Good mornin’, students. Once
again we gather in this ancient, hallowed hall to ponder the Sacred
Laws of Fiction Etiquette. Ah am so glad to see each and every one of
you takin’ your responsibilities in this regard seriously. But make no
mistake. After last month’s debacle, in which human body parts were, if
not mentioned, at the very least vulgarly hinted at, Ah do not ever
care to revisit that subject or any related to it in any way. Is that
clear, or do Ah need to come back there and explain mah point in a way
you are guaranteed to comprehend?
Ah thought so. Very well, then.
In the unlikely event we should
encounter any further misunderstandin’s, I took the precaution of
bringing along a double shot—er, cup of my special blend of coffee.
It’s what my pappy would have called bear huntin’ coffee, and how
bracin’ it is! Be so kind as to give me just a moment . . . Thank you
kindly. Ah am now ready for the day.
Let us get to the business at
hand, shall we, darlin’? The envelope, if you will. Bless your heart.
I’m a first-time author, and my editor just sent me the cover of my
book. Oh, Ms. Flanders, I’m writing to you in the greatest distress,
hoping you can advise me as to the proper etiquette for such a
situation. I fear I shall lose all sensibility! This is an author’s
worst nightmare! I envisioned the loveliest of covers for my darling
book, all full of melting, misty light like a—oh, dare I say it?—like a
Thomas Kinkade painting. A cover that would draw the reader into the
world of my characters and impart such a sense of longing and romance
and passionate desire that they would simply have to possess it.
Instead, the cover they propose is a monstrosity beyond my powers of
description! It’s . . . it’s . . . well, it’s . . . purple! And the
design is so blurry and squished looking that I can’t even begin to
imagine what it depicts. It reminds me of a frog that’s been run over
on the road. Twice. With this cover, my book will never sell. It will
be relegated to sit spine out on bookstore shelves until it’s returned
to be remaindered—which will be very soon. And I will sink into
Oh, do help
me, Ms. Flanders. Save me from this unimaginable catastrophe. How can I
persuade my editor that they simply must redo this cover and give me
one that will be an ornament to my story? Shall I tell them there’s no
way I can promote my book with this cover on it, that I would rather
die than have my name associated with something so horrible? Tell me,
what would you do?
Mah dear, do get a hold of
yourself! There is nothin’ whatever to be gained by all this drama. I’d
offer you a sip of my, um . . . coffee . . . to settle your nerves, but
alas, it was good to the last drop.
What in the world are you
thinkin’, sweetheart? It is abundantly clear that you are lackin’ the
most basic understandin’ of the Sacred Laws of Fiction Etiquette.
Luckily for you, Ah am here to set you perfectly straight. Did it occur
to you that no one asked for your opinion? They are the experts in all
things to do with publishin’ books, dearie, not you. And unless you do
your all to promote your book, it’s not likely it will sell. And we all
know who will get the blame for low sales figures. So threatenin’ to
just sit on your pretty little hands is like cuttin’ off your nose to
spite your face, isn’t it, baby doll?
What would Ah do? Why, mah dear,
Ah would sink to mah knees and kiss mah editor’s . . . pointy boots.
And I recommend you do the same.
Well now, followin’ all this
exertion, Ah do feel the need for another shot—cup of my special
coffee. It’s a shame there isn’t enough to go around for all you
young’uns. I fear y’all will have to go in search of your own
refreshments. Just don’t forget to return next month for your next
bracin’ dose of instruction on the Sacred Laws of Fiction Etiquette.
do lightweight romance novels dominate the Christian market?
December: Why doesn’t
Christian fiction generate the kind of reader excitement and sales that
Harry Potter does?
wrong with sprinkling adjectives, adverbs, and exclamation points
throughout your manuscript, anyway? Weren’t they invented to be used?