October 20, 2015

How To Ask A Writer What Her Book Is About

How to ask a writer what her book is about #write31days
A writer's book is a piece of their heart. It is blood poured out for your reading pleasure. It is sweat and tears and chaos and sunshine and words birthed from a soul-fountain. It is not simple. It is not graceful. It is not quick. It is not easy.

So how do you ask a writer what her book is about?

Very carefully.

I dread this question. Not because I don't want to share but more because I don't know if I can trust your query.

1. Do you actually care?
3. Why do you really want to know?

Be genuine.
Don't ask unless the answer actually means something to you. Don't patronize me. Don't string me along. Don't feign interest. Don't pick at your hangnails and nod at my forehead. Look me in the eye. Ask intelligent questions. Be present.

Be patient.
I'm an introvert. I probably don't trust you. Unless I know you personally I'll want to understand why you're asking the question. Are you genuinely interested? Do you actually read anything? Is this just space-filling-small-talk through which you'll be daydreaming about what's for dinner? I need a moment to gauge your authenticity. I need to know I can trust you with my plot-line. I need to know you really care before I allow myself into the vulnerable position of sharing where I've been spilling my heart for the last week...months...years...

Be gentle.
Unless I'm very close to the end I may not know fully what my book is about. I'll know what I want it to be. I'll know the general themes and genre {hopefully} but I may not have a complete pitch ready and I need you to be okay with that. Don't push for more information than I hand over willingly. I'm not going to share my plot twists or favourite moments because I wrote those moments so my story will capture you in a moment. I'm not willing to blow that just to impress you during a friendly conversation.

Be encouraging.
So you only read books about vampires that sparkle? Good for you! But that doesn't mean my idea is invaluable. If you don't like my pitch, that's totally fine - just please don't crush my spirit. Mean people suck! Don't be mean.

Other {not so scary} questions to ask a writer

How/why did you choose your title?
What inspired your story?
What do you like to read? Are you writing in that same genre?
What have you learned while writing your book?

Other {really awesome} things to say to a writer

You're so inspiring!
I can't wait to read it!
Will you sign a copy for me someday?
You're so smart, funny, pretty, special...and all the other really nice things!

All joking aside...tread gently around a writer like me. I'm quite likely to stutter, blush, cry, shrug you off, or run away.

So be genuine. Be patient. Be gentle. Be encouraging.

And don't be mean {or you might end up in one of my books as the character who chokes to death on a chow mien noodle}

{click the image above to see all the #write31days posts}
Share This:    Facebook Twitter


  1. Very good, and quite true. I do have the desire to have people ask about my works, but I don't want them to do so out of compunction. In my head, I think my ideas should be so awesome, that others can't help but want to ask about them. However, sometimes I wonder if others are afraid to ask as well, because they're afraid they may not like something, or because they think 'well why would this very talented writer ever care what I think about their work.'

    1. Why would anyone think we wouldn't care what other people think??? Unless of course they think we're terrible - in that case they should stay far away...but for all the rest? Yes! Please! Tell us how amazing we are ;)

  2. Love this. FYI even us extroverts (well technically I'm an introverted extrovert so maybe that us why...) might run away, not trust, get majorly freaked out. We just seem braver than we really are. (Often introverts make us a bit nervous because they see to have it all together while we fumble around clumbsily. Lol)

    1. Glad to know introverted writers and extroverted writers can all be weirdos together :)

  3. I love this, Alanna! Thank you for putting our feelings on paper/screen.

    1. I'm actually surprised to find how this has resonated with people. I often think I'm all alone in this weird writing world but I'm happy to learn that's not the case at all!

  4. You are.not alone. Just the only one brave enough to hit "publish"

  5. You are.not alone. Just the only one brave enough to hit "publish"


I love comments and I appreciate, consider and read each one. I welcome your thoughts, whether you're in agreement or not; however, this website is a happy place and I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like.

Blog Archive

Thanks for visiting!

Follow by Email