Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Ten Things

You Should Not Do When You're a Published Author:

1. Have your cover photo shot taken at that photo chain in all the malls.

Soft focus and off-the-shoulder caribou collars don't make you look prettier. They make you look fuzzier and stupid. Get a real photographer.

2. Wear a pink business suit.

Pink is cute on ten year olds. You're thirty-eight. Buy some grownup clothes.

3. Talk about your hero like you've actually had sex with him.

Unless you're being truly creative with your author copies . . .

4. Refer publicly to your editor as "that bitch" or "that bastard."

Repeat after me: "My editor is my friend. My editor can forget to request my advance checks from accounting for the next eight months. My editor can request Heather, the nineteen-year-old copy editor/college intern who chews Bubble Tape, starts every sentence with "Like," and wears temporary Celtic tattoos, to edit my book.

5. Respond to a hatchet-job review.

The person who wrote that review? Is forty pounds overweight, has had two or three lousy marriages, hates men, hates women, is balding unattractively, is addicted to painkillers, or has a stack of rejection slips for their little literary masterpiece dating back to 1981.

Or, if they've trashed one of my books, all of the above.

6. Write a review for your own book on Amazon.com and give yourself 5 stars.

The exclamation points and calling it the best book of the year are a dead giveaway.

7. Post messages on Internet discussion boards where you pretend to answer a writing question while pimping your books. Every single time you post.

The first five hundred times covered them beautifully, thanks.

8. Refer to aspiring writers as "young" writers.

Christ, that's just annoying as hell.

9. Invite other published authors you don't know to 1) join a reader discussion group about your books; 2) tell them they don't have to read your book but you'll welcome a cover blurb anyway or 3) try to disrupt one of their online chats to pimp your books.

Kind of a warning to those who haven't done this. If you have, I think you're beyond help.

10. Write a "Ten Things" list that could embarrass your colleagues.

Hey, I never said I was perfect.

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