Lists of things you should “never say” to this or that group of people are a plague on the Interwebz.
For one thing, they are typically arrogant assertions of privilege and entitled elevation above normal human interaction. Moreover, they’re often premised on a subtext of denigration and grievance against the class of people presumed to be saying the things in question. Often, the “things to never say” are strawman arguments, gross exaggerations, or distorted misquotes intended to slander a certain kind of person as unsavory, vulgar, or deserving of disdain.
How dare one of you say such a thing to one of us? Yeah, go f*ck yourself.
So, when I recently saw a list of things to never say to authors, I thought maybe I should comment on it since I’m in the elevated in-group rather than the denigrated out-group. This particular list was posted by Holly Bourne at Author Allsorts, and is based on such “myths” as:
- Authors are all filthy rich
- Authors have more time than you
- Authors have control over film rights
- Authors know how well their books are selling
- Authors have unlimited copies to give away
I’m not sure I really care about any of these presumptions. They’re easy enough to correct, with a single sentence, forcefully stated. But, I guess my real response to the idea of there being things non-authors are forbidden to say to authors is a simple statement of equality:
Say whatever the hell you want to me. And then, I’ll say whatever the hell I want to you.