Thursday, March 05, 2009

Publishing 911

Operator: Publishing 911, what's your emergency?

Reader: Yes, this book I've been reading has, you know, something really bad in it.

Operator: What is the bad thing, ma'am?

Reader: I can't say that over the phone. But it's really, really bad.

Operator: I need to know what the bad thing is, ma'am, or I can't help you.

Reader: Can't you just take my word for it and send the police to arrest the author?

Operator: No, ma'am, I can't do that.

Reader: Well, that's not fair.

Operator: You're free to destroy the book at your convenience, ma'am.

Reader: I can't, I need to turn in the book at the used book store to get credit for it.

Operator: Then do what everyone else does and post an anonymous review on (switches lines) Publishing 911, what's your emergency?

Author: (sniffling) A reader just sent me a hateful e-mail and I read it and now I'm so upset that I can't write.

Operator: Was the e-mail accurate, sir?

Author: No, of course not. My book is wonderful. I'm a genius. This reader is a jealous idiot who's trying to make a name for himself by destroying my career.

Operator: Then why can't you write, sir?

Author: (lowers voice) What if I'm wrong? What if my book sucks? What if everyone in publishing is laughing at me right now?

Operator: I'm not laughing at you, sir.

Author: (eagerly) Did you read my book?

Operator: Sir, you need to delete the e-mail, block the reader from your mail account, and recite your writing mantra.

Author: But I don't have a writing mantra.

Operator: Repeat after me: "I am powerful. I am purposeful. I am published."

Author: I'm pathetic, aren't I?

Operator: That's not part of the writing mantra, sir. Please recite what I told you fifty times and stop reading e-mail for the rest of the day. (switches lines) Publishing 911, what's your emergency?

Reviewer: (whining) There's this writer who hates me. I read his blog every day. He says terrible things and I know he's talking about me.

Operator: Does the writer name you in his blog, ma'am?

Reviewer: Not exactly.

Operator: Has he ever mentioned your name once in his blog, ma'am?

Reviewer: You don't understand. He won't name me because then I'd have proof of what he does.

Operator: Does the writer ever link to you, or quote you?

Reviewer: No. Okay, look, he pretends like I don't exist. But I know he hates me. I can feel it.

Operator: Have you ever had any direct contact with the writer?

Reviewer: Well, I've read and reviewed every book he's ever written.

Operator: He doesn't hate you, ma'am. He doesn't know you. Stop reading his blog and read someone else. (switches lines) Publishing 911, what's your emergency?

Author: I've just seen my new cover art and it's horrible.

Operator: How horrible is it, ma'am?

Author: Do you remember that book that came out in January with bright metallic glow-in-the-dark pink albino Robin Hood on the cover?

Operator: (winces) Yes, ma'am.

Author: Worse than that.

Operator: I'm sorry, ma'am, but that's highly unlikely.

Author: (furiously) Don't you dare tell me it's not as bad as I think, because I swear to God I will come down there and kick your ass.

Operator: Calm down, ma'am. What color is the cover art?

Author: Green. Lurid Green.

Operator: Everyone is going green these days, you know. (flips through calendar) And St. Patrick's Day is coming up. You could do some clever tie-in promo and turn this tragedy to your advantage.

Author: Can't you just send the police to arrest my editor?

Operator: No, ma'am, I can't do that.

Author: Damn.

Operator: (tentatively) I can transfer your call over to the That Can't Be My Cover support and recovery group for cover-traumatized authors. The writer with the albino Robin Hood cover runs it, and she has complimentary chocolate-covered Valium at every meeting.

Author: Really? I thought she killed herself. Okay, transfer me over.

Operator: Thank you, please hold. (transfers call, switches lines.) Publishing 911, what's your emergency?

Reader: Hi, it's me again. I'm ready to tell you what the bad thing in the book was.

Operator: Go ahead, ma'am.

Reader: (whispers) Gee. Ay. Why. Es. Eee. Ex.

Operator: I don't understand you, ma'am.

Reader: (dismayed) I can't actually say it. I'm spelling it for you. Can't you spell?

Operator: No, ma'am, that's not part of my job requirement. (switches lines) Publishing 911, what's your emergency?

Reader: (angrily) I wrote a letter of complaint to this terrible author about his lousy book and he didn't answer and then he blocked me from his mail account.

Operator: (sighs) Have you recited your reader mantra today, sir?

Reader: Authors write for me. Authors must please me. Authors tremble in fear before me.

Operator: I think you'll be fine, sir.

Reader: But I have to tell this author much, much more about how much his book sucks.

Operator: Then do what everyone else does and post an anonymous review on, and get all your friends to vote that it was helpful and it will end up as the first review on the page.

Reader: That's not good enough. Can't you send the police to arrest the author?

Operator: No, sir, I can't do that. Have a nice day.


  1. Hillarious! Especially liked the chocolate-covered Valiums.

  2. Gee. Ay. Why. Es. Eee. Ex.

    (Should I confess that it took me a sec to work this out?).
    Lol. A useful service. :)

  3. Anonymous1:49 AM

    This was one of the funniest things I've read in a while! Great job!

    I think you should offer chocolate-covered Valium for your next giveaway.

  4. lol! Excellent and unfortunately so, so true, thank you for making me laugh:)

  5. Loved it! So good to hear you've got that support group going. :)

  6. Anonymous5:45 AM

    Please oh please pass me a bucket of those chocolate covered valiums. Today is one of those days.

    It's 11.44 (AM) here, and this is the first time I laughed today.

    Publishing sucks. At least today.

    And you rule, Lynn. As always!

  7. ROFLMAO!! Thanks for the morning laugh Lynn. *G*

    BTW...I still think your pink cover is a collector's item. *G*

  8. LOL...thank you for that. I needed it this morning.

  9. Anonymous7:42 AM

    Huh. I didn't know I needed a mantra.

    I can handle bad cover art-in theory, but the chocolate covered valiums sound intriguing. The DH is pulling 2 extra 12 hour shifts this week, so I think I'm entitled to some even without attending a meeting.

  10. Fabulous!!! Tres amusant!

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you. That was a great way to start my day.

  12. Sign me up for the chocolate-covered valium! Except then I'd be too relaxed to get anything done, so on second thought I'll just stick to chocolate-covered espresso beans. *g*

  13. oohh, is there a 911 grant writing emergency number? I think I'll need that one by day's end.

  14. Haha that is so funny! I so love the Operator (=

  15. This is wonderful.

  16. Anonymous9:33 AM

    "No, ma'am, that's not part of my job requirement. (switches lines) Publishing 911, what's your emergency?"

    Best. Line. :D

  17. I love starting my day with a laugh... well make that several laughs...

  18. This is absolutely one of the best posts I've ever read at PBW - and I've been a loyal reader for years now.

    This was wonderful, wonderful. Thanks for making me laugh!

    Many chuckles ... guffawed when I hit "thought she killed herself..."

    And, maybe you better hurry and patent the chocolate-covered valium idea. Times like these, you know you'll make a million and Heaven forbid some lurking evildoer steals your brilliant concept!

  19. That was awesome. I love your sense of humor!!!

  20. So what's the phone number? Come on, we need it here. LOL! Thanks for posting, Lynn!

  21. Anonymous11:35 AM

    LOL! Oh, something really bad, eh? I dunno...I kinda like Gee. Ay. Why. Es. Eee. Ex. :P

  22. Coffee on my keyboard. Tears of laughter running down my face. Scaring the cat with my howls.

    This was priceless.

  23. **coughhackcoughcough** Laughing like crazy while trying to breathe through my congestion is not the easiest thing to do. DD1 is looking at me like I've lost my mind. Definitely needed this today.

    "Author: Really? I thought she killed herself. Okay, transfer me over."

    ROFL Best line!

    pass me one of those valium, would you?


  24. Anonymous12:45 PM

    rotflol - love the chocolate valium

    and i did tell someone that the pink cover WAS a collectors piece, I mean why else would the publisher do that to such a great book/series/author.

  25. Once again, you've made me day! Thank you!

  26. LOL

    I love the That Can't Be My Cover support and recovery group. Good luck with that! ;)

  27. It's a good thing I ran out of Pepsi one swallow before I started this or my monitor would be covered in it. :) Thanks so much.


  28. Very funny stuff! Gave me a big laugh first thing in the morning! Thanks.

  29. ROFLMAO!!

    Glad I read this before I had my ice tea!

    "No, ma'am, that's not part of my job requirement." Priceless!

  30. brilliant. I like the amazon comments.

  31. Anonymous3:39 PM

    "Operator: Does the writer ever link to you, or quote you?

    Reviewer: No. Okay, look, he pretends like I don't exist. But I know he hates me. I can feel it."

    I know that guy! He's right. I never mention him on my blog. In fact, I pretend he doesn't exist. Oh, how I am shamed now that I'm exposed!

    Guess I'll ease my pain in cheap, meaningless es ee ex.

  32. This was great. Thanks for the laugh :)

  33. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Reviewer: (whining) There's this writer who hates me. I read his blog every day. He says terrible things and I know he's talking about me.


    Reader: Authors write for me. Authors must please me. Authors tremble in fear before me.


    That is all.

  34. Hah. I recently asked my husband to dispose of an offending book (Horrid Cruelty To Cat), and he threw it out of the window.

    No credit for me!

  35. I needed this laugh! lol.

  36. Anonymous11:00 PM

    Just wanted to say that this was awesomely hilarious and scarily close to the bone at times. (We've all had our insecure moments...) I loved how the operator's advice caused more calls.

  37. Buhahahaha **Can't breath*** ha ha ha ***it hurts too much** haha

    Our writers group is talking about having a new contest for worst covers of the year and making them into a fund raising calendar. It sounds like you think you have a winning entry!

    I saw the fushia albino metalic cover. It wasn't too bad. Ok, it was memorable! Stunning actually. Ok, ok. I'll make sure you know when entries for the awful cover contest are posted. lol

    Seriously, thanks for the hysterical post!


  38. Anonymous9:43 AM

    Absolutely brilliant! Best thing I've read in a while!LOL

  39. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Oh God not a GREEN cover!



  40. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. And now I'm craving chocolate covered Valium.

  41. Hah, bravo!

    Don't forget the possible eco-tie-in, by making the green cover really green ... apparently recycled elephant dung is usable as paper.

  42. Anonymous2:46 PM

    I love it! Brilliant!

  43. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Another vote for: "Really? I thought she killed herself. Okay, transfer me over."

    Funny funny funny!

  44. lol! Where can I get chocolate-covered Valium?

  45. "Reader: (whispers) Gee. Ay. Why. Es. Eee. Ex."

    Hahaha! Brilliant!

  46. You know, if I didn't have some idea of your schedule, I'd say you have WAY too much time on your hands :). Thanks for the moment of hilarity.

  47. Okay, this may be the funniest thing I've read all week. All month. Possibly all year. And I'm writing a humorous romance, so that's depressing. Can I have a chocolate covered anti-depressant?

    Thanks to Nathan B. who helped me discover you. You're now on my list. If I were you, I'd seriously consider calling Publishing 911...

  48. One vote for a neon pink cover:

    I asked for Stay the Night at Barnes and Noble, and they showed me to a section where they quickly admitted they couldn't find it, remarking "it should have been on this table".

    I scanned the table and picked it out in under two seconds, looking for --- a neon pink cover!

    The bookseller was amazed. "How did you do that?" I was tempted for a second to claim magical powers, but thoughts of other fans being told "it isn't here" made me hold up the cover and confess "just look for bright pink".

  49. LOL-- That was a great little pick me up. Too bad there's not really a hotline like that! :D

  50. Anonymous3:34 PM

    Found this through BJ Keltz - hilarious! Thank you.

  51. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Your cool points just went through the roof.

  52. LAUGHING! this is halarious....

  53. Anonymous10:16 AM

    Zomg WHAT IS GIYSEX??? Please someone explain or I am going to die of curiosity. What is it??

  54. As a 911 dispatcher for 11 years, and as a soon-to-be published author (3 book deal with Avon) who had a nightmare about cover art last night, this is the funniest thing I've read all year. Thank you.

  55. Bwahaha! Thank for the laugh!

  56. That was hilarious. Thanks for sharing your sense of humor. Wanna guest blog for me?


  57. So clever and funny....
    Awesome blog, thanks for making my day LOL

  58. Anonymous4:57 PM

    How do I call Publishing 911. I need to report this blog writer who gave me stomach cramps from all the laughing she induced......

  59. Laughed Out Loud! (and not afraid to spell it out, accurately, as in vintage Webster)

  60. HA!! Now that was doggone funny!

  61. I loved this! Great work.

    I wouldn't mind having a part time job at that hotline. What great stories I could tell at parties!

  62. Had to Twitter and share this one. Great!

  63. This was so brilliant! You rock! I think you could make a lot of cash right now with those chocolate covered Valiums. I'd like to order half a pound, please.

    The cover art support group was *brill.*

  64. More true that we'd like to admit...

  65. hahahha! GENIUS!

  66. Hadn't been here in a while, but Moonrat's link brought me back. This is hysterical.

  67. LOL! Omigosh, here via Moonrat (Editorial Ass) for the first time, and this is HYSTERICAL!

  68. Anonymous12:47 AM

    LOL! That is hilarious! A Publishing 911 service? Could you even imagine a real job like that?! Ha! Ha! Ha! The Operator would need chocolate-covered Valiums. :)

  69. My first book had that lurid green cover. The second was heavy on he green too...

    *reaches for phone*

  70. Please tell me there is an editor support group for author-traumatized editors. Because I need one. NOW!


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