Sunday, March 13, 2005

E G A D S! Egos in romance

I can't stand people who constantly brag about themselves. Especially authors. Sitting next to them at conferences, conventions or at parties is like being trapped in an oxygen-deprived environment.

When I'm around them and they start spewing allocades about themselves, I secretly call it "mouth farting." Because it's loud, it stinks and everyone's trying to be polite, not saying anything but we all know it's quite crude.

There's nothing wrong with sharing stories of success. There's lots of reasons for romance authors to talk about it, what worked for them, etc. I love it when successful authors share the secrets of their success. And I delight in hearing good news, especially in these tough times of publishing.

What gets my goatskin is when authors DO NOTHING but brag about themselves. They don't ask you how you are. They don't even pretend interest in anything other than themselves.

The conversation (monologue) starts off like this, "My last book, WHIP A WILD MONKEY MAN, just made the Poughkeepsie Press's best selling list! My editor now wants me to write 10,000 new books, and gosh, I don't know how I can get it done between our vacation in Europe and my hair appointment and getting my nose hairs clipped for that important meeting with my agent and Tom Cruise, who's starring in the movie version of my last book, you know, I'm sure you read it, my contemporary romantic suspense comedy paranormal about a vampire who works for a major NY fashion magazine and is really a time traveling Regency dandy who got lost in the space time continuum and lost his memory along the way. Oh, and pass the butter, please."

A friend of mine and I worked out this great secret arrangment to get us through moments like this. Moments when we are trapped in parties where the egomanical authors start sucking out all the air from the room. We look at said author brightly and chirp, "That sounds GREAT!"

Said sentence is doled out with cheery enthusiasm.

Said sentence in code can mean a number of things, depending upon the person. It can mean, "You're a boring ass." Or, "I'd rather read bicycle assembly instructions in Chinese than listen to you." Or, "Did you know you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe bottom?"

Some of the most successful authors I've met are the nicest, most friendly and sometimes shy. They're real people. They have lives outside their careers. And when I say to them, "That sounds GREAT" there's no code words involved. Except for maybe, "You're a wonderful person and a great writer. And in my book, that's a pretty fantastic package."

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