30 Jan

Writing Conferences: Don’t Be "That Guy"

Posted in Conferences, Tips, Writing

You know exactly what I’m talking about, because we’ve all seen That Guy in action.  You may have even met That Guy, or *gasp* been That Guy.  (If the latter is true, STOP.  Seriously, right now.)

When might you have encountered this rare specimen?

•  Sitting next to you on a cross-country flight, That Guy says: “Oh, you’re a writer?  I thought about writing a bestseller once… you know, like in my spare time.  I’ve got this killer idea.  Maybe you could ghostwrite for me.”

•  During the Q&A session at a conference, That Guy says to an agent: “I’m writing a book on the mating habits of Komodo dragons.  What kind of book deal could you get me?”

• When you’re a publishing intern reading slush and answering phones, That Guy calls saying: “Everyone who’s read my book loves it.  Even my lover/warden/kid/pet goat.  It must be the Best Book Ever and you’d be a fool not to publish/represent it!”

That Guy isn’t always a guy; in fact, about 50% of the time it’s a girl.  That Guy isn’t necessarily a bad writer, either.  That Guy might even get published someday if he/she/it stops being so That-Guy-ish.

So, how do you avoid being That Guy?  Two words: common sense.  Seriously.  It amazes me how many writing and publishing hurdles can be navigated if you use your noggin.  Actually, that’s kind of true in life too.

More importantly, how do you avoid the temptation of punching That Guy in the face?  I still haven’t figured this one out.  But I’ve discovered that watching this video helps.


Comments on this post

  1. The Golden Eagle says:

    That video always makes me laugh and feel sad, since it's so true . . .

    1. Carol Riggs says:

      [try again, sorry for the delete and messing up your comment section LOL]

      Ha, really. It's SO important to read, listen, and learn all you can. Be a dry sponge that soaks up everything writerly!! And then you won't have those annoying faux pas moments.

      1. Julie Musil says:

        Love this! I've seen a couple of "that guy's" at conferences. I'm much too shy in real life to act this way. Either that's a blessing or a curse.

        1. Dave Symonds says:

          Dude I love that video, hilarious.

          1. A Great Liar says:

            Haha. Wonderful post. Loved the points, hilarious and so true. Btw I am also currently working on my first novel, so could do with reading something like this. To keep me on my toes.

            1. Catherine Ensley says:

              I love your blog, and just gave you an award on my blog.

              1. Cacy says:


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