Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Author's Holiday Wish List. Part 2.

So this was inspired by my friend and fellow writer, Sofia Quintero aka Black Artemis, who wrote a wonderful column by the same name on her blog: An Author's Holiday Wish List. Go visit her blog... then come back to me. lol.

I agree with all her suggestions, including, among them: 1) Buy Our Books; 2) Buy Our Books For Someone Else; 3) Write A Review; 4) Don't Loan Out Your Books. There are others in her column, and reasons why they are important, so do check her out.

Additionally, I got to thinking about some more Author Holiday Wish List Items. These are less "customer focused" and more "friends of writers focused" because at times we want to tell our friends these things, but don't always have the heart. It's all in fun... but still. :-)

1. Just because I'm working at home doesn't mean I'm enjoying a day off. So before asking us to run your errands, wait for the cable person at your house, watch your dog... ask if we're writing that day or if we can help you out. We're generous, but also need to stay focused due to deadlines -- self-imposed or publisher-imposed. On that note, try not to call us if you know we're on a writing/working schedule.

1a. Just because you happen to see us pop up on Instant Message, it's not that we're wanting to chat... and definitely not right away. We might just be checking for an email from the editor, newspaper, etc... One of my pet peeves is IM Pouncers... who message me the MOMENT I get online. At least give me a couple minutes to get settled. lol.

2. Just because we're writing doesn't mean we don't want to be invited to a night out. It doesn't mean we'll go. But the invitation can go something like this, "I want to respect your writing time, but I'd really like you to hang out with us on a Friday night. Maybe you can set aside one Friday night writing session this month for the group?" That would show your writer friends you respect their need to be at home some weekends, but that you still want them part of the group.

3. If you ask us to read some of your work, please understand if we have to say no... or if we say yes, don't breathe down our necks every other day for our feedback. Yes, we might have agreed to read your work... but we still have work and a life too. Asking for feedback on a 250 page project in a week is a bit much. And in the age of legal repercussions, we don't want to get sued because you think we borrowed your idea. That's mostly why we have to say no... even though as friends we trust you.

4. We know you think we're rich when we get published, but we're not. Most of us are working day jobs... or have to do speeches at universities and groups to make ends meet. So... don't ask us for free copies of our books. I mean, we're generous and all. But our free copies are generally for us to give to reporters, bookstore staff, reviewers, etc... who have the potential to speak to the masses about our books. So when we... let me speak for myself... when I see you spend $250 on a pair of boots, $20 on coffee a day, $80 on a night out at the club... and you don't want to spend $15 on my book... It speaks volumes about your priorities and support for a friend. Buying the book keeps us in business. Like I always tell my students when they are nonchalant or say "I don't know"-- can you pretend like you care?

4a. If you like our books, buying them tells the publisher they should support and find additional writers who write our kind of books. Especially true for niche genres, for example LGBT of color lit. There aren't too many black, gay men's stories being picked up by major publishers. Buying the books will alert publishers there is a paying market out there, and that they should be seeking more of our work. We shouldn't be a self-published genre forever.

5. Books are just as important as movies. Books are just as important as CDs. We know how anxious you are for Friday's new movie. We know you're waiting for new music Tuesday. Can you show the same excitement when we release a book? Can you send 10 text messages to your friends about our releases? Can you email your list about our books? We'd appreciate it. We'd appreciate it even more if we didn't have to ask.

6. Oh, and it's generally because of books... or studying books... that most of us have attained the level of success we have today. Reading is fundamental. Reading is fun. Reading kept most of us fantasizing about life beyond our own, when the neighborhood bully kept teasing us for whatever reason. We knew we'd show him/her by being smart and becoming more successful than they would ever be.

7. Whether we're published or not... check in with us, ask how our projects are coming along, if there's something you can do for us... maybe offer to read a passage to see if it makes sense, offer some paper for printing, bring us some coffee or tea or other treats.

8 - 100. Other suggestions for the Author's Holiday Wish List?

Of course this is all in fun... but just getting the gist of some of these would help us in our writing process and career. Thank you!

Now, back to whatever you're doing!


Clay said...

love the list!

D.LavarJames said...

Amen brotha!

Keep doing your thing, love it.

I tell people all the time I want books or gift cards to bookstores, they seem to not understand how much I like to read.

durante said...

I just learned a lot about you! Very good blog entry.

durante vita