Etiquette for Friends and Relatives of Authors that I’m Making up off the Top of my Head Right Now

1. It’s okay if you can’t attend your friend or relative’s book launch party. You don’t have to write the author a long email explaining your excuse for not attending. “Hey, I can’t go to your thing because I have to clean the gutters on my house that day. But good luck with the whole writing business!” See, if you’re close enough to an author to receive free copies of all her books, and she sends you an invitation to her reading, it’s not because she actually expects you to go there and buy more books and act like she’s some kind of celebrity. It’s because she’s hoping you’ll pass the invitation to 50 of your own friends in an email that says, “Hey, this is my cousin I was telling you about – the author who writes super awesome books. You should totally go to this event and buy 20 copies of her book and tell all your friends to do the same.” Because, that way, she makes more money and springs for the better tequila at family get-togethers. Get it?

2. It’s okay if you can’t attend your author friend’s reading or don’t want to help publicize her books or don’t even like her work. But it would be nice if, after all that, you refrain from telling your author friend how much you love the Twilight books and how you’ve bought two copies of each one and how you’re telling 50 of your friends to buy them, too.

You know what I mean? It’s okay to like Twilight and not your friend’s work, but try to be sensitive about it, is all I’m saying.

For example: If you were an insurance salesman, your author friend wouldn’t email you and say “OMG, I just met the AWESOMEST insurance agent and I bought 6 policies from him and then I told my friends and now we’re gonna have a little insurance party where we all meet up with this guy and buy his policies! I thought you’d like to know that, since you do something involved with insurance, don’t you? Hey, maybe you could meet this guy and learn how to sell policies like he does! Then you could have a corner office downtown and drive a BMW convertible like he does!”

At least, I hope your author friend wouldn’t do that to you. I know it’s not exactly the same thing, since you can own books by more than one author but you generally only have one insurance guy. But I’m just saying: sensitivity, people. Your author friend has feelings that can be hurt by book-related comments, so be careful.

3. You know what? Don’t worry about it. Go ahead and do everything in the two items above. Your author friend is just a crybaby who needs to toughen up if she wants to make it. But, if you are going to do the stuff described above, please don’t follow it up by referring the aspiring writers you meet to your author friend for free advice, free editing, and free co-authoring… not unless you plan to start giving your author friend free insurance policies.

Thanks, guys.

Right now I’m doing 3 things.

1. Publicity for my new novel, Lone Star Legend, in stores any second so buy your copy now (or next weekend, probably). I’m happy to report that it’s getting enthusiastic reviews from professionals and real people, alike, so you’ll probably enjoy it. Download it on your book reader. Show up at one of my upcoming readings and get a real copy.

2. Working like a crazy person on my next novel. What? No, I didn’t say “sitting here avoiding working on my next novel because I’m terrified about the way it’s coming out and that it won’t come out well and that all the success I’ve ever had has been a complete fluke.” Why would you think I’d said that? Jeez, guys.

3. Being happy that I’m meeting a lot of awesome people in Houston, now that I have a tiny bit of time to do so. Because Houston has so many freaking awesome people, as some of y’all might be starting to suspect now that we’ve got our gay mayor and a special Web site boycotting our whole city and all. The combo of going part-time at my day job and my kids being old enough to completely ignore me means that I’m attending a lot more local events lately, and I love that shit. But I probably need to buy more dresses. But that’s okay… don’t think about that right now.

Important Job Tools

I bought a giant paper calendar for my home office. It happens to be the same as the giant paper calendar they ordered me at my day job office, except that I drove to Office Max myself for this one so it cost half as much as the one Office Max shipped to my job.

I have my Outlook calendar at work, my iCalendar at home, my calendar app on my phone, and my brain. But none of those work as well as paper calendars on a wall. Don’t know why that is.

All right. Back to work, peeps. Talk to y’all later.

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Posted in venting, work, writing on 01/21/2010 07:12 pm


  1. Christina E. Rodriguez

    I think your next book should be entirely about the etiquette you've described above. It'd be hilarious AND educational!

  2. I'm a lousy reviewer, but I posted a review on Amazon. You get better with each book. (Altho – I still think Growing Up with Tamales is a classic!)


  3. I enjoyed your book to the fullest. I wasn’t able to meet you but I bought a signed copy at BookPeople, I was super excited I forgot to order “To the Last Man…”. So when I finally remembered I called it in and ordered it. I woke up one morning and did not get up from bed till 2pm reading “Lone Star Legend”. “Houston, We Have A Problema” was great too! Keep it up, you have my purchase on your next book for sure! You crack me up with your wit.

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