Yes folks, it’s time for that much beloved segment that only I among all authors am brave enough to host: Never Asked Questions. It’s the segment where I answer the questions no one is asking, really challenging the status quo. Don’t worry, the brain spiders are on vacation this week, evidently they have a con of their own where they meet up and discuss better ways to overpower their hosts, so while next week will surely involve a fresh battle for control of my own body, this one is mercifully spider-free. So, before they get back, let’s kick this one off!
Q: How do I know when fish is fresh enough to be eaten as sushi without risk of disease or parasites?
A: Wow. Um. Holy shit, I have legitimately no clue. Smell, maybe? Fuck, that’s answering a question with a question. Yeah, I’m just going to say I don’t know, my food prep experience is limited to standard cooking skills and a few years working as a waiter. Guess there might be good reasons people haven’t asked me some of these.
Q: What’s the worst part of writing a book?
A: The middle. Always the middle. In the beginning, you have ideas and excitement. At the end, everything is taking shape and you have the magic of it all coming together on the page to urge you on. The middle is the rough patch. Self-doubt kicks in hard, you wonder if any of this will be good, and on the worst days it can dampen even scenes you’re excited about writing. That’s part of why practice is important, it gives you enough experience to know that this too shall pass, and you’ll start feeling good again soon.
Q: What’s one business tip for writers you haven’t heard anywhere else?
A: When you’re flying out to do conventions and bringing books in your suitcase, be sure to research each airline’s seat-upgrade system and how it relates to other perks, like checked bags. Some will allow you to do an upgrade at the airport for a deeply discounted rate. Even bumping from economy to business can include a checked bag and priority security screenings. Those aren’t much, but they can save you money on paying for a bag and allow more time working the convention. In a few cases, bumping up was outright cheaper than paying for a suitcase stuffed full of books (and padding). This won’t work all the time, but it comes in cheaper often enough to be worth the research.
Q: Is it worth it to do a podcast?
A: Monetarily… probably for some people, but I wouldn’t count on being one. We have a fair audience for Authors & Dragons, and even with that you can see how much we make on our Patreon, its publicly available right there on the site. Even with that, we pour all the money back into the podcast, using it for editing, comics, and bonus episodes to give the listeners more. So, yeah, if you want to make cash from a podcast there’s probably a better use of your time. But if you want to make something you enjoy, with friends you like spending time around, then I’d say a podcast is more than worth it.
Q: What, if any, part of this job do you hate?
A: I hesitate to say this is an aspect of the job, more the nature of going into business for one’s self, but if pressed I’d say the lack of stability is the one part I’d change. There is something to be said for a job where you know for sure that if you put in the hours your paycheck will be there. I can spend months working on a book, only for it to flop, or could simply fade from people’s minds if I’m not keeping up enough output of content. It’s an aspect that spurs me on to keep working and producing at my notoriously brisk rate, but can also be a real anchor on the brain during rough patches.
Q: How many readings/events have you shown up for drunk?
A: First off, I can’t believe this one is being used in the Never Asked Questions segment, step up your game various interviewers. Secondly, while I’ve never done any public appearance drunk (finding me stumbling around after closing hours for a con doesn’t count) I’ve brought beers to a few panels, most often to beat back hangovers. As a man who is already loud and prone to talking more than his share, too much booze would threaten to make me intolerable in a professional setting, so just like in the old cubicle days I keep my sipping light until all the work is done.
Q: How much of what we all see is pageantry instead of the real Drew?
A: As a blessing and a curse, I didn’t know much about branding or marketing when I first started, so I never considered constructing an alter-ego. That’s the reason why I didn’t use a pen name even though it would have made life worlds easier, and why the version of me I showed you all is a sincere aspect of my personality. Now obviously, some parts get emphasized in a public setting, I’m not doing shots on a Tuesday in my everyday life. But if it’s a release day, then I’m going to celebrate, and you best believe I’m enjoying those shots. So I would say what you see is always real, albeit with some aspects of my personality more emphasized given the nature of the events/celebrations.
Q: What is your favorite place to visit?
A: For cons, so far, I think I’ve enjoyed Seattle the most. I’ve never been to a bad city, but the Seattle location was downtown, allowing me to see a lot of the city in my free time. Great food, super nice people, and cool stuff to look at it made it the current front-runner for me. In general? I love beaches, but that’s not really a “place” so instead I’ll say Vegas. Maybe it’s because of the mix of classiness and trashiness that speaks to my nature (got an interesting family history) or just the excitement of always having stuff to do, but I love hitting that place every few years when I can.
That’s enough for this month’s Never Asked Questions. If you’ll excuse me, I just heard a door open and thousands of legs skittering through the foyer, so it appears I have some returning guests to deal with. We’ll see how many survive the array of traps I set-up to hinder… shit, all of them made it through. Guess it’s time for the backup plan, a hammer and a fighting stance.