“How’s the book going?”
What? Why? Where’s the harm in asking that?
- If I’m in the process of writing one, it throws me into a self-absorbed and critical state from which it is difficult to emerge. Answering “Fine,” never seems to suffice, but no one seems interested in my breakthroughs re character or plot, either.
- If I’ve just finished and released one, it’s asking me to acknowledge what a complete waste of time that was in the eyes of a world that views success in numbers. What you’re actually asking me is “How many have you sold?” and, unless you’ve actually bought it, read it and (ideally) raved about it to me personally and online, that is not information I am prepared to disclose.
Every single friend and acquaintance I encounter at present asks me that question. Every single time I am forced to reflect upon my uselessness as a marketing person (which is more terrible than you think, as my other job is marketing …), and want to crawl under a duvet and never emerge. So, think before you ask. If you’re just asking to be polite, please consider commenting on the weather instead.