6/25/08

Most Annoying Author Activities

What are the most annoying things a writer does that get on the publisher's nerves?
THE #1 most annoying thing an author can do (both before and after they're accepted) is to disrespect my time. Examples (and yes, these have all happened multiple times with multiple people):
  • Insists on hand-delivering their unsolicited manuscript in a face-to-face visit with me in my office. (This doesn't get them out of the slushpile. It makes me think they're very needy and will require lots of hand-holding.)

  • Calls me weekly to ask about manuscript/book sale status. Won't leave message with receptionist. Calls multiple times in the day until they actually speak to me in person. Then next week, it starts all over again.

  • Refuses to use e-mail because it's inconvenient, doesn't know how, doesn't have Internet at home.

  • Doesn't read my e-mails, company info letters, etc. then calls to ask me the questions I just answered.

  • Doesn't respond to time sensitive messages.

  • Doesn't cash royalty checks in a timely manner—or loses checks and needs new ones. (I really don't get this one at all but it happens frequently with some authors.)

  • Moves, changes phone numbers or e-mail addresses without telling me so I can't contact them.

  • Sends me things that my website CLEARLY states we don't/won't publish.


The second big thing that annoys me is when their actions (or lack thereof) make it more difficult to sell their books:
  • Misses deadlines.

  • Refuses to participate in even the most basic of marketing and promotional events.

  • Goes on vacation without telling me so I have no chance to set up a book signing.

  • Does speaking engagements, firesides, teaches workshops, etc. without telling me (so I can provide books to sell) and doesn't take business cards, flyers, or even mention their book.

  • Creates really ugly/unprofessional promotional materials with our contact info and distributes them without permission/approval.

  • Contacts booksellers directly and acts in unprofessional manner.

2 comments:

Wm Morris said...

"Creates really ugly/unprofessional promotional materials with our contact info and distributes them without permission/approval."

Oh my. NOTE: Neither MS Word nor MS Publisher are capable of producing professional promo material. Don't be tempted. And whatever you do -- don't use clip art.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

That's quite a list! I think I'm most surprised by the list relating to marketing. I would think you'd let your publisher know anywhere you'd be traveling to. Even on tightly scheduled visits, you might be able to squeeze in a book store visit to sign copies of your books and meet the store manager or employees. Even that little bit can boost sales - employees love to tell customers which authors they've met . . . which in turn, makes the customer curious to read the book.

Thanks for the info. I'll be sure to avoid all those annoying little actions! :)