10 things to never ask a writer.


People are curious about writers/authors. Many don't even consider it a real job because they think writing is something that people do as a hobby in their spare time.
As someone who has written 15 books in the last 14 years, I can tell you writing is a full time job. But not everyone (I am speaking specifically about India) can make a living out of writing.  (I am fortunate that my books sell a LOT and I'm able to get six figure advances and make a living out of writing full time. But this took me many years to achieve).

When people hear that I am an author, they are instantly fascinated as they've never met an author before. They ask all kinds of questions. Here are ten things you should never ask a writer.

  1. "How much money do you make from your writing?" - This question can be intrusive and uncomfortable, as income from writing can vary greatly and may not be the sole focus of a writer's career.

  2. "I have a great story idea. Can you write a book for me?" - Most professional writers have plenty of ideas of their own. They may not want to even listen to your idea. Getting an idea isn't the hard part. It's working on it to create a book.

  3. "Can you send me a free copy of your book?" - Writers have bills to pay just like everyone else. Would you ever ask a Dentist for a free dental check-up? Ora movie star for a free movie ticket?

  4. "Do you get all your ideas from real-life experiences?" - While personal experiences may influence a writer's work, it is crucial to respect their creativity and recognize that ideas can come from various sources.

  5. "Why don't you write a story about _____?"  (fill in the blank with whatever subject the person asking the question is interested in.) - Creativity and passion drive writers, and suggesting they prioritize what you value is something that they might not want to do! 

  6. "Are you published? Why not?" - Publishing is a complex process, and writers may have various reasons for not being published yet, including personal choice, ongoing submissions, or the competitiveness of the industry.

  7. "When will your book become a bestseller?/ How many copies has your book sold " - Achieving bestseller status is unpredictable and depends on several factors beyond a writer's control, making this question unrealistic and potentially discouraging. Also writers get sales figures only twice a year. Often the writer doesnt know how many copies it has sold. The publisher takes care of it. And even the publisher will not be able to give an accurate figure till the financial book closing comes.

  8. "Can you give me tips on how to write a book?" - Writing is a personal process. There are many classes available online. I also have a class on Skillshare where I teach Creative writing.  A writer might be busy with their own work, and it may not be possible to give you all the tips. If you truly wish to learn and don't know where to begin it is best to take a class.

  9. "Can you read my manuscript and give me feedback?" - While some writers may offer beta reading or critique services, it's essential to respect their time and understand that they may have their own writing commitments.

  10. "Why don't you write in a different genre?" - Writers often have specific interests and preferences, and asking them to switch genres disregards their unique style and voice.

    More tomorrow!


  1. Rule Breakers
    :- Preeti Shenoy

  2. Namaskaram Preetiji,

    Nice piece well rounded and effective. You have crisply nailed in all that is to be said.

    The part about writing being a hobby is so true.Some people always believe their work is of utmost importance and others are not necessarily productive as per their thought process.Same for me being a stockmarket trader people think it is a side hustle and cannot be a full time focus area.
    You have outlined almost everything but there is one thing more I guess, I remember at a book reading at Oxford kolkata one lady came up to the author and talked animatedly about admiring his writing and took an autograph. The author (rightly so) asked her which book of his and which character she loved....and guess what the gentlelady mentioned a book from a different author.The gracious author smiled st her and moved on.

    Preetiji, You know how much I adore you but please forgive me for asking "When will you write another book on Ankita"(Life is ....lonely without her πŸ’›πŸ’›...)Sorry but I am in love with Ankita😊.That speaks volumes for your finesse as a writer when people fall in Love with your characters.

    Lots ans Lots of unconditional Love,Deep Respect and awe-inspiring Devotion towards you πŸ˜ŠπŸ’›πŸ™πŸ‘

  3. Spot on! Some questions make us uncomfortable. And 'how much money do you make?' is something one should not ask anybody.

  4. Thank you for sharing this Preeti Didi. These are the things i did not know but glad you gave us what it means to be writer /author and what we should not ask .Stay blessed be happy. 😊😊❤️❤️πŸ’•πŸ’•


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