Tag Archives: life’s embarrassing moments

AUTHOR HUMILIATION CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT

embarrassedFor those who’d like to see them, last week’s EDIBLE BOOK CONTEST photos are here: Tales of the Lonesome Pine LLC

We are pre-empting the Monday Book (but I’ll run one Wednesday or Friday, depending on whether Jack gets me a  blog from his Scottish tour this week) to bring you

THE AUTHOR HUMILIATION CONTEST!

It all started when a fellow writer online described her recent arrival at a Very Large Bookstore in a Big City to tout her Very Good New Book. Karen Spears Zacharias had the following conversation:

Asst. Manager: I had no idea you had an event here today.
Me: Wow. Really? It was in the newspaper and on television. We’ve been corresponding about this for months.
Asst. Manager: My boss didn’t tell me.
Me: Embarrassed. Humiliated. Diminished.
Asst. Manager: Snotty. Bugged. Annoyed.
Me: This book is local. It won the Weatherford.
Asst. Manager: What’s the Weatherford?
Me: Best in Appalachian Fiction.
Asst. Manager: I’ve never heard of that.

Her post sparked a veritable wordslide of other authors describing similar incidents, and an idea was born.

My 500th blog post will be next Monday. In honor of this earth-shaking occasion, Karen and I are announcing a contest: send us, in 500 words or less, your author humiliation moments. Are you an Author who arrived on the wrong day? Walked in to find your event cancelled? Discovered they were expecting someone else? Tell us about it, or any other mortifying circumstance.

Or take it from the other end. Are you a library, book festival, individual, or bookstore that has hosted an event that just would not get on track no matter what? Or a first class A88-hole? (Y’all know what an a88hole is, right? Similar to an a**hole, only worse.)

Jack and I have looked at book signings, author visits, and all that glamorous stuff from both sides now: as the people with the book AND the people with the bookstore. We’ve seen a whole lotta love and silliness from each, so don’t hold back. Tell us your story.

First prize winner in the author category gets a 5-day stay in my writing retreat cabin, in eastern Tennessee. (Sorry, you have to pay your own way there, but the place is free and we’ll even throw in a bottle of wine. Buy your own milk.) You pick your dates.

First prize winner in the author hosting category gets a signed copy of every entering author’s book. That’s the fee for entering, folks. When the winning host is announced, you are REQUIRED to mail, at your expense, a free copy of your autographed book. (Winners may donate their books to another address if they prefer.)

Second prize for both categories is an autographed copy of Karen’s and my book; third prize… how about a free kitten?

We’ll run the first place entries next Monday. The top ten after that will get blogged once a week, probably on Saturdays. And the MONDAY BOOK will return after this coming Monday.

The rules:

Entries are due by Sunday, June 29, at 11:55 pm EST.

Send entries to jbeck69087@aol.com, with tagline specifying author or host humiliation entry.

Entries exceeding 500 words (not including title) will be disqualified.

Don’t use real names in identifiable locations. We haven’t got enough money to be worth suing, but a88s tend to do that when reality invades the self-sphere. “A Barnes and Noble somewhere in America….” is fine. Make it part of the creativity to keep the names fun and clean.

Keep all entries family friendly. Some kids read this blog.

This is cheerful therapy. Don’t just vent; entertain.

Have fun doing so.

greyAnd remember, it’s okay to talk about the embarrassing moments. Many authors have put themselves into utter self-humiliation, and gone on to live happy lives.

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Filed under bad writing, between books, blue funks, book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, out of things to read, post-apocalypse fiction, publishing, reading, Sarah Nelson, shopsitting, Uncategorized, writing, YA fiction

Come All Ye Hagglers Near and Far, A Warning Take from Me

Two or three years ago now, a pair of women who said they were visiting the area from out of state were browsing cookbooks and crafts. When the time came for check-out, one stepped forward with four books in her hand.

“I want these,” she said, indicating three of them, “but I don’t want to pay $6 for this one.” She held up a local cuisine cookbook in pristine condition. “That’s too high.”

Her manner being somewhat brusque, I swallowed my rising hackles and said, “Tell you what; I’ll look it up online and see if I can come down a bit.”

I looked it up. The cheapest price was $9.

Now, had I had a better cup of coffee that morning, been less annoyed by her assertion that I was trying to cheat her, or otherwise not found myself suddenly holding the upper hand, I might have just shown her the screen and said, “Do you want it for $6 now?”

Instead, I said, “Well, whadda ya know?! It was priced wrong!” Then I crossed out $6 and wrote in $9, smiled less sweetly than saccharine-like at the woman, and showed her the online price range.

“I am assuming you don’t want it any more?” My voice probably sounded like honey dripping off a razor blade.

Her friend laughed out loud. “Caught in your own trap!” she crowed, which I suspect did not make the poor embarrassed woman feel any better. She paid for her other books, her friend paid for hers (without haggling) and off they went.

Looking back on the moment, I suppose I should have been grateful she was buying inside a bookstore at all. But used bookstore owners, antique store owners, handmade craft sellers and other people who hear on an hourly basis that their prices are too high, that they’re dealing dishonestly–well, we have been known to snap. You want honesty? We can give you honesty….

So hagglers take warning: when you ask “Would you take less?” you might get more than you bargained for.

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Filed under bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, publishing, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA