[author life] 3 things you should never say to a writer

Warning: this post contains dangerous amounts of sarcasm and cyber tantrum-throwing.

From assuming I’ve received a six-figure book advance (sigh!) to telling me reading is boring, here are some of the biggest cases of foot-in-mouth buffoonery* I’ve encountered since announcing my booky-wooky news…

1. “Books are kinda boring – will there be an audio tape or movie?”
My usual response: “I’m not sure, my publisher hasn’t said anything but I’ll let you know if I find out.”
What I want to say: “Books are boring? My new life’s work is following you around scream-reading my novel into your wax-filled ears.”

2. “Can you give me a free copy of your book?”**
My usual response:
“Ahhh… errrr… ummmm… well…”
What I want to say: “Working on THE INTERN has taken me, my publisher and editors (and a collection of other people) more than two years, so if you’re happy to do your profession for free for the next 730 days, then I’ll gladly give you a copy.”

3. “You must be loaded now, just like J.K.Rowling”
My usual response: “Ah, actually, not even close… she’s in the very small percentage of authors who make a fortune from writing books.”
What I really, REALLY, REALLY want to say: “Excuse me while I go and eat two-minute noodles in the corner then cry myself to sleep.”

Final thoughts
Approach writers at your own risk: a sensitive/weepy/melodramatic author may write you into their next manuscript so they can plot your character’s untimely death or maiming (which will probably culminate with you drowning in a vat of shoe polish or choking on a spiky piece of pineapple).

But never fear: if you avoid the three options above, then there is hope***.

Safe comments to say to writers include:

  • “No, your hair doesn’t look terrible.” (Danger: Don’t attempt this one if you can’t lie.)
  • “No, you don’t look tired.” (Danger! Danger!)
  • “No, I can’t really see that milk stain on your jacket.”
  • “You’re awesome.” (Note: Feel free to alternate awesome with pretty, amazing, incredible etc.)
  • “Living off two-minute noodles doesn’t sound that bad for your health.” (Once again, only suitable for exceptional liars.)
  • “Here, take this piece of chocolate.”
  • “Here, take this bar of chocolate.”
  • “Here, take this block of chocolate.”

*I can’t tell you how happy I am to have worked ‘buffoonery’ into this post.

**Note: Free review copies are the exception, obviously! When it comes to this question, the most common bandits are acquaintances, at best, like a friend of a friend’s sister’s neighbour’s cousin.

***Cyber tantrum complete. Thank you for your patience.

Come say hello at facebook.com/hellogabrielletozer and twitter.com/gabrielletozer – distractions welcome.