Here before me sits a typical author dilemma: six unsolicited packages with manuscripts, galleys and books, all from writers looking for quotes, backing from me on the weblog, or campaigning for votes.
After correctly predicting J.R. Ward would make a huge debut, my quotes for vampire fiction have apparently attained a certain cult value. Given last year's quote request flood, though, I need some lag time on quoting. I pick the books I talk about and giveaway here on my own to keep it fair. And God, I could get a tattoo on my forehead that reads Not a member of anything, can't vote for you and people would still send me books.
I can't toss the stuff because I'm a pansy that way, so there's about fifty bucks in return postage to send everything back. Not a big deal. Really. I remember how it feels to be a rookie writer and the pressure to get blurbs, backing and awards. I should send sympathy cards back with the books.
Here's the dilemma: what do you do when you've already politely turned down a book-offering writer via e-mail and the writer's publisher still sends you the book (or, in this case, three copies of the book?) Do you:
a) E-mail the writer and inquire what of your response wasn't understood, the "N" or the "O"
b) Send a copy of your original no-thanks e-mail to the writer's publisher, and then thank them for your three new doorstops
c) Donate the books to Friends of the Library because it's not nice to make other writers' books into doorstops
d) Wonder why the hell you're so nice
e) Ship the books back to the publisher and enclose a note suggesting the writer's editor and the writer start talking to each other more often
f) Write a weblog entry about it because you're a wishy-washy idiot and don't know what to do
g) Any of the above, but for fun draw curly black mustaches on the protagonist depicted in the cover art first
h) Tear out the pages and make chains of origami cranes out of them, pack them in a box and send that back to the publisher, along with a cryptic Asian poem about the path of least resistance
i) Send them to Marjorie because she's nicer than you
j) Give them to Mom for the church thrift store
k) Wonder if your publisher is doing crap like this with your books
m) Write an e-mail to your editor and ask her if she's doing crap like this with your books
n) Read the jacket blurb and rethink the whole church thrift store idea.
o) Take two aspirin and kick the box the books came in a few times.
p) Forge the author's signature and sell them on eBay. Include a very personal message from the author on the title page describing a sexual encounter at a conference in a broom closet and mention an obsession with rubber clothing and/or wearing diapers.
q) Enjoy the thought of p) for a few minutes, then take your black cohosh and remember that you are supposed to be resisting the Dark Side of the Force.
r) Even if you could photoshop the author's bio photo to add a fun-looking sexual partner and some interesting marital aid accessories, print out some copies and stick them in the back pages before you forge the message and sell the books on eBay.
s) You're thirty minutes late posting your blog entry, idiot, make up your mind.
t) Resolve to send the books back to the publisher with a polite no-thanks note and say nothing to the author because you're not really as hostile as your imagination thinks you are
u) Most of the time.