12. Asking an author who has just released a book (or is in pre-release for a book) "When's the next one?" is like asking a woman who's nine months pregnant "When's the next one?", only the author is probably not nine months pregnant, and is thus more likely to hit you. I am aware that this metaphor makes me out to be one of those faintly frightening women with twelve children, planning for twelve more. It's still true.
11. Most authors don't know where their ideas come from. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't ask; I seriously doubt I could be the one who killed that question in the hearts and minds of readers everywhere (although if I was, SFWA would probably saint me). It just means that when we answer you, we're probably lying.
10. No, that nice author you met on the bus once doesn't want to read your manuscript. I'm sorry. That nice dentist you met on the bus once doesn't want to clean your teeth for free, either.
9. An author on deadline is faintly neurotic, faintly obsessive, faintly hysterical, faintly depressed, and faintly insane. Sometimes just one of these; sometimes all five. Poke at your own risk.
8. Most authors are writing the genres they're writing because they love them. Telling a romance writer he or she should write a real book is a good way to find out how heavy that romance writer's satchel or purse really is.
7. I would do anything for love, but I won't do that. I would, however, do that for research, especially since research, unlike love, is tax-deductible.
6. Authors who say "I'm staying home to write on Friday night" aren't saying "I am lonely, please save me from myself." They're saying "I'm staying home to write on Friday night." This goes double for authors with day jobs.
5. I dare anyone who says writing isn't work to copy-edit and revise a three hundred page manuscript in under a month. Oh, and it has to be better when you finish than it was when you started. If you can do that, you can say anything you want.
4. Authors tend to be fiscally conservative, because there's rarely a guarantee of when the next check will come. This makes us dangerous in warehouse stores. We really do go "I could totally buy enough toilet paper wholesale to survive nuclear winter." Never look in an author's pantry.
3. Ways not to introduce yourself to a working author: "Nice to meet you. I read your last book, and it was shit." If you do that, please expect to get "Nice to meet you. I hope you have medical insurance," as a reply.
2. Everything eventually shows up in a book. Everything. Yes, even that. No, we're not trying to be mean. It's just how our brains work.
1. Authors write because we have to. It's how we're made. So please forgive us for those Friday nights, okay?