PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Here is a collection of questions/comments about our profession that we authors most frequently hear during social gatherings. I have compiled this list—which contains numerous contributions from my fellow authors–after a great deal of careful research into the matter.
Why have I done this? Because I believe that you, the reading public, deserve to know the truth. Many of you may have writers in your family or social circle, and it is important that you be aware of the fact that, while a writer may smile politely at you when you say the kinds of things that are listed below, the truth is, she actually wants to kill you.
I know that the writer in your family/social circle may LOOK docile and easy-going. But I can assure you that, deep down, she is actually a quivering mass of seething insecurity and resentment. How do I know this? Because I am a writer, and I am seething, too. I am hoping that, by posting this list, we can avoid a future aggravated assault and/or murder.
Please study this list and in the future, try to avoid saying any of these things to an author at any social gathering, for your own safety's sake.
THINGS NEVER TO SAY TO ANY AUTHOR*:
*All remarks below guaranteed made to an author, some as recently as this weekend*
“That Nora Roberts sure writes a lot of books! How come you don't write as many books a year as she does? If you did, I bet you'd have a lot more money.”
“I heard the guy who wrote the Da Vinci Code has his own jet. How come you don't have a jet?”
“I could write a book, too. I just don't have time.”
“Is it true authors only make 10% off every book they sell? So if your books are selling for $5.99, you are only making fifty nine cents a book, and the publisher takes the rest? God, that must suck!”
“I have a really good idea for a book. It'll make you millions! I'll let you write it if you give me half the money you make off it.”
“The movie of Lemony Snicket's books has Jim Carrey in it. How come Jim Carrey wasn't in the movie of your book? I bet you'd have made a lot more money off it if he had been. You should talk to someone about that.”
“I'm going to write a book too — most of what's out there is so bad, I could write one in about five minutes that's at least as good. And what a nice job, because you don't have to work hard, but you can still make lots of money and be famous.”
“Is it true your agent makes 15% off every dollar you earn? God, that must blow to watch someone taking all that money for nothing.”
“I want to write a book, but I don't want to send my idea to a publisher because it's so good, I'm afraid they'll steal it. What do I do?”
“When are you going to write a REAL book? You know, like the ones they review in the New York Times?”
“You really should be writing screenplays. That's what all the really talented writers are doing these days. Everyone knows the publishing industry is dead. No one reads books anymore.”
“How come your publicist doesn't get you on Oprah? I bet if she did, you'd sell a lot more books.”
“If you're such a famous writer, how come I've never heard of you?”
Please. Stop a potential crime. Don't say any of the above to a writer.
This has been a public service announcement from The Writers.