You 've Got to Laugh
From time to time, I'll meet authors who're clearly juiced on their own grandeur. Frankly, I can't imagine how many layers of insulation it would take to lose touch with publishing's myriad humbling lessons. These puffed up peacocks must have legions of flunkies running interference and whispering sweet pull-quotes in their ears as they walk out the door.
These haughty types must never read snarkily superior Amazon reviews, either, or snotterati comments on so-called "review" blogs, and I'm sure they have never responded to gushing, sob-story requests for autographed books or photos (does anyone really collect autographed author photos?) only to find them for sale on eBay a few days later.
And clearly, these arrogant authors are not attending the same book signings as the rest of us. Such as the one a friend recently reminded me of, where a man rushed up to me holding a book open and asked me, somewhat breathlessly, to sign the inner liner.
"But I didn't write that book," I said, peering at him through stacks of books I had written.
"I know that," he said, looking at me as though I had the intellect of your average rutabaga. "But this is the book I want to buy."
For the record, I didn't sign his book (he was suitably indignant) but I did convert this minor-league humiliation into a funny story to share with other writers. Which, the way I see it, is the best way of surviving this biz with one's ego relatively-intact.
You've got to laugh.
And every day I try to, when I receive scam pitches fairly oozing with false (and transparently generic) flattery; when my dictation software transmutes my brilliant prose into gobbledygook; when my editor's assistant e-mails me a request for something she needed 10 minutes ago as I'm walking out the door to an appointment.
I laugh to keep from tearing out my hair, to keep from turning cynical, and because I'm not in this business as a sprinter, but a marathoner, and I want to be here -- sane and smiling -- for the long haul.
So what about writing keeps you laughing? Any funny stories to share from signings, critique group meetings, or the Internet? If so, I'd love to hear them. It's 10 AM already, and I haven't had my first laugh of the day.