What "Everyone Knows" About Authors …. But Isn't True

Yes — this is Lea Wait, and this is a “golden oldie” blog post. I first wrote it several years ago, but over the years many readers (and other writers) have commented on it, and I decided that it was time to revisit the subject, with a few additions this time around.

So …

  • All authors are rich.Lea on Wiscasset town pier
  • Authors get as many copies of their published books as they want, free, from their publishers. Just ask them — they’ll give you one. If they don’t give you one, they’re not really your friend. (They’d also love to give copies of their books to any charity that asks. The more giveaways the more readers! And all authors want are readers, right?)
  • Authors get their ideas from a) their dreams; b) the lives of their friends and relatives; c) their characters, who come to them in visions; d) the daily news; and d) complete plots handed to them by strangers. They’d love to hear your ideas for their next book!
  • Authors have a lot of spare time. All they have to do is write down those stories people tell them. So any author would love to a) watch your children; b) walk your dog; c) serve on your organization’s board; or d) organize a benefit for your worthy cause and call all his or her writer friends to come and support it. (Remember: they’re all rich!)
  • Authors do very little editing. That unpleasant chore is delegated to their agents and editors. After all, editing squelches the joy of personal expression.

    Author's Assistant & Muse

    Author’s Assistant & Muse

  • Authors have staffs to take care of their scheduling and itineraries, book their tours, answer fan letters, design and update their websites, post on social media, write blogs, keep their mailing lists up-to-date, and do research for their next books. (Many also have personal trainers, chefs, and people to clean their houses, wash their clothes, run their errands, and take care of any garden or yard work necessary.) All authors have to do is write, and sometimes read speeches written for them. Their publishers, agents, and personal staff take care of the rest.
  • An author may get some rejections at first, but after his first book is published anything he or she writes will be published.
  • Authors always choose the titles of their books, design the covers, decide what format their books will be published in, and set their prices. If you don’t like any of those things, be sure to tell him or her.DSC02321
  • Authors spend a lot of time flying around the country, staying in fancy hotels, being wined and dined, talking with Oprah, and signing their books. The publisher pays for this, of course. If an author is NOT doing this, it’s because he or she has chosen not to.
  • Not all authors smoke, the way they used to, but most of them still drink pretty heavily.  Alcohol fuels their creativity. They also drink because they’re lonely, sitting in front of their computers all the time. Do your author friend a favor by dropping in unexpectedly several times a week to
    Lea's book about an author's life

    Lea’s book about an author’s life

    cheer him up. (And bring wine.)

  • No matter what they say, authors really are their major characters.
  • Therefore, of course, romance writers have hot sex lives, picture book writers think like preschoolers, mystery writers want to kill people, and science fiction writers want to blow up the planet. Authors who write about vampires .. well .. you can guess. College professors write literary fiction for other college professors to analyze.
  • Authors will be really pleased if you tell them you loved their book so much you loaned your copy to twenty of your best friends. They’ll be even more pleased if you tell them that, to save trees and money, you bought it used to begin with.
  • Now that authors can self-publish, only old-fashioned writers work with agents and traditional publishers. They can make a lot more money putting their book up on Kindle or Nook themselves. If your author friend doesn’t know this, do him a favor by telling him.
Lea Wait writes the Shadows Antique Print series and the Mainely Needlepoint series, as well as historical novels set in nineteenth century Maine. She keeps a bottle of champagne in her refrigerator in case there is something to celebrate, and loves eating seafood of all types (except shark) and listening to the voices in her head. She invites you to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads.
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16 Responses to What "Everyone Knows" About Authors …. But Isn't True

  1. Linda Baker says:

    I needed a good laugh this morning! Hilarious!

  2. C.T. Collier says:

    I agree– this brought a big smile and many chuckles! I just love your “author’s assistant and muse” 🙂

  3. John Clark says:

    Great post. I tried hiring the three squirrels who hang around the bird feeder to help me with my literary career, but they declined, saying I must be nuts.

  4. Yup, I’m pretty much zero for all on those. Though I WILL say, I’m grateful if someone read my book, no matter where they got it, and if they’ve loaned it to friends, that’s fine too. What I may miss in sales is negated by great word of mouth and the satisfaction of knowing people read and liked my book, which is the most important thing. You never know what helps build the foundation of a loyal fan base and will help lead more people to your books in the future.

  5. Right on target, Lea. The life of a writer isn’t anything like what others think.

  6. Carole Price says:

    So entertaining. Put a smile on my face when I needed it most, after my publisher dropped their mystery line and left me to find a new home for my series.

    • Lea Wait says:

      My sympathies, Carole! Been there, done that. Not one of the high points of being an author — for sure. And one a lot of us (if not most of us) have somehow survived. But it ain’t easy. Glad to give you a smile today!

  7. Skye says:

    Wonderful post and so true in many ways. I adore your muse ( so incredibly precious). I will also have to investigate your Joe Burgess police procedurals.

    • Lea Wait says:

      Those are Kate Flora’s — and they are terrific! Enjoy! (My muse sends good wishes and a hint of salmon treats!)

      • Skye says:

        Lea, give your adorable Muse a hug from me; I lost my little girl over a year ago.

      • Skye says:

        I also meant to add that you are so very right about writers: ‘we are really our major characters’ despite time frame, setting, or theme.

  8. Isn’t it amazing how people love to project their fantasies on others?

    I’m sure it would be fun to be rich in dollars and free time, but many of us do struggle to keep the kitchen stocked with bon-bond.

  9. That was bon-bons . . .

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