Me And My Crappy Book

February 28th, 2005 · 10 Comments
by Jill Monroe

Despite the open invitation to blog whenever I felt the need – it’s been awhile. After the near frantic pace of my release date month, I really needed to take a bit of time to catch up on things. E-mail, housecleaning, actual writing. Okay, not really the cleaning.

My husband has been a little shocked that there are still opportunities for booksignings even after my books are not technically on the shelves anymore. But then if romance writers had a holiday, it would be Valentine’s Day. We own that one. Which brings me to the Valentine’s Day signing. As Gena Showalter is my signing partner in crime – we drove together to the town of Duncan, Oklahoma. Should I mention we got lost or is that just expected? First, I want to say that turnpikes are vicious. If you miss your turn because maybe you didn’t see the mile marker sign because you were talking – you can’t get off for another 27 miles. 27 MILES!!!!! Plus, there were no major towns (and when I say major I mean towns with a Sonic) until nearly Texas. After several frantic calls on the cell, a friendly Oklahoma Highway Patrolman (who gave us a map) and many, many Oklahoma backroads, we made it to the restaurant where we were to meet our hostess.

The restaurant was fabulous. One side was devoted to Mexican food, the other to fried catfish. But I was assured I could order both in whichever side I chose. I went with the Mexican pizza. And yes, that was the highlight!

I’ve become a pro at booksignings since I first posted back in December about my nervousness. I’ve even learned to be somewhat assertive – if you make eye contact with me…

Old Way:

“Do you like to read romance?”

New Way:

“Do you know someone who likes to read romance?”

After all, almost everyone knows someone who likes to read romance. If someone asks about the bathroom – I hand them one of my postcards. Candy is on my table ALWAYS – a big draw! Although I haven’t figured out a way to combat the perception that I’m the author rather than a store employee sitting behind the table.

AND I haven’t figured out a way to handle it if someone asks if what I’ve written is crap. Picture in your mind an average Saturday afternoon couple coming to the bookstore. Gena and I trade off who says our opening line. This is usually a “your turn” “no, it’s yours” Finally, it’s decided I’m to do our usual “Do you know someone….” and they come over to our table. Same scenario done at least 50 times.

The woman picks up my book and asks, “Is this crap?”

I’m sure my brilliant response was along the lines of, “du, wh – huh?” I mean, I’ve heard all the lines before. Romance is trashy and smutty, but I’ve never really heard it asked to my face. Such open rudeness. Which reminds me, she wasn’t done. “I don’t want to buy it if it’s crap. That smutty trashy crap.”

Okay, my secret is out. I love to put out crap. Sometimes when I go back and reread some of my narrative, and think it’s pretty good – I have to 86 that right away. Yes, only crap crap crap for me! In fact, when Gena and I are critiquing now I’ll often jot down in the margins – this is good, it made me laugh. Get rid of it and write something bad like you’re supposed to!

Her husband is clearly mortified. In fact, he bought both our books. I have a feeling this man spends a lot of money making up for his wife.

File Under: Jill's First Blog

10 responses so far ↓

  • Kate R // Feb 28, 2005 at 10:03 am

    it must be the time of year. (I posted about my milestone of snottiness in my blog — and mentioned your brush with nuttiness.)

  • booksquare // Feb 28, 2005 at 12:35 pm

    I truly find this amazing. Truly. You are far too polite. Granted, this woman probably can’t form a sentence without help…

  • Susan Gable // Feb 28, 2005 at 1:07 pm

    Well, at least the husband had some manners. And dare I say your book is probably the most “action” the poor guy has had in a while? (S)

    I’m with Kate, it must be the time of the year. I just took a drumming on a writer’s list, of all places, because you know, I write those books with paper thin characters, dubious plots, contrived circumstances, etc. The other writer all but called me a hack. And he’s never read MY books, he was basing this on his vast experience of having read 2, count them, TWO, Harlequins in his life.

    So, it must be the rude phase of the moon or something. Or else these people didn’t get any chocolate for Valentine’s Day so they’re taking it out on romance writers.

  • Susan Gable // Feb 28, 2005 at 1:17 pm

    Hey, I tried to post a comment and it vanished. (sigh) Now I have to type it all over again. Sheesh.

    Anyway, I basically said:

    At least the husband had some manners. And dare I theorize that your books were the most “action” the poor guy has seen in a while? (VBG)

    I’m with Kate, it must be the rude phase of the moon or something. I got blasted on a writer’s list today because I write those books with paper-thin characters, dubious plots, contrived circumstances…yada yada yada. Now, the writer in question all but called all Harlequin writers hacks. He based this on his experience with having read 2, count them, TWO Harlequins in his life.

    I don’t know how or why people feel the need to behave so rudely. Maybe they didn’t get any chocolate for Valentine’s Day and so they’re taking it out on romance writers.

  • Larissa // Feb 28, 2005 at 4:35 pm

    I’m always amazed at the things that come out of peoples’ mouths. Makes me wonder why it’s okay to neuter animals but not people…

  • Barbara Phinney // Mar 1, 2005 at 8:01 am

    Jill, I’m sorry you had to go through that. I usually only get those remarks from family members. Of course, we all think of witty rebuttals after the fact. (I hate that part of me) I guess all you can do is rest assured that such a woman as you experienced mustn’t have too many friends.
    I’m glad there were two of you there. I’d hate to think of someone having to go at that alone.
    Barbara Phinney

  • Eve Jameson // Mar 1, 2005 at 10:24 am

    I loved this post! I just blogged about the same thing, but from the viewpoint of just selling and worrying that people will think it’s crap when it really does get out there. I’d say I can’t believe the rudeness, but I’d be a liar. Too bad we can’t stamp “Rude and to be ignored” across people’s foreheads when they do stuff like that. Okay, I’d settle for just thumping them on the head without the stamp….

  • SandyO // Mar 2, 2005 at 8:25 pm

    On Valentine’s Day, the local radio station interviewed Rachel Gibson. The idiot that introduced her said she wrote “tawdry novels.” I can’t believe the idiocity and rudeness of some people.

  • Booksquare » The Daily Square - Poetry In Motion Edition // Jun 14, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    […] When Are You Going to Write A "Real" Book?Miss Snark offers several excellent responses I wish I’d read before my encounter with the woman who asked if I wrote crap at a booksigning. See Me And My Crappy Book […]

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    […] shared the first time I received a bad review. The time when at a booksigning someone asked if my book were crap and a bunch more first time experiences which are now all wrapped under BS’s tag of […]