10 Most Dangerous Things to Say to an Author

Last year at our annual family Thanksgiving celebration, I was happily basking in the warm glow and shiny hope of Debut Authordom. The first book in my digital mystery series The Ladies Smythe & Westin had just been published. But by the time we all gathered together again a month later, I wanted to dive under the Christmas tablecloth.

A favorite relative came up and handed me a glass of Pinot, her eyes filled with gentle pity. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I saw on Facebook that your new book just dropped to 99 cents. I can’t believe your publisher put it on fire sale already.”

She meant well, of course. But ouch. I think I mumbled something about marketing strategy for a new series, and how lots of publishers did holiday promotions, and that a 99-cent price point was actually a good thing. Whatever I said sounded totally lame and unconvincing, even to me.

Most people don’t understand the crazy business of writing and publishing. But why should they, really?  It’s also possible we author types are a tad extra-sensitive at times. Maybe all the time. But just for ships and giggles (sort of), here’s my Top Ten list of Most Dangerous Things to Say to an Author (and yep, I’ve personally heard every one of them):

#10: What? Your book’s not done yet? You’ve been working on that thing forever.

#9: Oh, you’re an ebook author? Too bad. I only read print books. You know, real ones.

#8: (Same person as above): I have so many books at home. I need to get rid of them, actually. I can’t stand clutter. *shudders*

#7: (Sipping a 6-buck designer coffee): I never pay for books. They’re so expensive.

#6: (From total stranger): Cool, can you sign one of your books and send it to me? For free?

#5: (When I wrote kids’ books): When do you get to graduate? You know, write grown-up books?

#4: You’re really lucky, getting to write. It must be a lot of fun. Someday I’m going to write a book, too, but I have an actual J.O.B.

#3: So how much money do you make? Stephen King makes tons, I bet. But you’re not Stephen King, right? Ha ha.

#2: Wow, you don’t look like your author photo. When was it taken? (Answer: Last year.)

And the Number One Most Dangerous Thing to Say to an Author *drum roll*:

#1: Ewww. How can you write about murder? (Answer: Very easily. Heh heh.)

So…any questions for me or the other Chicks, guys? Just kidding–please fire away in the Comments section below, or add your own faves!








21 thoughts on “10 Most Dangerous Things to Say to an Author

  1. And then there was the man at the bar at Left Coast Crime who said something like. “You write cozies!!??!!” Then backed away like I had a communicable disease. Not to mention the time a woman went out of her way at yoga event (I write yoga mysteries) to tell me that she had skimmed all of the “boring” parts of my book, and that there were a lot of them. This same women then said she had a fascinating idea for a yoga mystery–much better than mine–and she’d be happy to share it with me. *All* I had to do was write the book!

    And I had a reviewer once write that I obviously had a personality disorder if I could write a character like my protagonist….

    Ah….I could go on all night. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh, ooh! I almost forgot! I attended a writer’s conference a few years ago. I was in a group practicing the elevator pitch for my series. The older man I was paired with (also an aspiring writer) listened to my pitch and said, “Yuck! That sounds like Chick lit!”

    His genre? Romance. I can’t make this stuff up. 😉

    (That pitch landed me my agent, btw.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My favorite (and I’ve had many people say this) is “I don’t read” and they don’t mean I don’t know how to read, but they mean they don’t do it and they say it so proudly too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A childhood friend (now a distant acquaintance) showed up at one of my launches and wouldn’t take no for an answer when I declined to write the book she had in mind about what her ex-husband the lawyer had done to her: “But I have the whole plot and everything.” I finally unhooked by telling her, “If YOU want to write the book, go for it,” figuring that was safe, because it would never happen. A few months later, she showed up at my apartment door (which NEVER happens in New York), ready to start our collaboration. She was convinced I’d said, “It’s a go!” The moral of the story is that people hear what they want to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! (I used to live in NY.) How did you extract yourself? Wait, don’t tell me–it’s now a best-seller.


  5. Wowee, I can’t believe what I’m reading. Although I’ve been a recipient of a few of those arrogant “How hard can it be?” types. I once agreed to give notes on a friend’s boyfriend’s sitcom script. He was a “screenwriter” who deigned to try his hand at TV, thinking of it was something only losers wrote. His script was TERRIBLE. Every cliche in the world. But I gave him kind, detailed notes. And he got pissed at ME for them!

    Liked by 1 person

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