Clark's premise is so true, and so funny, that I wanted to share. I modified his eleven points to fit Romance Writers and added a few "never say" statements of my own and thoughts from my friends at Romance Books 4 Us.
Response: "You really don't. It's hard work, and you have to spend hours at a hot computer in your underwear coming up with new and clichéless ways of describing an accelerated heart beat, sweat, and how put to tab A into slot B. You have to experiment. You have to...
Why are you leaving?"
Response: "Your profession sounds interesting too. Maybe I'll take a summer school course and become a brain surgeon just like you."
Response: “What? !!@#$ "
Response: "Like going to work every...and every night...and on weekends, but without any vacation, overtime pay, or sick leave."
5. "I have a great idea for a book..."
Response: "Good. Write it, come back in ten years, and we’ll talk."
6. Variations On A Theme #1
● "Your books was so good. I'll bet you could even write a real book."
● "Oh, I get it. You're going to write a romance novels now, and then later you'll write a real book."
● "Is writing this stuff going to interfere with your real book?"
● "Now that you're writing smut, are you ever going to finish your real book?"
● "You're a writer? Cool! Romance novels? Oh, that's too bad."
Response: "Yeah, just those pesky romance novels. It's a good thing they don't require some of the most creative, discerning, demanding, open minded readers around, eh? Aha ha, ha. Ha."
● "I don't read bodice rippers."
● "I don't care for reading porn, but I enjoy your books."
● "Do you practice all those love scenes yourself?" Chuckle, chuckle.
● "I read a romance novel the other day. How can people read such trash?
Response: "You mean you can read? Well, that's a start. Why are you ogling my cover and sweating?"
● "You wrote a romance novel? That's wonderful. When will it be published?"
Response: "That all depends on whether or not I can sell it. First I have to find an agent. Then the agent has to send it to publishers and convince one of them to buy it. Then there's the contract. After that it takes a year to get into rewrites and editing. After that... Well, maybe around 2030. Can you wait that long?" [Also an answer to question #3]
● "You wrote a romance novel? That's wonderful. Send me a copy when it's published."
Response: "Yeah, right. Are you kidding, you A-hole? You not only expect me to give you a copy, but to pay postage on top of that. Why don't you sacrifice one cup of Starbucks and buy a copy?"
Response: "Nooo, I'm just wasting time sitting in Barns and Noble signing someone else's book so they don't have to be here. What? Don't I look like I could write a book?"
9. "Who's Your Agent? Can you recommend me?"
Response: "Who's your psychiatrist?"
Response: "Something's going to be dying in about four seconds, and I guarantee you it won't be romance novels."
12. "So How Much Money Do You Make Writing Romance Novels? It can't be very much."
Response: "Here's a fun new rule. It's called Don't Ask Authors Things You Wouldn't Ask Other intelligent Adults."
13. "Will You Put Me In Your Next Book?"
Response: "Don't tempt me. I might. I might not. Do something interesting and let's see. Why don't you start by stripping down in public?"
14. "I Hate Reading."
Response: "You say 'hate', I hear 'hit me.' I swear, it's so strange..."
Response: "I think that name is already taken. Besides, he's a guy, and I'm a size 2X female. I don't think his pants would fit."
If you are an author, I'm sure you have a collection of things people have said to you that make you want to strangle them, or force feed them a book. It makes you wonder what people really think about writers and publishing. For sure, they have no clue about what if takes to write any book, even a bad one.