Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is There No Longer Honor Amongst Authors?

  Everyone knows I'm about my hustle when it comes to selling my books, so maybe that's why a young woman emailed me to boast about selling her own books in the parking lot outside the store where another author was having a signing.

I don't think that's hustling. I think that's some low-life stinky shit.

But maybe that's just me.

Me, however, being me . . . I told this author exactly how I felt about her actions. And while I always welcome other authors to my signings -- and always shout them out -- I asked to please make sure she misses mine.

I don't understand whatever happened to honor between authors -- but I find it more and more rare as time goes on.

I've always encouraged authors to help each other out by exchanging bundles of postcards and bookmarks. If one author is going to a book event in San Francisco and another is going to New York for a book event, then by handing out each others cards they are helping each other promote in places they may not otherwise be able to do so.

I've done this for years! Some of the authors whom I have supported and who have supported me in this include Gloria Mallette, Mary Morrison, Tracy P. Thompson, Zane, Victoria Christopher Murray, and many others.

So, I recently had lunch with a new author whose debut book I had read and enjoyed. She lives in New Jersey, but was in Philadelphia for a book signing. I couldn't make her signing, but I called her and arranged to take her to lunch to make up for it. Over lunch I gave her as much advice as she asked for, told her again how much I enjoyed her book. It was the weekend before the Harlem Book Fair, and I shared with her that I would not be able to attend. We then exchanged postcards and bookmarks, with the understanding that she would give mine out at the HBF and I would give hers out at the next events I attended.

Something came up, and I was able to attend the HBF after all, and I ran into the author. I was so excited, as I had arranged for one of my editors, Brigette Smith of Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster), to meet me with excerpt booklets for An Angry Ass Black Woman, but since Brigette wouldn't be there for another hour or so I hoped to get the postcards I'd given the author to give out.

The author seemed excited to see me, also . . . but then when I asked about the postcards, she turned and started talking to someone else. I waited until she finished talking, and then asked again. She again started talking to someone else. This time, I was rude . . . and broke in and asked if she had any of my postcards. She got a strange look on her face and said, "No, but if you can leave some here at my booth if you'd like."

I audibly gasped, and she averted her eyes.

If she had just said she'd forgotten them I would have understood. That happens. But for her to make believe she didn't know what I was even talking about . . . well! I thought it was rather disrespectful; and not a very honorable way to act.

I walked away, very upset. But upset or not, when I host my event next week that I will still give out her bookmarks.

It's the upright and honorable thing to do.