Friday, January 16, 2009

Authors Behaving . . . Badly . . .

I'm always fascinated by what folks share with me upon discovering that I'm a published author. At the doctor's office the other day, a woman shared with me a story about a book signing she'd attended at a local bookstore. The popular author was one whose work the woman had enjoyed in the past and she was too tickled at the opportunity to finally meet this person in the flesh.

Unfortunately, most of this woman's good feelings about the author soured when she (the woman telling the story) stepped up to the table and handed the author her book. The author looked at the woman, frowned and said, "This book is old. I'm only signing copies of my new book today."

Well, the woman said she wasn't about to get out of line, grab one of the new books and get back in line again. So, she reached over, snagged herself a book and said, "Okay, sign this."

Rather than happily oblige, the author looked at the woman, frowned again and grumbled, "You haven't even paid for this yet."

The woman was like, "Dag, would you just sign the book already! I am not getting out of line just to pay for this and then have to get back in line all over again."

Well, the woman finally got her book signed. But she hasn't forgotten the experience and her feelings about the author in question are hardly what they used to be.

Granted, everyone is entitled to their own way of doing things, but had I been the author, I would have signed the old book and thanked the fan for taking the time to come out and meet me. Sheesh, isn't that what folks with common sense and good home-training do? Yes, I understand and appreciate the desire to make a profit, but sometimes it ain't about "short money," it's about the long-game and the big picture. Chances are, not only will that woman never buy another book by that particular author, but some of the other bystanders who witnessed the incident will in the futute, no doubt, keep their money in their pockets as well.

That's not the first story I've heard about authors behaving badly. And some of the behavior I've been privelged to see with my own two eyes, would truly be funny, if it weren't so damn sad. I'm sorry, I just I don't get these writers, authors, scribblers and scribes who've decided they're the best thing to hit the scene since barbequed chicken wings. They treat people any kind of way. They talk to people any kind of way.

I remember how much I used to enjoy this one author's blog. I'd never read his work, but his blog was funny and insightful, though somewhat edgy at times. Before I could go out and purchase a couple of his books, I read an exchange between him and a visitor to his blog. The author's comments toward the visitor were so mean-spirited and condescending and in a so much holier and smarter than thou kind of way, it was a complete turn-off. It's been over a year since I read the exchange and till this day, I still haven't read or purchased any of the author's books.

I mean really, people, we write books . . . most of us aren't out here risking life and limb in order to rescue folks from burning buildings . . . most of us aren't actively engaged in searching for the cure for cancer . . . not too many of us are capable of safely landing a plane in a body of water, much less walking across some without sinking.

So, for those of you still out there swinging your big heads through the clouds, and acting like folks are supposed to drop to their knees and fawn all over you when you walk into a room, get a damn grip and stop ruining it for the rest of us.


pjazzypar said...

Lori, at least you haven't gone all diva on us! You have humility and home training (lol). I find it hard to believe that someone could be such an idiot as to offend a fan. The truly successful understand that fans can make or break you. I do appreciate your graciousness as I am sure all your readers do. When you complete your fifth book, I don't want to hear about you sitting up at a book signing refusing to put your signature on a copy of "After The Dance" (smile)!

Lori said...

I appreciate the kind words (smile). If you do ever hear of me sitting up somewhere, refusing to sign my name to one of my books, rest assured, it was either an imposter or else the early signs of senility setting in (LOL).

NaySue said...

I contacted a few authors via email when my book group existed. I remember the cold/rude replies I received. I wish I still had a few copies to share. You would think news of 20+ people have planned to read and discuss your book would garner some kindness. Wrong. Like you expressed, the authors really turned me off and I refuse to purchase their books to this day.

Lori said...

Oooh, how I'd love to hear the dish on those authors (LOL). Then again, perhaps some of those folks are fielding so many requests they feel overwhelmed. Even so, there is a nice way of telling folks, "Sorry, I'd love to, but I can't . . . "

In any case, if you were treated rudely, I totally understand your not wanting to support those authors. Thanks for stopping by and adding your two cents.

bettye griffin said...

What you said!

Lori said...

LOL, thanks for popping in Bettye.

Sharon J said...

Some of these people do need to get over themselves. There are some nice authors such as you, Eric Jerome Dickey and Carl Webber. Bernice McFadden and Terry McMillan are sweet, too.

Lori said...

Hey Sharon,
Thanks for including me on the list of "nice ones." (LOL) Those are some best-sellers too! (smile)