I believe I didn’t announce this last month, so here it is. I’ve got a new column thing at LitReactor called Notes from the Drunken Editor.
In this month’s riveting installment, I use standard joke formats to illustrate (or just mock, very cruelly, like Hitler) certain times of problematic queries that I get.
This is the intro:
Are you familiar with jokes at the expense of artists? Here’s one:
Q: What is the difference between a large pizza and a writer?
A: The pizza can feed a family.
Ha! But as with any profession that’s been around long enough, you don’t need to look very far if you want jokes. They’re often called “case studies” and they can go like this: “This person or company did this and got these results. Let’s look at what happened and learn something from it.”
Professional jokes are like universal case studies, scientifically designed to say a lot in a little. They sum up recurring problems and find common ground in different situations. Lawyer jokes are easy; writing and publishing jokes are trickier, but this one works for me:
A screenwriter comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.
“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is–”
“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”
I cringed when I first read that. It rings perfectly true.
So, in today’s cute and clever gimmick, I’m going to offer a list of don’t-dos for authors entering the world of publishing.