Career Advice: Don’t Be An Author Jerk

by Jeff Abbott on November 2, 2008

I really don’t like authors who act like jerks. Case in point:
Yesterday my wife and sons went to the Texas Book Festival. I love the Festival, but I’m not participating this year (I didn’t even have my publicist submit Collision). I’ve done the Festival the past couple of years and I always enjoy it, but unfortunately you can see examples of Bad Author Behavior–instances of utter self-importance and disregard for fellow authors and readers.
My wife and kids went, because there are certain authors they very much wanted to see. I stayed home and worked on the new book. When my wife returned she told me the following: they were standing in line to get a book signed by a certain young adult author. The line had been long, but there were only about ten-fifteen people left. Said Author started complaining–yes, complaining– to a volunteer about how many people were left in the line, and that he was only going to sign his name, no personalized copies from now on, and that he was tired of being there. He did not know that my wife and others in line could hear his little diatribe. If she had not already bought his book, she said, she would have simply taken our children and left.
Yes, a children’s author was throwing a self-indulgent fit. . .where children could hear him. My wife said it was simply surreal.
Lesson to this author (and no, I won’t humiliate you by saying who you are): get over yourself. Seriously. Getting to sign books for readers is a privilege, not a chore. If you’re tired, if you’re sick, too bad. You agreed to be there. If you don’t want to sign books, don’t go to the Festival. Buck it up, be a professional, you’ll survive. Think of the kids, for God’s sake, who have to stand in line while you’re sitting on your butt. These kids have a hundred other entertainments to consider instead of reading your book. Put a smile on your face and count your lucky blessings that people are interested in your books.
And reality check: Your main character has all the recognition; you’re hardly a household name. Do yourself a favor: don’t make public appearances if you’re going to act horribly to your public.

    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    JT Ellison November 2, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I’ve seen it happen, and it’s truly unpleasant. If you don’t like public appearances, for goodness sake, don’t do them. Nothing is always better than being perceived as an asshole.

    Don :p November 4, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Hi, I’m building a bonfire over at Meg Gardiner’s blog to burn all politicians and bankers. I was wondering if you would like to throw jerk authors on as well, no charge! Check out the flames.

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