Top Sixteen: Author Nightmares


1. SOMETHING’S MISSING: the launch is planned, the cover is fantastic, the publisher is all ready to go….except you completely and totally forgot to write the book!

2. You’re all set for the launch date, and the morning of you wake up and realize…IT WAS ALL A DREAM. You haven’t sold your book and there are three rejections waiting in your email box.

3. You’ve been anxiously awaiting the day for months, and finally it’s here. You open up your box of ARCs only to find that the publisher has put in not your professional author photo, but an image they found of you by Google image searching your name . . . and it’s from your crazy antics in college.

4. Your great-aunt announces that your upper YA sexy book is going to be her book club’s monthly selection in the spring. And your child’s head of school is in said book group…

5. You get to the bookstore on launch day and see your book proudly displayed. You open it up to catch a whiff of that new-book smell…and discover they forgot to include chapter one in the final printing.

6. That typo that was supposed to be fixed after first pass pages wasn’t. In 300+ pages, it’s the only thing you can see.

7. When your ARCs come out the cover is not final. The first time you see your official cover is the day the book comes out and you see that the title of your book is spelled wrong.

8. Slowly, as if moving underwater, you walk up to the microphone at your very first public author reading. Your book is on the podium. The audience waits as you pick it up. It is a parts manual for a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta, by…YOU. Wake up bolt upright in bed, panting and sweating.

9. You work and work and work on your brilliant book. It’s the most brilliant book ever, with the most brilliantly conceived characters and plot and it is totally going to rock the YA world and you send it to your editor and you wait and wait and then she emails back: JOHN GREEN ALREADY WROTE THIS BOOK.

10. You are given three days to live, four days before your book comes out.

11. It’s time for the long-awaited launch party presentation for your MG fantasy set in a parallel monster world that gobbles up misfits for lunch, and when you step up to the podium, you realize you are the misfit standing before a mob of hungry monsters.

12. Launch party is all set, cookies made, decorations up, book display out with piles of books ready to be signed . . . and crickets. NO. ONE. SHOWS. Not even your parents.

13. Your book comes out, and your favorite writer in the world tweets about how much they hate it. The tweet gets 85,000 likes.

14. On release day, Snowstorm/Hurricane/Tornado/insert natural disaster of choice here of the century decides to hit. You try to drive to the bookstore, anyway.

15. Everything is perfect! Not one edit missed, wonderful back copy blurb, and the most beautiful cover you’ve ever seen. Then you walk into the bookstore and find your book everywhere with the most hideous replacement cover you can imagine.

16. You’re totally set up for you launch party. There’s food, drinks, tons of swag, and hundreds of people. But one thing is missing – the books!

Bonus #16: You get to the store only to realize that the bookstore right across the street is also hosting a launch party celebrating J.K. Rowling’s new secret Harry Potter novel, food catered by Gordon Ramsay, and with a pre-reading show consisting of unicorns, magic spells, the entire HP cast, and the actual Dobby from the movies.

Happy Nightmares from our Contributors! Lee Gjertsen Malone, Brooks Benjamin, Jenn Bishop, Scarlett Koi, Jennie K. Brown, Amy Allgeyer, Natalie Blitt, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Stephanie Garber, Kathleen Glasgow, Bridget Hodder, Marisa Reichardt, Cynthia Reeg, Janet Sumner Johnson, Lindsay Kinglele, Isabel Bandeira

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