Oh My, I Forgot!

In my defense, I was thinking I was supposed to post on the last Monday, when actually it’s the 4th Monday, which is today and almost over.

I’d decided to write about “good” authors and “bad” authors, but not good and bad in the way you might think. I’m not referring to how someone writes, but rather, how someone acts.

Over the years, I’ve been around many popular or big name authors–and some who are only big name authors in the own minds.

In my experience, most of the most popular and well-known authors are friendly and nice, even to authors who aren’t as popular or well-known. Here are a few who come to mind: Mary Higgins Clark is probably at the top of my list because I’ve met her twice, once at a small mystery conference years and years ago, and the many years later at the Editors and Agents cocktail party in New York before the Edgars. She greeted me like we were old friends– and introduced me to her then new husband. She chatted with me for several minutes. A truly classy lady.

William Kent Krueger, who has won many awards for his writing, I’ve met many times over the years at various conferences and conventions. He always acts like he’s happy to see me and asks after my husband.

I can name others, but you get the idea.

Then there are those who are on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m not going to name names, but here are a few examples. There’s a quite popular author whom I ran into many times–but no matter how friendly I greet her, she acts like she has never seen me before or that perhaps I’ve turned invisible. I’ve seen her do that with others too, so know it’s not just me.

There have been a couple of times I’ve been on panels with authors who acted like I didn’t have the right to be seated by them–and certainly didn’t want to waste any time listening to what I had to say.

One more example, a writer who declared that far too many authors with small publishers attended a particular conference.

Guess what? I’ve never purchased another book by the above authors. No, of course it’s not going to hurt them any, but I know I wouldn’t enjoy reading something written by them once I knew their true feelings.

I’m not a “popular” or “well-known” author, but I if I were, I know that I’d be the kind of author that I am now–approachable and friendly.

Have any of you had experiences with the “good” and the “bad”?

Marilyn Meredith who is also know as F. M. Meredith








19 thoughts on “Oh My, I Forgot!

  1. I so agree with you, Marilyn. Some authors are rude and arrogant and make it clear they can’t waste a lot of time on a peanut like me, but others are just wonderful. I will add a name to that list…J.A. Jance. I met her last year at the Tucson Festival of Books. She came to our booth to see OTP author Carolyn Niethammer, as they had been chums from high school on. I was so impressed. Later I talked to her in the Sisters booth where she was signing…and she happily posed for a pic with Carolyn (see our Instagram pics for the result!) I told her I was a HUGE fan of her books, and the shook my hand warmly, and thanked me for doing such a good job on Carolyn’s book! I was so thrilled, I nearly wept!


    1. I agree, JA Jance is on my list as another great and most friendly writer. I met her once in the hallway of the hotel during a Bouchercon and she told me what her best promotion idea was–at that time it was personal emails to her fans.


      1. I’ll best she still sends a newsletter!! I think Janet Evanovich still sends hers too. Authors too often bypass the old, low-tech tried and true things, looking for that magic silver bullet! After 18 years at this, I can attest that there is NO SILVER BULLET to be had!


  2. Couldn’t get this to post earlier, so trying again: I’ve met a few big name authors at the SC Book Festival and am happy to report they have all exuded what we in NC call “southern charm.” (Maybe in part due to the venue atmosphere.) Ron Rash was surprisingly un-stuffy. The one who stands out as friendliest, chatting with me and my husband, was Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs). And you can bet I bought her book, which she signed with enthusiasm 🙂


  3. I haven’t really met any really famous authors, so I have nothing to compare it to. But I did find an error in your post– you said you aren’t popular. I disagree. You are definitely popular.


  4. Billie Letts was always receptive when we met at conferences. I always introduced myself, would say, “Hello, Billie, I’m Sharon Ervin from McAlester (Oklahoma).” She always laughed and said, “Of course you are,” as if we were old friends. Billie was a native Oklahoman and in the heartland, we don’t meet a lot of strangers, just friends we haven’t met yet. I have used the “Of course you are” line. It often suits.


  5. I have met a few bigger name authors at the SC Book Festival and I’m happy to report they all exuded what we in NC like to call “southern charm.” Ron Rash surprised me with his friendly demeanor…but the one that stood out for her outgoing upbeat personal chat with me and my husband was Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs). And yes, I did buy her book! 🙂


  6. Very interesting post, Marilyn. It’s great that you’ve had the opportunity to meet such great authors. I love Mary Higgins Clark’s books, so it’s good to hear she’s a nice person, as well. As for you, with all of the books you have on the market and the astounding amount of things you accomplish each year (books) and each day, I say you do have a large amount of fame. But I’m glad you are still nice, too.


  7. I suspect every author who has attended writing conferences would like to add names to the list of bad authors. However, I think many authors are reserved and find public events nerve wracking, and many others honestly don’t remember people’s faces and names but are too embarrassed to admit their limits.


    1. I think you’re too kind–I don’t remember faces, but at a conference everyone is wearing name tags! Plus just being nice doesn’t take much.


  8. The old Bible instruction “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you,” comes to mind. I would rather people remembered me for my friendliness than my books.


    1. My favorite author was Tony Hillerman; he chatted like he was your next door neighbor, down to earth, humble, and a great sense of humor. Another one that is always real is Mary Anna Evans. I’ve been to a few presentations and signings where the author was granting the little people a moment in their brilliant presence; I won’t be back…


  9. Hi Marilyn! I wondered who was posting when I didn’t see a new post this morning. 😉 The days do get away with us.

    It is interesting how some writers are so unapproachable while others- big sellers or not are so approachable. And it’s not just the mystery genre. I had a writer friend who was ga-ga over a historical romance author. LOVED her books and couldn’t wait to meet her. Once she met her, my friend was so disillusioned. The author was cold and acted like my friend asking for an autograph was a social faux pas.

    I do believe those who treat others well will live a longer, healthier life. Interesting post!


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