What are the most annoying things a writer does that get on the publisher’s nerves?
THE #1 most annoying thing an author can do (both before and after they’re accepted) is to disrespect my time. Examples (and yes, these have all happened multiple times with multiple people):
- Insists on hand-delivering their unsolicited manuscript in a face-to-face visit with me in my office. (This doesn’t get them out of the slushpile. It makes me think they’re very needy and will require lots of hand-holding.)
- Calls me weekly to ask about manuscript/book sale status. Won’t leave message with receptionist. Calls multiple times in the day until they actually speak to me in person. Then next week, it starts all over again.
- Refuses to use e-mail because it’s inconvenient, doesn’t know how, doesn’t have Internet at home.
- Doesn’t read my e-mails, company info letters, etc. then calls to ask me the questions I just answered.
- Doesn’t respond to time sensitive messages.
- Doesn’t cash royalty checks in a timely manner—or loses checks and needs new ones. (I really don’t get this one at all but it happens frequently with some authors.)
- Moves, changes phone numbers or e-mail addresses without telling me so I can’t contact them.
- Sends me things that my website CLEARLY states we don’t/won’t publish.
The second big thing that annoys me is when their actions (or lack thereof) make it more difficult to sell their books:
- Misses deadlines.
- Refuses to participate in even the most basic of marketing and promotional events.
- Goes on vacation without telling me so I have no chance to set up a book signing.
- Does speaking engagements, firesides, teaches workshops, etc. without telling me (so I can provide books to sell) and doesn’t take business cards, flyers, or even mention their book.
- Creates really ugly/unprofessional promotional materials with our contact info and distributes them without permission/approval.
- Contacts booksellers directly and acts in unprofessional manner.