Ah, where to start? It’s the question so many writers dread. Some of the lucky ones have their books either published, or they’ve snagged a deal and have a release date. I’m afraid this post’s not quite for you. No, this post is for the writers who haven’t published, gotten their deal, snagged an agent, submitted their book, or even finished it.
So how do you answer the infamous “Have you published your book yet?” question. Well, this post could help you…
It’s easy to stutter and stumble, fumble over your words. After all, most of us just mumble something about “working on it” or “it’s almost ready”. Then we get those awkward glances from the asking person involved (usually not a writer or someone who knows the industry). We instantly feel like a fraud (this is called impostor syndrome, btw – and yes, it is a thing).
Now, most of the people who ask this question aren’t doing so to make you feel uncomfortable. They’re genuinely interested, and their awkwardness when you can’t answer is because they feel bad about making you uncomfortable. Of course, some folk are just being asses when they know better than to ask, but that’s the exception.
So in order to help alleviate your panic over this question, I’ve devised a few tips to help you navigate this situation:
- Draw up a concise answer. Keep it simple.
- Take yourself seriously. You are a professional writer. Book sold or not.
- Don’t think they are trying to make fun of you (99% of people aren’t. The 1% that do are idiots, and who cares what they think?).
- Create your own website/blog/business card – anything that shows you are engaging in your career.
- Be honest with yourself – is this a passion and a business choice? Or just your passion? Either is fine!. But knowing which will help you tailor your reply to the people who ask.
Examples of answers:
- “I’m currently working on my book, and have a business plan in place to get it into the right hands” (yes, querying, getting critiques, getting an agent, indie publishing, waiting on submission with your agent, etc. is a business plan).
- There’s no date set until a publisher or publishing option has been set.
- I’m still deciding upon my options. As you can understand, there are a lot of options to choose from (if they ask what they are, you can talk about traditional vs indie vs pure self-pubbing, etc.)
- Actually, I’m just starting this new career, so I have to learn the industry more before I can work on getting the book on shelves (this is true…you do need to learn the ropes).
- I’m just having fun writing just now, as I’m not doing it as a career. I’m hopeful I’ll find a publisher for it, but I’m going to see how it goes.
- The publishing industry is a slow moving industry. It can be between 12-18 months from a publisher agreeing to publish the book until it gets in stores, so it will probably be quite some time!
The most important thing is that you don’t feel boxed in. You can have your answers at hand, and feel good about them either way. It also depends on you and your goals for writing, as to what you want to say.
I hope these tips help. As always, this is advice, not rules!
Happy reading and happy writing!