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December 23, 2003
Varieties of insanity known to affect authors Posted by Teresa at 11:05 AM * 199 comments
If I could just get people to read my manuscript, I know they’d love it.
You must not love my book if you want me to make all these changes.
My first novel took a long time to write, but now that I’ve been through the process and gotten my feet under me, the rest should go much faster.
If only you’d get behind my book more, I just know it could be a bestseller.
I got a bad copyedit. No one shall ever touch my text again, no matter how much it needs it.
The cover doesn’t look like I imagined it would. I must now do my best to bring Western Civilization to a screeching halt.
It was somebody I’ve never heard of. What can they do to me?
Picking up a quickie work-for-hire gig writing a media tie-in novel isn’t going to affect my productivity on the ongoing series I have under contract at another house.
If you don’t pay me the big advances, you won’t have any incentive to promote my books.
I know I’m three years late on this book, and I didn’t warn you that I’d finally be delivering it, but you’ve now had it sitting on your desk for a month! Why haven’t you read it yet?
My book’s been optioned! I’m gonna be a bestseller! Alternately: Hollywood beckons! So long, suckers!
I write brilliant sex scenes. How come you keep cutting them?
I’ve set my novel aside because I’m working on a nonfiction book about [some complex, recondite, and divisive subject where even the experts tread softly, about which I’ve very recently conceived an obsessive interest] that will finally Set Everyone Straight.
My last book actually earned out and made a few bucks in royalties. Why aren’t you doubling my next advance?
If you really loved me, you’d advertise my forthcoming book in the New Yorker and the New York Times.
Your editorial comments are brilliant. I adore them. No one has ever understood my writing as well as you have. I am now so paralyzed that I can’t revise the book.
I’m tired of being poor. I’m tired of writing well-reviewed books that go out of print. I’m going to sell out and write a trashy bestseller.
Why, when I sell this well, do I not get award nominations and prestigious reviews? Alternately: I get all these great reviews and award nominations. Why don’t I sell better? Alternately: It’s your fault I don’t sell better—my fans love me!
If only you didn’t insist on packaging and marketing my books in the ways that have hitherto made me a bestselling category author, I just know they could be reaching a much wider audience.
I want you to publish my next book under a pseudonym so I can find out whether it’s my writing or my name that’s selling.
I’m writing for an audience that doesn’t yet exist.
Yes—but when I do it, it’ll work.
Addendum: I knew there’d be some I missed.
This is all about me, isn’t it—me and my books? That is what you’re talking about, right?
Oh my god, this manuscript is awful. Why didn’t I see that before I told them it was finished? What could I have been thinking? I can’t show this to anyone. If I let them read it, they’ll never respect me again. Nobody will. I’ll have to change my name and move to Lubbock to live in a trailer and work in a hardware store and never, never, never tell anyone ever again that I’ve had anything to do with writing or publishing.
Robert Legault came up with one that made me wail in-memory-of:
I have a friend from my church/school/local bar who knows all about editing and is going to typeset/copy edit/proofread the book for me, so I don’t need to deal with your production staff.
He wrote that how fast? And that’s his first draft? Aaaargh! He’s the real writer. I’m just a talentless plodder who’s put together a bag of tricks.
I’m not a real writer. I don’t know what I’m doing. I just dash this stuff off. For some reason, people seem to like it. Or anyway, they’ve liked it so far.
He’s a real writer. I just make stuff up. He writes from the heart. Alternately: He’s genuinely creative—a real writer. I just endlessly rehash my own experiences.