Thursday, December 13, 2012

Alan Sepinwall, Hugh Howey, and the Death of "One Size Fits All" Publishing

My new Huffington Post blog just went live. Read it. Like it. Love it. Or something. (but please do read it)

Alan Sepinwall, Hugh Howey, and the Death of "One Size Fits All" Publishing

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

9 Things Not To Ask a Writer

1) Have you written anything I've heard of?
--This is like asking a plumber if he's worked on any toilets you've pooped in. Odds are unless you're quite a well-known author, like John Grisham or the Kardashians, you've haven't written something they've heard of. Plus, how the hell are you supposed to know what they have and haven't heard of? Just say 'yes', walk away and delete their contact from your phone.

2) Are you writing anything at the moment?
--At the moment, we're talking to you, so no. But we plan on drinking copiously, then going home to continue writing so that we may one day answer 'yes' to the above question.

3) Are they going to make a movie from your book?
--Again, this presumes you're published, have a film deal in place, and all the freaky things that can happen in the Go-Gurt machine of Hollywood work out so that Tom Cruise is one day being interviewed about what it feels like to interpret 'your' character. So unless this is currently the case, you'll have to explain that you have about as much influence as to whether or not a movie gets made from your book as an accountant has of rigging the Powerball for you. Once again the safe bet is to answer 'maybe', then follow guidelines from answer #2.

4) Are any characters based on people from your life?
--Odds are, yes. And if not fully lifted from your life, then certain traits are for sure. But you're not about to tell them that the main character's impotency stems from the confessions of your cousin Paul, or that the anxious, bed-ridden alcoholic thrice-divorced mess is based on your aunt Lorraine, so answer 'maybe' then ask if you can record everything they're saying for possible future use in one of your books.

5) How much money did you get for your book?
--You'd be surprised that, yes, people do actually ask this question. They're the same people who, when meeting a friend's baby for the first time, jokingly ask the husband, "Are you sure it's yours?" Simply ask for their social security number and to see their most recent bank statements, then laugh and say it's just for research. And if they're stupid enough to give it to you, steal all their money and give it to The Human Fund.

6) Where do you get your ideas from?
--Since most writers get their ideas from the exact same place--that netherworld known as 'I have no idea' and 'beats the hell out of me'--just respond with "from the Internet" and repeat the answer to #2.

7) Can I give you an idea for your next book?
--First off, nobody asked you. Do we walk into your job at the mortuary and ask if we can touch up deceased Uncle Walter? For some reason, people think you're constantly scouring the earth looking for ideas for your next book, waiting for a stranger to politely offer to lend you the story of the time they burnt their tongue eating a slice of pizza because it would be the perfect motivation for your villain's murderous rampage in the third act.

8) Will you read my manuscript and critique it?
--Sure! And let me guess--this request comes from your Aunt's friend's son who's been a corporate lawyer for the last five years but is tired of the grind and feels he wants to be creative? Never seen that before! Besides, we'd like nothing better than to curl up on our couch with a 500-page monstrosity written by a complete stranger, which will take 8-10 hours to read, then sit down with a red pen and give you an edit letter than Maxwell Perkins would have been proud of. Do you realize how long it takes to read a book? And that writers get paid based on their output and producticity? Ask this lawyer friend for 10 hours of free legal advice in exchange and see if he jumps at the office.

9) Have you read those 'Twilight' or 'Harry Potter' books?
--Because we all know those people who've never heard of a single book until the movie comes out. Tell them that you only read old papyrus scrolls, that the novel died in 84 BCE, and anyone who participates in witchcraft or vampiredom should be burned at the stake. (and FWIW you're team Jacob)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Things I'm Not Thankful For

Things I'm Not Thankful For

A popular holiday tradition is listing all the things you're thankful for. A less-popular holiday tradition is listing all the things you're not thankful for. So here is my list of things I could most certainly, and would prefer to, do without:

People Who 'Endorse' You On LinkedIn

Assistants Who Were Born in the 1990's

People Who Tweet 'Good Morning!' to Nobody in Particular

People Who Wear Soul Patches

People Who Take Half an Hour to Make Their Coffee at the Fixins Bar

Bartenders Who Act Like They Have Something Better to do Than Take Your Drink Order


The Black Eyed Peas

People Who Like Either Nickelback or The Black Eyed Peas

Boy Bands

People Who Love Boy Bands

People Who Use Umbrellas That Could Fit the Entire Population of Guam Underneath

People in the Office Who Have Loud Personal Conversations

Guys Who Are Dickheads

Girls Who Date Guys Who Are Dickheads Then Complain About How All Guys Are Dickheads

Awful, Soulless Childrens Movies That Cost $200 Million to Make and Seem Like They Were Brainstormed by Accountants Stuffed in an Airless Laboratory

People Who Complain About "Traditional Publishing"

People Who Self-Publish Their Novellas of 'Cat Erotica' then List Their Occupation as 'Author'

People Who Write Blog Posts Giving Relationship Advice to Celebrities

People Who Ask Celebrities for an RT Because it's Their Birthday

People Who Request Your Friendship on Facebook Then Immediately Post a Link to Their Website/Blog/Cat Erotica on Your Wall

People Who Post Pictures of their Nail Polish on Instagram

People Who Post Pictures of Their Cats on Instagram (sorry, I think cats are weird)

People Who Post Pictures of Their Feet at the Beach on Instagram


People Who Sigh and Say, "Oh, you know" When You Ask How They're Doing

People Who Still Don't Know the Difference Between 'Their' and 'They're'

People Who Say e-Readers Are Ruining Books

People Who Say Print is Dead

People Who Use FourSquare to Check into Starbucks

People Who Defend Chris Brown

Chris Brown

People Who Watch Anything Charlie Sheen Does

Charlie Sheen

Donald Trump

Donald Trump's Hair

People Who Still Refer to Bloggers As Living in Their Parents' Basements

People Whose Twitter Profiles Refer to Them as a 'Child-Wrangler'

People Who Refer to Themselves as a 'Social Media Guru'

Anyone Who Unironically Calls Themselves Any Kind of 'Guru' Unless Their Name is Guru

What are you not thankful for?