Here is my Frequently Asked Questions page. I’ll add to this when I get the time and/or I get asked a question more than once.
Q: I’m writing a [book/poem/essay/other] that I’d like your opinion on. Will you please read it?
No. First, time is limited and there’s already not enough of it in my day. Second, I’ve read of other authors doing this, only to be sued later because their story contained an idea or element similar to the work they reviewed, so it seems easiest to protect myself by just not taking on these kinds of requests.
Q: I’m an author in your genre and was wondering if you’d share my book with your readers?
Short answer: No.
This is a tough one. I used to do these kinds of exchanges but at the time of this writing, the idea of doing them is now uncomfortable to me. The people who sign up to be bothered by me (mailing lists, social media, etc) are doing so because they want updates on the stuff I’m up to. While your stuff may overlap with mine (and regardless of whether I like it or not), they didn’t sign up for updates from other artists. So I don’t want to hit my readers with spam (they may actually unsubscribe if I piss them off) and further, as I’ve grown, I’ve gotten more requests for shares out to my audience, and it’s getting hard to keep track of all the mass-mailings I’m supposed to send, not to mention when I get asked it never really includes a form to copy and paste – I just have to grab an image and figure out my own verbiage.
I’m just not comfortable doing it. Most times I don’t read the stuff myself, so I can’t even say they’re books I enjoyed. About the best I have is to say, “Well, here’s a book in a similar genre. You might like it? I guess?”
Authors who pour their energy into writing books deserve way better than that.
Q: I’m an author. Do you want me to share your new book release with my readers?
See the previous answer.
I won’t be asking for subscription list swaps. I used to do this because the prevailing wisdom in the independent and small-pub industry says that’s what you have to do.
On the other hand, the times in which I’ve been most successful in my life, without fail, have always been the times where I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. So add that to the very real concern that asking other authors to pimp my books makes me feel dirty and this all becomes a no-brainer.
Now: I also want to point out that I’m not restricting my publisher by asking them to adhere to his rule. This is something I’m doing for personal reasons, but list-swaps are still very much a “viable thing”. My publisher has skin in the game (they take their cut, after all), so they need to be able to make money back on their investment in the ways that seem best to them (within the limits of the law and propriety, of course), and so I also do not feel comfortable taking tools away from them.
Sound like I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too? Maybe, but I don’t care. The simple truth is that I have access to certain authors and friends in the business that my publisher does not but they also have access to avenues I’m not even aware of. So in the long run it’s more likely I’m hurting my own bottom line rather than both having and eating pastries.
The main thing, here, is that I’d really rather my readers get the information that they signed up for, rather than having to wade through extraneous information to find the stuff they want.
If I’m asking you guys to read a FAQ before contacting me, I can at least do something to limit your spam, right?
Q: I run [X Promotional Book Service] and boy do we have a deal for you!!!
Please direct any such inquiries to my publisher.
Q: Can I get you to share [X whatever] on your social media pages?
No. But so long as the material is relevant and the social media pages give you the permission to do so, you may share it there with my compliments assuming you have adhered to the rules of those sites.
Q: Can I get you to push and/or donate to [X Charity/Crowdfunding Campaign]?
No. The charities I trust to get donations where they belong are who I deal with. I don’t cash into random charities without research and I don’t have the time to look into every organization that is suggested.
Q: What if I do something creative and playful to get you to share [X material] or donate to [X campaign]? What if you like what I do or I happen to be pushing a charity or crowdfunding topic of which you already approve?
Mostly I’ll ignore you. Sorry, I love you guys and all, but a lot of these things have to be the way they are for a really good reason.
Q: I own or officially represent a charity and we would like to work with you to help spread awareness for [X concern]. May we reach out?
By all means, please do, but please also plan to answer detailed questions about your operation, including how proceeds are distributed, etc.
I get that I have the ability to reach a lot of people, now, and that I can use this for good. I’m also aware that this also comes with a responsibility to not be taken in by con artists or (even worse) to spread the con to my readers.
So lets see how I can help, I’m good to go, but make sure you have your I’s and T’s in order.
Q: When will we get X? When will X be available? Will we ever get X?
Thanks very much for asking. I have no idea.
Q: Have you done any interviews? Would you be willing to do an interview/appear on a podcast/etc?
Yep! Go ahead contact me. We’ll see what we can set up.
No, I don’t care if you’re a small show with only 3 listeners. We all have to start somewhere. Reach out anyway.
Q: What is the best way to contact you?
Q: Do you consciously remain politically and religiously neutral when you write or do you like to represent your personal beliefs?
The opinions and beliefs of the author are not included in the work. Beliefs and opinions expressed in the work are the sole property of the characters alone. Please do not make the mistake of confusing one for the other.
Q: Is one of the characters in [X Book or Series] secretly you?