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  34. "That's great that you've written so many novels, but when are you going to write a 'real' book?"

    My favorite question has to be the one below.

    "What kind of books do you write?"

    I answer them, only to receive the following statement.

    "Oh, (disappointed sigh) you write trashy novels. I've read a few of those. Seems like they're all the same. I bet they're not hard to write. Maybe I'll try to write one."

    To which I reply, "Knock yourself out, Sparky."

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  35. "So what do you do?"
    I'm a writer.
    "Are you published?"
    No.
    "Oh."

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  36. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Jordan, you're shameless.

    Lately my most FAQ has been "How did you meet PBW?"

    L.

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  37. Darlene, you write real books.

    Holly, the correct answer is, "No. Figure it out. You have two hands and a brain and can either reach the washer and dryer or can figure out how." And if they go out and break their arms, tell them to figure it out again.

    My most frequently asked question is, "How long are you going to keep this job?" (Since March, I've been responsible for at least five different jobs -- one which was added on just this week (I made the mistake of telling my boss on Friday that I almost had my arms around the current assignment -- at least I get to stay in the same office. But seriously, we had a pregnant person get put on bedrest on Friday, so she'll be gone for three to four months; we've divided her job between three people, and I got part of it.).

    The vast majority of people I know in person do not know I write (Holly and my hubby are two notable exceptions). The few people I've mentioned it to never ask about it.

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  38. "What's your secret to getting: multiple offers/such a quick sale/an auction..."

    If I knew, babe, I'd bottle it and really make some money.

    Also, it's usually from strangers and if I give them advice, they usually never ever ever ever ever write back.

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