The pretentious author
Okay, we all know one or two. Those people who treat their book/career as if they discovered a cure for AIDS instead of writing a book to entertain. I’ve been privileged to get to know many ‘big name’ authors and in my experience 99% of them are lovely people. That 1% is the problem. I know a moderately successful author who refers to fans and the unpublished as ‘the little people’ or ‘the great unwashed.’ All the while she pays someone to write glowing words of thanks when the same people send her a compliment. That rankles. I hate when an author gets so full of herself/himself that they forget what it was like to be an aspiring author, or how special it felt to meet someone whose work you really loved.
I know authors who won’t do workshops because they consider it training their successors. Seriously? I’ve never met anyone who attended a workshop and sold a manuscript as a result.
But there is a caveat to all this. People often misinterpret behavior. Me? I hate book signings. They make me feel uncomfortable and I’m not the kind of person to hawk potential buyers. I’ve heard people make comments about my MIA approach to signing. A book signing is a two Xanax event for me. I do them once or twice a year but that’s about it. Not because I think I’m so wonderful that I shouldn’t participate, I just get too nervous.
Then there’s the pretentious author who won’t deal with an editor. Many big name authors don’t want to be edited. They love their own words and think them sacrosanct. Me? I think and editor makes a book better. They often see what I couldn’t because they’re reading it clean. I can’t imagine being so impressed with myself that I ignored an important step in the process.
Then there’s the author who believes his/her own press. I’ve seen this a lot. They hit the Times list and suddenly they’re all bitchy and demanding. Really? Very few people base their buying habits on the Times list. Hell, a lot of people have no clue there is a Times list. Not that hitting the list isn’t a milestone, it is. But thinking you’re the best thing since sliced bread goes a bit too far.
My nominee for the best successful author – Lee Child. He’s warm, funny, humble, talented, gracious, and generous with his time and his knowledge. He’s the kind of author who gives authors a good name.
Ever had a run in with an imperfect author? How about a role model? Know someone who is a standout?
Happy writing, Rhonda