A hearty New Year’s greeting,
class. Now, do not squint at me with those bloodshot eyes, baby doll.
This is not too early an hour to be considerin’ the Sacred Laws of
Fiction Etiquette. Didn’t your mama warn you against partyin’ into the
wee hours of the mornin’? Let this be a lesson to you, sweetheart. On
the stroke of midnight, Ah was sound asleep in mah bed, as all decent
folk should be, and you will take note that Ah am wide awake and ready
to deal with the likes of you. And do not think that you can escape mah
notice by slouchin’ down in your seat at the back of the room.
Ah guarantee you will be
rendered wide awake as we consider the ten most important New Year’s
Fiction Etiquette Resolutions. If you evah wish to reach the exalted
ranks of the most revered fiction authors, repeat these maxims every
day and observe them religiously.
Ahem. Are we ready to take
notes? Or must Ah briskly rap the top of your puddin’ head with mah
ruler, darlin’, hmmmm? Now that Ah have your full attention, let us
10. Ah will nevah allow
desperation to take ovah so as to follow an editor into the bathroom at
a writers’ conference to urge him or her to take a look at mah work in
9. Ah will nevah trample on
propriety or step out of mah appointed place in relation to those who
are mah betters in the publishin’ world by pushin’ mah way ahead of
other aspirin’ writers or yammerin’ on and on about mahself and mah
8. Ah will refrain from flirtin’
with that adorable editor or agent in hopes of persuadin’ him or her to
take a peek at mah work in progress. Such scandalous behavior can lead
only to ruin!
7. I will give proper reverence
and all due obedience to the gods of the publishin’ world, such as
editors, agents, and published authors.
6. Ah will nevah descend to
shameless self-promotion by settin’ mahself up on one of those
scurrilous so-called social networkin’ sites. Ah would rather remain
unpublished forevah than indulge in such scandalously exhibitionistic
behavior. And honey, if Ah ever so much as think of
Twitterin’, just smack me upside the head!
5. Under no circumstances will
Ah evah allow the siren song of crass materialism to seduce me into
writin’ a best-sellin’ “edgy” novel. No good can come of such dealin’s!
4. In fact, Ah will nevah pay
any mind to any suspect genres such as edgy romances, thrillers,
science fiction, speculative fiction, and that ilk. And good glory, the
very thought of graphic novels will be barred from mah brain pan!
Delving into that kind of trash will serve only to degrade the writer
as much as those who read it.
3. Ah will write only the
loftiest of inspirational romance fiction featurin’ characters as pure
as the driven snow and plots guaranteed to nevah elevate the reader’s
heartbeat the teeniest
bit. Ah know full well that
will arouse the most
depraved emotions—and mah great-grannie’s garters, what do you imagine
will become of proper society then?
2. If Ah am evah so fortunate as
to receive that hallowed publishin’ contract and mah publisher should
deem fit to grace mah book with a purple monstrosity cover, Ah will not
utter one single, tiny word of complaint. Instead, Ah will smile
graciously and bow to the marketing department’s greater . . . wisdom.
1. Ah will wipe from mah mind
the very thought of evah upstagin’ mah own dear Ms. Flanders—as if any
of you muddle-headed young’uns ever could. Should you be so foolish as
to try, however, Ah assure you, your hiney will be booted into the
outer darkness of fiction h—well, you know what Ah am sayin’ darlin’.
Bless your heart, honey chile, Ah am nobody’s fool.
Ah see that, as usual, Ah have
managed to rivet your attention in spite of your sadly debilitated
state. Thank you so very much for your kind attention—as if you had a
choice when I ascended the podium. Nobody can command an audience like
your own Ms. Flanders.
Now that y’all have been
properly admonished so you will start 2009 off right, Ah am off to
enjoy mah traditional New Year’s luncheon of black-eyed peas, hoe cake,
and pulled pork barbecue. As usual, mah second cousin three times
removed came along early this mornin’ to bring us good luck by havin’ a
man be the first to enter the house. He brought along a generous
portion of his award-winning elderberry wine, and judgin’ from the
delicate aroma wafting from the bottle, mah dears, this is going to be
a very fine year indeed!
does a new author go about securing endorsements for an upcoming
March: Is it
proper to attempt to communicate directly with an author if you’re a
is the proper etiquette on writers’ e-mail loops?