Facebook

02 January 2019

Stop Being So Nosy! | IWSG


The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's question is:

"What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about writing?"

Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. You can see how I answered the question below.


* * *


"I'd like to ask you some questions if you don't mind," Simon said with a smile on his face. "But first, let me get you a cup of coffee."

Actually, that's not what he said at all. First of all, he's a very large and very grumpy gray cat. I don't think I've ever seen what passes as the feline equivalent of a smile on his face. Scowls, sure, I've seen plenty of them. And considering his lack of opposable thumbs, getting me a cup of coffee was out of the question, even if he wanted to, which is highly doubtful.

Here's what really happened.

"Hey, wake up, lady," Simon said, standing on my chest and batting me on the nose with his paw. "You gotta answer some questions. But first, get me a saucer of full-fat milk."

After I rubbed some anti-bacterial cream into the scratches he had left on my nose and given him his dairy fix, I reluctantly sat on the couch and prepared for Simon's interrogation.

"Question #1 - why do you write such stupid books? I mean come on, books about a stupid lady who believes in alien abduction. No one wants to read that nonsense."

I ignored this question and filled up my coffee cup.

Simon growled. "Hey, lady, I'm not finished. Question #2 - how much money do you make selling books?"

"Not enough," I said.

"Then you're going to have to get a job at Walmart," Simon said. "I have needs."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. You need cat food, catnip, and milk. Maybe you should be the one getting a job."

"Cats don't work. That's why we have humans - to take care of us." Simon jumped on my lap. "Question #3 - how come nobody wants to buy your books? Oh, wait, I can answer that - cause your books are stupid."

I shoved Simon off my lap. "Hey, people buy my books."

"Your mom doesn't count," Simon said while sharpening his claws on one of my throw pillows.

"You know what I think would sell really well?" Simon stared at me blankly. "A book about a cat who never got to have full-fat milk again."

Simon narrowed his eyes and hissed. Then he hacked up a hairball on the throw pillow he had just shredded. I sighed. There wasn't going to be enough coffee to get through this day.


* * *

It's strange. For some reason, I don't like telling people how many books I've sold or how much money I've made writing. Considering I freely share how much we spend each month on our blog, you'd think that wouldn't bother me, but for some reason it does. Maybe if one day, I sell a million books or make a million dollars, that will change, but for now, I do my best to change the subject when people ask me about sales or income.

There are questions that people ask which I'm happy to answer - like how I went about publishing my cozy mysteries and what publishing route I took (you can find all sorts of posts on the subject over on my author blog), why I enjoy cozy mysteries, and if I can feature their pet in an upcoming book (three of my friends' dogs are going to make an appearance in Poisoned by the Pier). Of course, I certainly never mind when anyone asks where they can buy a copy of my book. :-)

What kinds of questions do people ask you that you wish they wouldn't? How do you answer them? What kind of questions do you love getting?


The latest Mollie McGhie cozy sailing mystery is now available! Pick up a copy of >>Bodies in the Boatyard<< at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play

Paperback & Large Print available at: Amazon

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

81 comments:

  1. Oh, Simon! :)

    It's funny, because I would never think to go up to anyone else and ask how much they make at their job/career/passion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's strange isn't it. I think some people think it's okay to question people about the creative pursuits in ways they wouldn't if it was about a more traditional occupation.

      Delete
  2. You shouldn't have to tell people that! Do they ask how much money your husband makes?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's rude for people to ask that! Like Madeline I would never ask that kind of question. Strange what people think is acceptable to ask writers.
    Simon of course is hilarious as always. Love him even though he is rude LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simon says hi. You're now one of his favorite people :-)

      Delete
  4. I like the idea of ignoring people who ask stupid questions even if it's a cute furry cat!

    ReplyDelete
  5. If someone ever asked me how much I make selling books, I'd laugh and say "close to nothing." lol I also don't know how many books I've sold (traditionally pubbed) but I know it's nothing to brag about. Those questions are annoying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being self-published, I find it fascinating how much less info trad published authors have about their sales, and any that they get is delayed by quite a bit.

      Delete
  6. A job at Walmart - LOL! Simon is not good for your ego.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Simon cracks me up. He's so feline and that's a good thing. Never a dull moment.

    I would never ask you how much money you make on anything. Too personal.

    I will say you need all the money you can get since your boat is on the hard.

    Have a fabulous day and rest of the week, Ellen. Big hug. ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true about needing all the money we can get just now. Maybe I will need to get that job at Walmart :-)

      Delete
  8. LOL Simon is such a jerk! I hate when people ask me things like that too, though they usually phrase it "is your book doing well?" though they do ask me how many I've sold sometimes. It's actually very hard to answer, considering I only get statements once a quarter, and if you're trying to make sense of how many books you've sold on Amazon going by rankings...good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I'll ever be able to figure out Amazon's rankings and other algorithms. It's all a mystery to me :-)

      Delete
  9. No one needs to know but you. I just hope the numbers make you happy. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The numbers do make me happy. Even if they're not huge, I'm still amazed that people buy my books, even complete strangers.

      Delete
  10. That's just rude. I can't imagine asking such a thing. I actually hate when some writers want to talk and talk when we meet up to, supposedly, write. ~shakes head~ It's even worse when they blabber on about their story to get suggestions. lol Thank you for the kind word on our sick kitty. She's being great taking her medications. And her crying for attention has eased off, so I wonder if that long lasting antibiotic shot the vet's touted last fall left her with a low grade infection all these months. ~sigh~ Though it's not like we had much choice in September, already on our way out of state before we got the news, it would've been nice to know then that Convenia isn't as effective on certain types of infection. We would have insisted on a urinalysis weeks ago. I pray we'll knock it out once and for all. She's a good cat. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and Simon, you're on skim from now on. Heh...

      Delete
    2. Simon would like to have a word with you about skim milk. He's not too happy about your suggestion. :-)

      Delete
  11. I've told my cat several times to get a job. He owes me a lot of rent money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure your cat ignored you when you said that :-)

      Delete
  12. I absolutely blow through royalty advances and freelance pay faster than I can produce x10. No one can live on that alone. We make money as artists in other ways. Podcasts, monetized channels and subscription base product.

    I'm with you Sarah Foster. I wish Peaches could at least get up and make breakfast or something. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Peaches has life figured out. Why get up and make breakfast when her human can do that for her. :-)

      Delete
  13. My cat and dog both need jobs - other than looking cute and scampering around the house.
    It's funny that I just realized while reading other people's responses just how rude it is that people ask how much writers make. It would be considered really rude to ask about any other job, so why is it okay to ask writers?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank goodness no one asks me how much I make. However, when I doubled my book income from $10 a month to $20 a month I felt like celebrating, LOL. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, doubling your book income is always reason to celebrate!

      Delete
  15. Pretty gutsy to ask you about your income from writing. I'm shocked when you share about your expenses on boat living. But very interesting. And yet, why not? So what if people judge us on the amount of cash we earn? I don't care. I'm rich in so many other ways. It's how you live that's important. If Simon is driving you crazy, threaten him with giving him to me. That'll put a kink in his tail.!!!
    JQ Rose

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might just have to have Simon come spend a week with you so that you can straighten him out :-)

      Delete
  16. I can't believe anyone would ask about money!!! Eek!
    I haven't published any of my novels yet, but maybe that's another good reason for me to keep my writing and real life selves separate :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's interesting to read how some people use pen names so that they can keep writing separate from their other live.

      Delete
  17. Normally, any question concerning money and my writing makes me laugh. Then, I tell people that if I can take my family out for pizza, I'll be floating on Cloud Nine. Usually, it ends with them saying they're sure I'll earn more than that and claim they'll be sure to buy a copy come March so I can maybe treat my kids to two pizza evenings.
    Why don't I always believe them and still hang on to the simple single pizza goal? Hmmm.
    Thanks for Simon and the fun!

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's no one's beezwax how many books you sell or how much you make. If they're dying to know, they can look you up on Amazon and the other booksellers and do their own damn math. Actually, I used to get the money Q all the time as a lawyer - who are these people that think they're entitled to my financial info? I always responded "more than $1 and less than one million." My husband has responded once or twice that we're "thousandaires."

    And BTW Simon, lots of people HAVE bought Ellen's books, including me. Love them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you're so sweet, Lee! Thanks for your kind comments. Take that, Simon :-)

      Delete
  19. Yipes. How horrid for someone to ask about your book sales and moola. None of their blooming business! Then again, I honestly think people who'd ask such a thing mean well. They WANT you to be successful.

    Gotta love that Simon. Let me know how that job hunt for him goes... we have a couple kitties who oughta be pulling their weight around here, too...

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right - most people do mean well and most are genuinely interested in the whole publishing process, but I have had a couple ask me nosy question who were quite snarky about it and basically implying that I'm wasting my time. :-(

      Delete
  20. I didn't think Simon could become any ruder! :-) Isn't it interesting how you and I prefer to write and disclose what we spend, but we hate to report publicly what we make? I think that information makes us feel more vulnerable somehow. In general, I don't have an issue saying that I barely make anything, though. But, my wealth comes in different ways, like experiences, quality time with my husband, and travel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is strange how we report our expenses, but it does seem to be a thing in the boating world. Maybe to help others realize that living their dream is possible and doesn't have to break the bank?

      Delete
  21. Haha! I don’t think anyone has ever asked me how many books I sold or how much money I made on my books. You know they are wondering! It’s like that unspoken question that they try to ask in a roundabout way. Like “how are your books doing?” Lol. But I guess if Simon is fat and happy, then your books are doing OK. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the idea of measuring my book sales by Simon's mood and girth :-)

      Delete
  22. I loved this post. Thanks for making me smile.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I do so love when Simon shows up in your posts, Ellen! I'd be tempted to dump a quart of no-fat milk on him (or anyone) for asking how much money my writing was making. I've told you before that I like your budgeting posts. I have almost wrapped up all my numbers for 2018. Two or three days, and I'll be home ~ next task designing that personal spreadsheet. Keep your enjoyable posts coming and all the best to you and your writing in 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just wrapped up our 2018 expenses. I find it satisfying to tally the year-end numbers for some reason :-)

      Delete
  24. So glad Simon is back. I like your answer "Not enough" to the question how much do you make? Rude question, anyway. I'd make more money at McDonald's than I do writing. That's pathetic. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  25. Whenever I attend book events, other authors like to ask how many books I've sold, and I hate answering them. Usually because my number tends to be lower than theirs. What's a good day for me is a poor day for them, and they always look at me in pity.

    No one's ever asked how much money I've made from my books, though. Well, except my accountant when it comes time to do my taxes.

    Happy 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That must be hard to have other authors ask you that at a book event. :-( If only we could avoid comparing ourselves to other.

      Delete
  26. Glad to see Simon back again! And I’m with you—I don’t like to talk about how many books I’ve sold or how much I make. It just annoys me that I have to add it all up and tell Uncle Sam at tax time :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to say, I'm not looking forward to taxes this year and having to figure out how to report all of this.

      Delete
  27. Love Simon - seeing as he's a regular feature, I've totally signed up!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oops, think I typed my comment in the wrong blog post!

    Love Simon - so much that I've now signed up!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks so much for stopping by my new blog. Toi Thomas and I collaborated on my first book and all the sales go toward us trying to put on a book fair, but I don't think it's anyone's business how much we make off it. Since Toi does all the writing, no one really asks me question about writing. I usually just offer reading recommendations. I like the sound of your books, especially knowing that animals are in them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't imagine writing a book without animals :-)

      Delete
  30. Oh - I hope I have never asked you those questions! The money one is a bit nosy, but I'm pretty sure anyone asking about how many books you have sold just want to know that you are doing well. Of course Simon is just trying to provoke you. I am sure he has gotten on Amazon and Good Reads and has read all of the amazing reviews! He is just jealous! Poor thing, he has become superseded by not only another imaginary cat and a whole town of interesting and fun people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And BTW - I totally get that those are nosy questions and why you wouldn't want to answer them.

      Delete
    2. Even if you had asked these kinds of questions, I would never mind because I know they would come from a place of genuine interest and caring. It's the people who ask it with a snarky tone and who think that writing is a complete waste of time are the ones who bug me. Someone actually said to me once - "Shouldn't you be working on boat project instead of writing books?" They're probably right, but I hate having it pointed out to me. Ugh.

      Delete
  31. If always found questions about money to be infuriating. How many books I'd sold would also be annoying. Even if I sold thousands, I'd find that question presumptuous.

    Also, you write awesome books. The end.

    ReplyDelete
  32. We get two kitties to frighten away the mice that ignored the dogs. Then one of the dogs brought us a dead mouse. Did he think he was being retired? The other one is my muse so she earns her keep - unlike the writer....................whoever that lazy keyboard pusher is. Oh, and tell Simon that Walmart don't pay catnip these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's too funny that your dog brought a mouse out of fear he had been retired :-)

      Delete
  33. I totally feel you on the sales questions, though this past year, it's been easy to say that I've sold absolutely nothing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But think of all that you've created in the past year :-)

      Delete
  34. I hate being asked about the money too, but people always do. I just tell them book sales maintain my chocolate habit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if my book sales could keep up with my chocolate habit.

      Delete
  35. I don't like being asked about how many books I sell or how much money I make. It's rude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think most people that ask questions like that are well-meaning, but there are always those exceptions who are downright rude about it.

      Delete
  36. I'm still laughing at the part about getting a job at Walmart, because that's where I work, lol. :D It's in the pharmacy, but still Walmart. I never feel comfortable talking about how much I make, to me that's private and people do not need to know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Working in a pharmacy must be so interesting!

      Delete
    2. I suppose that's one word for it...I did start writing a funny story about interactions with patients, but I would probably get in trouble if I shared it publicly. Maybe some time after I quit that job.

      Delete
  37. Simon is the harshest critic! I agree with the question about money - no one's asked me but I'd feel pretty awkward about it. I wouldn't ask them!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Except for other writers, I've never had anyone ask how much I make as a writer. At least, I don't remember them asking. My answer would probably just be, "Not much." LOL

    ReplyDelete
  39. When it comes to the writing profession, people can be so insensitive, due to misconceptions about the industry... and other reasons. *sigh* Actually, insensitive is putting it nicely! Hahaha!
    Simon is being his good old normal self. Nothing amiss. Does he realise how fortunate he is? Give him a few days out on the street with the stray cats and he'll come crawling back...
    Happy New Year, Ellen!
    Writer In Transit

    ReplyDelete
  40. No one needs to know that! It is rude to ask. I know Simon doesn't care. I try to be open about most every aspect of being a writer (especially for other writers), but I pull back on the subject of my near non-existent sales. It does sting when we want to share our stories with the world. Hope your new year is going well!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the "how are sales?" question either. People would hardly go up to someone in another line of work and ask what their income was.

    As always, loving the Simon. But don't listen to him.

    ReplyDelete

We LOVE when people leave comments. It's so much more fun hearing what you have to say. If you have a blog, make sure you leave a link and I'll be sure to pop on by.