Thursday, September 30, 2010

So, You Want Me to Buy Your Book? Are You Kidding?

Rant Alert.

I met up with my critique partner at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. We were on our way to North Carolina for the Writer's Police Academy. She was traveling from San Antonio, and my flight originated in Denver. Since there are no direct flights from either of our cities, DFW was where we could catch a connecting flight. (Either Dallas or Chicago. What???)

Kelly and I have become friends over the years, but still spend most of our time talking about books and writing and everything else related to it. Our friendship is a gift, but the writing discussions are like breathing. And when you only get so much time to breathe, well . . . that's what you do.

We were sitting in the boarding area, talking about our recent reads. I was telling Kelly about Tim Hallinan when I noticed a woman across from us perk up and follow the conversation. Turns out she was an author from a state west of mine, and north. I'd never heard of her, but then there are a lot of us. She had a nice smile and seemed interesting. New friends are always nice.

We exchanged cards (hers was really cool) and we moved on to the next stage of our journey as we boarded the flight. When we landed in North Carolina, the three of us regrouped a bit and talked some more.

That's when she found out that we weren't 'big name' authors. From that point on, she never said a word to either one of us. Not one. Except to quickly inform us we couldn't join her at her table that evening because she was expecting someone else. Not a word of regret. Not a word of kindness.

Fine. Be that way. We made our own table.

Now, here's the deal. I know what it is to have someone attach themselves to me. Not only is it not a growth experience, it's not fun. But I'm here to tell you that neither Kelly nor I look like a leech. We're writers. Heck, we crave solitude from time to time. So I'm not buying that argument.

Was 'pleasant' too much to ask?

I went online and checked out this author. Turns out she's written a LOT of books. Turns out some of them sound interesting. Turns out she could have been on the list of authors I want to check out. Turns out she won't be.

I'm just sayin'.

CR: Breathing Water by Timothy Hallinan on Kindle.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Your I-won't-read-your-books threshold is higher than mine is.

  2. I just don't get a human being, let alone one who is presumably trying to expand her fan base, to act like such a well . . . you know.

    My TBR pile is enormous, not counting my Kindle books. There are a lot of good authors out there who are not so intent on pushing themselves up a ladder they don't bother to be pleasant. Those are the ones I want to see succeed.

  3. Unbelievable. Shallow. Does she not realize that the writing community is vast, but extremely SMALL? You are far too kind. I'd have named names, or at least given good sleuthing hints. I'll go with 'starts with a p, ends with an l, and rhymes with FOOL... for that is what she is.
    There's a certain agent out there that I can't wait for the right opportunity to express how I really feel. A jerk. His initials are HK. :-)

  4. She shouldn't be trying to expand her reader base--she should be graced with the pleasure of making connections in unexpected ways, connections that make it seem as if there is some order to our ways through this world.

    That's not to say that you're not right on a practical level. Silly lady, books are for Peg--and a better fan she could not have asked for.

    As writers I think we have to remember we are a community. Some of us have gotten luckier, faster than others. All of us are hard-working, putting words on the page/screen, day after day, and trying to make them sing. If we get a chance to extend a hand--or a dinner invitation--or even just a pleasant, hope to see you again--to another writer that's a gift.

  5. I think it speaks of a responsibility we all have. Our decision to be courteous and pleasant to another human being shouldn't hinge on whether they can do something for us.

    Joe Finder just tweeted today about the only CEO who has ever turned him down for a meeting. Her assistant, on behalf of the CEO, asked what was in it for her.

    *shaking head*

  6. Catching up on my reading this afternoon. Great rant, Peg. You were kind. The strange thing is I met some really cool published writers who were very nice. A RITA-nominee drove us around for three days. Another "big name" published writer encouraged me with kind words and cheers during the FATS simulation. Who knows what makes success go to a person's head so bad her nose is so far up in the air she is in danger of drowning in a good rain.

  7. Not only rude, but stupid. Writing, unless it's just a hobby, and having several books in print suggests otherwise, is a business. Everybody you meet should be treated with respect. Turning off a potential reader is stupid, not only because you lose that sale, but people talk and share impressions. Best sellers are built on word of mouth, but the opposite can happen too.

    Besides, why be rude to anyone? What does it say about you if it appears that the only use you have for other people is what they can do for you? It says to me that you're pretty shallow.

  8. Great post, Peg. I'm always stunned when writers behave the way you describe. But for purely selfish reasons, I'm glad there was an extra space at your table. Thanks to you and Kelly for letting me join you.

  9. I think sometimes shyness is mistaken for snobbishness. But that wasn't the case with this writer. She was more than willing to jump in our conversation when she thought we might be 'somebody'. I'm with you Pat, why behave badly when the option is easy, convenient, free and has much better results?

    Beth, all I can say is things turn out about like they're supposed to. Meeting you was a highlight of my trip.