May 7, 2010

10 Things Never To Say To a Writer on Sub

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 7:57 pm

10. What’s the title so I’ll be able to look for it when it comes out? [50% of the time, titles change before the book comes out. Plus, at least 50% of the people asking you this question won't remember you--let alone that you have a book--by the time it comes out]

9. Oooh, I wrote a novel. Maybe I should have it submitted, too!
['Nuff said]

8. Oooh, I always wanted to write a novel. Maybe I should, and then have it submitted, too!

7. On sub? Is that, like, when you go down in a submarine?
[Writers on sub are already tempted to sink their manuscripts if not themselves]

6. Did you ask me what I wanted on my sub? Lettuce, onions, extra mayo…
[Writers on sub don't need to be tempted to drown their stress in further administrations of food]

5. You know, if it doesn’t sell, you could always self-publish
[Believe me, by the time we've gotten to this point, we know]

4. Can you give me your agent’s name?
[We owe our agents the world at this point and would be loathe to ask them to spit on us if we were burning]

3. Did you hear about [insert famous person's name] who just got 68 gazillion dollars for her first novel?

2. How do you know when it’s time to, you know…give up?

And the #1 thing NEVER to say to a writer on submission is…

1. So, have you gotten any news yet?


  1. Sooo true! All of ‘em.

    Comment by Judy — May 7, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

  2. From #5 on down, I have heard every single one of them. Ugh!

    Don’t forget: “What’s your day job?”

    Comment by Savvy — May 8, 2010 @ 8:24 am

  3. Yup–PAINFUL STUFF! Hang in there–you are so close!

    Comment by Hart — May 8, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  4. Great post! Amusing yet sadly true, I’m sure. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that only people who have shared the experience can truly understand. But you will make it!

    Comment by Lauren S — May 8, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  5. Or: “How come your novel hasn’t sold, yet?” If we only knew . . .

    Comment by Sara — May 8, 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  6. Thanks for the tips! Since I don’t even have an agent yet, you’re far ahead of me. Maybe I should have written a novel; that sounds easy. (JUST KIDDING!) I am going to bookmark your page so I can refer back to it along my path to rejection, I mean getting published.

    Comment by Subourbon WIfe — May 9, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  7. Thanks for the additions, everybody! And, as always, the faith.

    I hope you will come back frequently, Jackie D.! Anyone as funny as you are in writing will surely have a fast path to an offer–or at least be able to laugh at every single crazier than the last rejection :)

    Comment by jenny — May 9, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

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