Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Professional Courtesy

by Rob - February 13th, 2007.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

So, I was at an event today during which four authors, from four different publishers, were addressing booksellers. Each of us was to have 10 to 12 minutes to speak.

The first guy said right up front that he wasn’t going to bother to keep track of his time, and rather would leave it up to the MC to cut him off — which is a very aggressive thing for a speaker to do. And when the MC did finally tell him his time was up (long after it actually had been), the author said, “Well, then, this is a good place to stop” — and promptly went on for two more minutes.

The second person, a woman, did her ten minutes — and then announced — FREE! BONUS! — she was going to read five typeset pages from her novel on top of that. I actually objected from the audience — five pages is between 1,500 and 2,000 words, and that takes nine to twelve minutes to read aloud properly; she relented, and only read three pages.

The third fellow finished on time, but then instead of getting off stage announced, “You know, I just feel like doing a Q&A,” and although no one volunteered any questions at first, he waited until people did ask him a couple.

And then it was my turn — and we were now running late, of course. I got up, talked for nine minutes, and, I truly believe, left them wanting more … which is the whole idea.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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