Authors... what the fuck?

I feel incredibly sorry for event organizers.

I watch you chase authors for months and see things like "I've emailed you, messaged, sent a carrier pigeon and tagged you in many posts over the last month. Please respond.” <— If I’m seeing this, they’ve gone public to try and contact you and now we all see it.

Authors.... What the fuck?

Now, before one of you gets salty because I’m calling you out on your shit, I understand there are special circumstances:

-Great Granny Gertrude died. Clearly you didn't have your shit together.

-Little Tommy shit the bed at the same time little Timmy fell down the well.

-Senile Aunt Alma burnt down your house because she Hoover’s her Marlboro’s and naps while smoking them.

(Kids are sick in the hospital, a terminal illness, lost your job, you get where I’m going with this…)

Sadly, most of the time we ALL still see you on social media doing your thing while failing to respond to event organizers who have very publicly called you out.

Bad form, authors. Bad form.

Example:

Would you look at all those super cute selfies’ you took Just. Last. Night.

You and the new BF, or you and the dog, or maybe just you trying out those duck lips with that new periwinkle pink lip stain you found on your four hour trip to Target. You then spent the time to slap forty filters on the pic, hashtag with all the appropriate keywords, as well as like and reply to all the comments you got on how cute your hair looks. Unfortunately, you just didn’t find the time to respond to your event host…

So, I’m going to say something the event organizers can’t or won’t:

You’re an asshole, Karen.

(Karen: Most commonly used name in assholey memes. Roll with it. P.S. Apologies to all the nice women named Karen out there.)

It’s not just fellow authors that see your disrespectful ways, it’s your readers too.

Examples I have seen:

  • Event host asked six months ago if you would like the provided lunch. You don’t respond to the five emails; ten tags and texts and event is one week out. (At this point I would just let you go hungry. Hope you have a protein bar or a pack of gum in your purse, Karen)

  • Event organizer asks if you will be attending the dinner/meet and greet. Your fans want to know if they should buy the LIMITED VIP dinner ticket to meet YOU!

    Months go by, no answer from you. Not a yes or no.

    Not even a maybe.

You had ample time to respond. Odds are you didn’t join this signing last minute. But what do you do at the very last minute, Karen?

You say, “yes I’m doing the dinner!”

Guess what? The event organizer hates your last-minute changes, and your fan missed out on the limited VIP dinner/meet and greet ticket (Limited means there’s only so many and they sell out fast, Karen) and now your fan (who doesn’t want to be your fan anymore) hopes you choke on your balsamic chicken. A maybe would have went a long way...

Event host emails and tags all authors in the Facebook event group:

ITINERARY-

Set up: Between 8:00am and 11:00am

Group Photo: 10:45am sharp in the lobby

Signing: 11:00 am- 4:00pm

Dinner: 6:30pm – 9:00pm in Ballroom Two

Day of event Karen asks:

“What time can we set up?”

“Is there going to be a group photo? If so where and what time?”

“What ballroom is the dinner in?”

Read your fucking emails, Karen. Check your event group and read the pinned post! At this point even I’m pissed at you, and I’m not the one hosting the event.

The worst part of this is that we respond to Karen’s Facebook post:

“Set up starts at 8:00am, Karen!” Should say: “The itinerary is in the pinned post, as well as your email, Karen. Or did you want us to do the work and read it for you and relay the pertinent information?”

“Pic is at 10:45, Karen! Let’s stand together!”

Aren’t we enabling Karen? Essentially shitting all over the host’s emails and spreadsheets asking you to check the appropriate boxes:

Yes, I have read your beautifully detailed email that tells me EVERYTHING I need to know.

Yes, I acknowledge that I will be at the dinner.

Yes, I would like the lunch box.

You see authors responding on threads: “Yes, I’m going on the excursion!” and immediately event host comments, “would you mind filling out the form I’ve emailed you? Twice in the past month of which the deadline was yesterday?”

I got an email from an event host today and in the subject line it clearly states, ‘Action REQUIRED’. I filled it out within hours of receiving. I debated asking the host how many authors actually completed the task, but then I figured with this blog post some authors will be like the chubby kid after the ice cream truck trying to get their shit together.

The results won’t be true results, because (hopefully) I’ve lit a fire under their ass.

Honestly though, can you imagine if there are ten Karen’s at every event, and each of them ask all these stupid questions? (FYI: I don’t believe the customer is always right, and there are such things as stupid questions no matter what your previous employer told you)

If all of them asked ONE of these questions at the event, that’s ten USELESS messages your host must sift through while trying to deal with things that are actually important.

  • The caterer is running behind.

  • The Wi-Fi is down, and EVERY foreign author needs it to run their payment methods unless they want to spend an arm and a leg on foreign data charges.

  • The thermostat is stuck on the temperature of Satan’s ball sack and they need to track down a maintenance man. Sweaty authors are moody authors.

My personal favorite of stupid questions directed at the host:

Karen posting to Facebook event group weeks before the event: “{Event host name tagged} What day is the signing?”

Are. You. Shitting. Me.

It’s on the event banner of the very page you’re posting on right now! Get your shit together, Karen. Or stay the hell home.

The event organizer didn’t have to pick you to come.

There are hundreds of other authors on the wait list, and next time they’ll probably pick them over you. You think just because your name is on the banner and you could afford the table fee, you have special privileges? Or maybe you made a bestseller list and are popular, so you don’t need to read the itinerary like the rest of us? Maybe you’re a procrastinator, or maybe you’re just an asshole and you wait until the last minute and direct every little thing at the event host because you’re what... special?

The only person who thinks you’re special right now is your momma. The rest of us think you’re an asshole.

Respect is earned. (Say that out loud three times, Karen)

It’s completely disrespectful to ignore your hosts emails and messages. “But I didn’t see it! I never check my FB messages and tags! I’ve been busy. And I’m just so bad with email!”

Email is part of your business and in most cases, you booked this signing a year in advance. Plenty of time to learn the schedule.

If you have a PA who missed all those event emails, tags and messages: fire him/her. But ultimately the event is YOUR responsibility.

This is YOUR business. This is your BRAND.

Do you think people (Event organizers, hosts, other authors, bloggers) want to work with you when you never know what’s going on? When you can’t even respond to an email? When you don’t even know what time to show up for a event YOU signed up for?

It’s rude. I don’t care if you’ve sold ten books or ten thousand, if you’re number ten on the Amazon bestseller list or number ten thousand. You— as a human and as a business— earn the respect of others by being a decent, respectful and hard-working individual.

To ignore someone’s persistent attempt to reach you about something which directly impacts your business is not decent or respectful.

Bottom line: You know what to expect with author events. (If you’re a new author reading this, there are plenty of blog posts from fellow authors on what to do. Honestly, if you follow the posts and itinerary in the event group, you’ll be fine.)

Now, I’m well known for thinking before I speak. Know I thought long and hard about this blog post before I made it and I asked myself: Am I going to write something that pisses someone off? My final answer is: I don’t care because it’s not about ME. It’s about the people you’re disrespecting.

Are you really going to be mad at me for calling you out on being lazy, tardy, forgetful? Or are you going to be one of the ones that says, “Oh, but {insert hosts name here} loves me! She doesn’t care if I text her a hundred times a day. She’s used to it. Ha ha.”

Should she be?

Used to it, that is?

Or should you be more professional now that you’re the proud owner of your very own author business?

Do you think it’s fair to text a host (yes, even if they are your friend) that often about event details that were already given to you multiple times?

Event hosts: Please feel free to comment and give me your two cents regarding useless questions before and day of event.

I’ve talked with some great hosts about this in the past, about how certain authors — no matter how popular — would never be invited back to certain events because of some of these issues. Take note authors: Ignorance and tardiness are not good labels to put on your business. <—Common sense.

I guess that’s why I’m so shocked to see so many established authors still doing this.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes during the event you’re busy, burnt out and overwhelmed. You might follow up on a fellow author buds post, “wait, dinner is at six-thirty, not six, right?” Author, I get you. Your brain is fried. You’ve been in a new town, with hundreds of new people (us introverts end up in a people-coma) and have a million things to remember. This post is not directed at you. It’s directed at the ones who consistently, event after event, rely on the host to remind them of their schedule.

People reading this are probably thinking, “Oh, I know who she’s talking about.” Or, “I think she’s talking about me.” And “I know which event this is, I know, I know, I know.”

I’ve been writing this post in my mind for years, so while this is not about any one particular person, or any one particular event: If the shoe fits, lace that bitch up and wear it.

By now you might be wondering when my rant will be over (almost) but I need to ask one important question before I go:

Authors: When did the event host become your personal assistant?

I never got that email. (I check mine every day)

Sincerely,

Harlow Stone

NOTE: Comment thread is not a space to publicly name or shame.

Keep it classy, everyone.

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