Bill of Rights for Friends of Authors

1) Thesis

I was talking to my boss the other day about my imminent book launch. After a few glasses of wine, and in the company of other writers, he, an accomplished serial author with a very British sense of humor, told me, claiming to speak from experience, that

the only thing you’ll ever regret is that you didn’t prostitute yourself more.

He meant, of course, that I (and all authors) should, at least this once, get over the discretion that is native to people of manners, and just … market (verb). Because if we authors don’t, nobody else will, and we authors will be angry with ourselves later.

2) Antithesis

On the other hand, I have been around some authors who, for a period lasting months, turn into book-marketing robots, to the point where I can no longer have a normal conversation with them.

And so I understand fully the humanitarian need for limits.

3) Synthesis

So, in the spirit of mutual empathy between Authors and Friends of Authors, I (pictured above, seated) hereby promulgate a Bill of Rights — nay, a Magna Carta — to protect … you.

(Whoever you might be. But especially if you happen to be somebody I know, like, owe, am married to, have fathered, have been friends with…..)


  1. There shall continue to be, as there have been since time immemorial, topics of conversation that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Author’s Book, and the Author shall respect said topics as such — ie, as inviolable.
  2. If the Author happens to moderate a panel about an interesting (or even a boring) topic unrelated to his Book, the Author shall refrain from name-dropping his Book in introducing the Panelists or while moderating their debate. If the Author violates this rule, the Audience shall be within its rights to boo Him off the stage, with the physical assistance of the Panelists.
  3. If thou had, in thy previous dealings with the Author, the sort of relationship in which thou could call Him a wanker, or to cast other aspersion upon Him with impunity and to humorous effect, thou shalt retain said privileges in perpetuity, whether that friggin’ Book of His is a hit or a flop, because that’s really not thy problem.
  4. When meeting the Author socially, especially if the meeting involves a Honig Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, thou mayest, with impunity, assert thy right to have a pleasant evening without being reminded of the darned Book at all.
  5. Thou shalt not blame, loathe or disdain the Author merely for marketing His Book to Others, being mindful that the Author is a prostitute only temporarily and on good advice, as wouldst thou be in His stead.
  6. Finally, thou hast the right, should thou find the Author’s presence insufferable nonetheless, physically to evade the Author for a period not exceeding the two months around the launch date, provided thou welcome the Author back into human society after the whole silly spectacle passeth into oblivion (which, remember, is a lot sooner than the Author thinks).

13 thoughts on “Bill of Rights for Friends of Authors

  1. When you’re at a social occasion, and there’s mingling, what’s wrong you speaking of what you’re passionate about, and what you’re an expert in? If you don’t, and you speak only about what you know little of, and about what you’re uninterested in, aren’t you being…….like……..inauthentic?

    If you’ve written a book which you’ve worked on night after long night over the years, and it’s now just published, of course you’ll want to talk of it to your interlocutors to the exclusion of all else at social gatherings. You are no more to be condemned for doing so than any radiant mother who has just given birth and wants to show to all and sundry her baby’s pictures, and to talk about her baby to the exclusion of all else.

    The book you’ve just written and would like everyone to buy, is of course what you’re passionate about, and whose content you would have an expert knowledge of. If, instead of your book, you speak of things quite outside what your book is about, and which you know little of, and are totally bored by, you short-change those you are speaking to.

    While talking about your book to the exclusion of all else might be construed as being in the service of marketing it, so what? If you feel that all who read your book will be the better for it at the end, you do a public service by marketing it, whether by fair means or foul.

    • You’re so kind, Philippe. And you’ve been a loyal supporter here.

      I was really just saying that, hey, I know it can get annoying for you who are around me to hear me talk so much about this one thing.

      Rest assured, I will STILL talk about that one thing. I’m just saying: teasing (of me) is allowed. 😉

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