Shannon Stacey

Advice from the peanut gallery

I don’t do a lot of writing advice here. One of my personal pet peeves is people who get that first contract and turn into the Golden Knowledge Fountain of all Things Literary and start spewing their newly gained wisdom all over the damn place. (Which is the exact opposite of my other pet peeve—people who get that first contract and thereafter are too good to dwell with the little people. I met an aspiring writer at a conference and she was really nice and sweet. She sold that year, and the next year she was the most obnoxious, condescending bitch there and just arched an over-plucked eyebrow at me when I said hello.)

Anyway, I digress. My advice for the month:

There’s a difference between being plain-spoken and getting off on bashing & trashing people. And if you even think your hand may turn to writing—or if it already has—consider this: If you should be fortunate enough to get published by a company which you’ve probably bashed & trashed at some point, all those authors you’ve bashed & trashed in the past will be your coworkers. Your peers.

Professionalism is a wonderful thing to aspire to, but don’t think that if a request for a blurb or an invitation to cross-promote hits an author’s email that she won’t remember being bashed, trashed, and publicly insulted or even ridiculed. And editors have even longer memories than writers.

In short, you never know whose ass you’ll have to kiss tomorrow.

12 comments to “Advice from the peanut gallery”

  1. Charli
      · March 16th, 2006 at 11:32 am · Link

    It’s a small world. Good to remember that.

  2. Jewell
      · March 16th, 2006 at 12:18 pm · Link

    Oh Shannon,

    I so understand where you are coming from. I’ve seen so many writers get their first contract and all of a sudden become nutso. Either they turn Diva, or they begin handing out advice left and right like they’ve been in this publishing game and winning for years. I’ve actually seen some start charging for writing classes. AS IF!

    Me, I have the exact OPPOSITE problem. My first sale I felt was a huge fluke, and it really strangled the Muse in me. The minute someone would look at me as if I might have something to impart I’d choke on my own spit. Sure, I’ve given some advice, but not much and not over what I felt comfortable with. And mostly to friends.

    It’s not because I’m selfish, I just know my limits at this point.

    Jewell (who hasn’t been to the HQ historical library since they changed the darn format! I’ve tried and tried, but my old puter couldn’t handle it. I just got a new one this past week, and I can’t find how to get there, nor remember my password. Sigh.

    If you all are feeling generous (Shannon, Anna) could you give me a linky? Pwetty please?

  3. Ann Wesley Hardin
      · March 16th, 2006 at 12:34 pm · Link

    And the publishing world is even smaller. Miniscule, really, although the Internet, and our immersion in it, makes it seem larger than it is.

    I think that’s the problem right there. Writers get fooled into thinking the community of published authors, agents and editors is large because there are so many websites and blogs to keep up with. But the truth is, in the grand scheme, it’s a submicrocosm. And Shan, you are so right. We all know and remember each other.

    Basher beware.

  4. nataliedamschroder
      · March 16th, 2006 at 2:45 pm · Link

    I would SO love to know what inspired this.

    Can I bribe you with that Dunkin’ Donuts thing?:coffee:

    Apparently when someone makes a big sale, they start getting asked all kinds of questions about how they did it, and undergo an intense analysis of everything they did to get where they got. So I can understand how this kind of thing might start. And I certainly don’t hold back on answering questions if I think I have the answers–I’m a Know-It-All by birth.

    But then something happens to some of them, and somewhere along the line all the praise and well wishes start to go to their heads. What bugs me is when they get all ranty about people doing stuff that they admittedly used to do. And become SO focused on what everyone else is doing that that’s all they can talk about.

    Hm. Seems we share a pet peeve. LOL

  5. Jorrie Spencer
      · March 16th, 2006 at 2:06 pm · Link

    One of my personal pet peeves is people who get that first contract and turn into the Golden Knowledge Fountain of all Things Literary and start spewing their newly gained wisdom all over the damn place.

    I’ve certainly been taken aback by authors who do that. I’ve wondered if this sometimes happens when authors are trying to promote themselves and their writing, and they want to do it in such a way that seems more give and take (than just, buy my book!). Because some advice sessions coincide with book releases. For more established authors, too.

    Otoh, I’ve certainly seen other new authors who can’t stop sharing their wisdom once they start.

  6. Shannon
      · March 16th, 2006 at 11:27 pm · Link

    is a link to The Library, Jewell, though I haven’t been there since I stopped hosting. I should go visit. (But it’s in twothree parts because it broke my blog)

    And it bums me out, really. I LOVE to talk writing. But I’m so paranoid about becoming one of those authors who become instant know-it-alls. I can talk about how I do it, what I think, But it’s a fine line between that and looking like I’m saying “this is how it’s done”.

    For instance, I’d love to talk about keeping a romantic comedy comedic through the sex scenes, but…so I wrote one erotic comedy. Who knows if I even managed it myself, never mind try to foist my thoughts on others.


    Although…technically I’m multipublished now, so I should start some how-to classes. :lmao:

    Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.

  7. cece
      · March 17th, 2006 at 12:23 pm · Link

    Shan definitely one of my personal pet peeves too, but one thing I’ve noticed is that those fountains of knowledge usually thought they were fountains before their sale. I guess they just get better water pressure after the sale :rofl:

  8. Jill
      · March 17th, 2006 at 3:15 pm · Link

    Here, here to your post!

  9. Shannon
      · March 17th, 2006 at 5:24 pm · Link

    :lmao: @ water pressure.

    I think it’s different for you, Dee, because for like 5? years or so you’ve been supposed to be a fountain. (Let’s not turn the hose on that sentence, shall we?) It’s impossible not to spend that much time at eHQ and not soak up a buttload of knowledge. :nod:

  10. Dee
      · March 17th, 2006 at 4:55 pm · Link

    LOL, uh oh, I have yet to decide if I’m guilty. But if I am, I’m one of those founts PRIOR to selling. I seem to get things clearer in my head when answering questions. Otherwise, it’s easy to forget. Also, I have a natural big mouth and my shoes fit right on in there…

    I’ve seen a lot of authors (or soon to be authors) get really “helpful” that way and it’s hard to tell them to settle down. It’s all in the tone, I think. Like you said, the snooty new author. I generally like to remind people that I’m not a genius before I commit to defining something. Or, as I’ve been introduced, lol, I’m a fount of useless information. :)

    Hope you have a good weekend!

  11. Kate "I know more than you do" Rothwell
      · March 23rd, 2006 at 10:10 am · Link

    :wtf: I so do NOT pluck my eyebrows.

    :love: I shape ’em like hearts:rant::rant:

  12. Kate
      · March 23rd, 2006 at 10:11 am · Link

    it’s to show I’m a rrrrromance rioter, see. . .:type::type::diva::neener:

  • Get my latest news straight to your inbox!

    I'll only be sending newsletters when I have news to share, and I'll never share your information. You'll receive an email asking you confirm your subscription (so please check your spam box if you don't receive that). You can unsubscribe at anytime.


  • Affiliation

    Shannon Stacey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of

    If you purchase a book listed on the site from, she’ll earn a small commission. Thank you!