Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spin, or no spin? (How many books have you written?)

There are no silly questions, right? Well, maybe a few. Such as, “How much do you weigh?” Or, “Are you going to eat that?” But when I consider questions a writer is asked by folks who don’t understand how long it takes to write a book, edit a book, sell a book (hopefully), market a book, and then start all over again, my head spins around á la Linda Blair. (Don’t worry, that typically only happens when I’m alone and sitting in front of my monitor.)

Anyway, should we really be totally honest when responding to questions such as, “How many books have you written?” Or, “Is this your first?”

It has to be confusing if I say, “I’ve written five or maybe it’s six if you count the entire overhaul of my third, when I completely changed the genre but if you throw in partials, it might be nine or ten, anyway, I finished writing my first book over twenty years ago, and at some point before I finally sold my third manuscript, I realized how poorly written the first and second ones were, even though I love those stories and characters and back then thought one of them, or both (!) might be a best seller as for the next, well, you do know about my second book, it came out in 2011 and I’m trying to get an editor or agent interested in a novel I co-wrote two years ago, but so far no luck in the meantime I’m pubbing a collection of five short stories, and that ebook should be out in a few months then I’m going to focus on the SF manuscript that’s nearly 50% complete or maybe another non-fiction I have two of those started wait, I have to change what I said earlier about how many I’ve written, I forgot to count those plus I do have three screenplays I co-wrote do they count and I also have a cool YA screenplay that I’d like to get back to, but I’m a fairly slow writer, so it might be a while.”


There goes my head. Around and around she goes.

Instead of being completely honest, is it fair to simply offer a smile, along with a business card? Perhaps accompanied by, “Publishing is a terribly slow process, but I do have a small collection of short stories coming out soon.”

Then again, perhaps I should learn to embrace the spin cycle!

~ Folio


  1. Greatest run-on sentence in the emblematic of the writer's strife. There are few fields where people have done so much without it being acknowledged. We don't hear, oh yes, I mowed 4 lawns...but then those were in a drawer so nobody saw that. I constructed 5 custom made couches, but they are in a drawer. I helped get 3 presidents elected, but they are in a drawer. Well, that last one...maybe not so bad. We creative types have to love drawers and then once our pieces see the light we need to scream and shout and let it all out. glad so much of your work has been able to fight its way out of a drawer and into your lucky readers' hands.

  2. I like the first answer best. It ensures the person will never ask again. :)

  3. Great sentence, Folio!

    Of course, I might just option for the spinning head and speaking throatily (?!) in tongues, and leave it at that....