The Words No Writer Wants to Hear

Not for us. Good luck elsewhere.

Okay, that’s one we’ve all heard, or at least seen, in rejection slips. I no longer take this personally, because I understand that every publisher buys only a certain number of books per year; some slots are taken by their established authors; and my timing is off. (I recognize there’s also a slight possibility that they just don’t like my story or my style.) No problem, I’ll just publish it myself.

“I don’t really read.”

What? I’m never quite sure how to react to that statement. Does it mean that the person I’m talking to has no imagination, or that s/he is just so happy with the status quo of her/his own life that s/he needs nothing more? Sometimes I attempt to sleuth out whether that person at least adores movies so I can be assured that s/he does appreciate stories. But mostly, I just take my glass of wine over to talk to the next person who might know how to read. Personally, real life is just not enough for me.

“How much money do you make from your books?”

Really? Do I ask you how much money you make at your job? When this is followed by questions about lavish book tours or sumptuous dinners with my editor, I know this person has fallen for the movie stereotype of the bestselling-author. A very rare species indeed.

And then, in recent years, here’s one that I’ve heard too often, from the voracious readers that we might expect to be our best friends:

“I couldn’t put that book down! I read it in only two days, so I returned it and didn’t even have to pay for it!”

If you write fast-paced stories (like I always try to), you too may be aware that Amazon allows buyers to return ebooks within seven days of buying them. This is happening to me more and more, and has me wanting to belt out “R-E-S-P-E-C-T! You know what that means to me?” (Okay, I changed that line “just a little bit.”) I typically price my ebooks at $4.99, and these smart shoppers want to keep me from my massive $3.49 royalty? That hurts, readers! How am I supposed to pay my cat food bill? I’ve never even returned ebooks that I detested.

In general, Amazon has been nicer to me than my traditional publishers and certainly nicer than most bookstores, who think nothing of “returning” (or in reality, destroying) print books (that the publishers and authors have to pay for), but allowing returns on ebooks for seven days after purchase? That’s a punishment authors don’t deserve, Amazon. Show us a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T and shorten that up to 24 hours! (I realize anyone can make a mistake and purchase a book twice; God knows I’ve borrowed the same book more than once from my local library.)

Readers, if you really must plow through my ebooks and then return them to Amazon, at least do me the favor of writing me a nice review, okay?

Writers deserve R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

One thought on “The Words No Writer Wants to Hear

  1. This was a great article. And so very true, every bit of it. Done with humor, too. Thanks so much for airing how many of us writers feel!


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