Friday, March 13, 2009

How's the book doing?

I get this question a lot. I think it's kind of a default question, like how are the kids? People don't REALLY want to hear all the gory details, but after asking it they always stop, wait and look expectant--and I never know how to reply.

First because I never know what book they are talking about. Like right now, you ask me that and my mind will whirl like a Rolodex. The last book that came out? Or the last one you read? Or maybe the one coming up... The novel or the anthologies? Or maybe they mean the book I'm working on. In which case, the one I just got done reading galleys for, or the one that is due May 1? And there is always something else, like the YA full my agent is about to send out. It's doing lovely BTW--no one has had a chance to reject it yet.

So, what book?

Then there is the "doing" part of the question. Is this a numbers question? A dollar one? Or a writing one? Do they expect me to know how many copies have sold--and if I started quoting my latest statement, would it sound like a lot to them or like nothing? Dollar? Well, that's just rude, right? And writing...I'm pretty sure they don't want to hear how while I love my blood-drinking dwarf I just realized that my inciting incident was all wrong and it is hosing pretty much everything up and now I'm going to have revise--Yet. Again. Pull up a chair and let me share my woes.

Nope, no one wants to hear that.

So, what do I say? Who has a good answer for me? Is this a case where you should just smile and nod even if you know your last book tanked, your current publisher is about to dump you and you got 20 one star reviews at Amazon?



Ann Aguirre said...

That's a tough one.

It's a bit like "how are you" on the surface. You have to know your target audience. If it's a person asking to be polite, they probably don't want to know that your feet hurt and you have a headache. Likewise with the book question.

Lori Devoti said...

Yeah, I think that too, except when you say "fine, I guess." There is usually a follow-up question, like "You don't know?"
I guess I just need to be more comfortable lying and say GREAT with a big confident smile. ;-)

misa ramirez said...

Say, 'Great! Did you buy and read your copy yet? Better get it before the bookstore's out of stock."

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Lori, I LOVE Misa's answer!!! Thanks for sharing it Misa...I'm using it next time I'm asked!!!

Ann Aguirre said...

You could also go with the random and confusing answer.

"Fabulous! It just bought a tri-level duplex in Oxnard, and it seems to be getting serious with an issue of Maxim. I expect them to visit me with a passel of novellas and novelettes any day now."