Writers behaving badly…
Hum. Do I get to name names? No? Okay, fine. I have dish.
It’s Romance Writers of America conference in NYC some years ago. Yours truly was a volunteer and the Line Gestapo at registration. You had to have a face I.D. You’d think we’d asked for a lung the way people complained. However, I was informed by the fire marshal that the lines had to be neat and short in case of fire so we could leave without a stampede. He wanted to shut us down and make RWA move to a larger room, it was that crowded. I was vigilant, very Marine wife.
The face I.D. thing is what bothered the big wig historical author. When informed, she said she didn’t have one but that will be okay. I repeat the RWA registration instruction and she insists, she won’t need an I.D. because all these people could vouch for her. I told her that didn’t matter, no face ID and you’ll have to go to the longer line.
You’d think I’d slapped her. “Don’t you know who I am?” she demands. Loudly.
My response was, ”No, I don’t, but you should know that I am the person you have to get past to register.“ I walked away. My work was done.
I didn’t have to repeat that story. Several did it for me, bless their hearts. After 20 years in this business, I have plenty of stories of authors full of their own crap, er.. self importance, but a couple stand out.
A NY Times bestseller at a luncheon with several newbies like me blabbed her advance numbers with, “Can you believe they only paid me a million two for two books?”
No, I couldn’t.
Let’s see… At another NY conference a pal of mine won a little red rubber duck for asking the best question. She went around the conference and took photos of ‘famous’ writers with said duck. I recall a photo of James Rollins with it on his head, another of it on a cop’s car on the New York streets and my favorite was Clive Cussler giving it a scolding. Nearly everyone just jumped on the idea and played with it.
One International bestselling author, one of those who writes with another author, gives them second billing and never thanks them when the books win awards—was signing books. Placing the duck on a stack of his books, my friend starts to tell him about the photos when snotty pretentious author flicked the duck off the book and across the room. Very pointedly done too. To a fellow writer no less. A first class jack ass.
Need I say more?
Be a snot, I don’t care because I believe in my soul what you put out there, comes back to you three fold. Send out good, and good comes back to you. But send out bad… speech, behavior etc. and you’ll get it right back in your lap. Three fold. What goes around, comes around.
Besides people will tell the story next time–with names.
I live my writing career by a beloved quote from humorist Erma Bombeck, “Never forget your last book is only a garage sale away.”