You Say Tomato, I Hear Guacamole

I have a hearing problem.

My ears are fine. For some reason listening to songs like Smoke on the Water and LaGrange on my headphones forty years ago had little or no effect on my eardrums. But over the years, I’ve begun to hear something different than what is being spoken.

Come to think about it, maybe it was Deep Purple and ZZ Top that caused this.

Politician says: “I can solve the problem.”

I hear:  “Get out your checkbook.”

My wife might say: “Are you going to wear that?”

I hear: “Change your shirt.”

I am starting to wonder if I might be experiencing something from the New Testament book of Acts, where everyone heard in their own language.

It messes with my head.

In publishing, there are things said by publishers and authors I hear entirely different than what they actually said.  Sometimes every single word is different.

It’s weird.

New author pitching the agency: “I am a messenger from God to save the world.”

I hear: “I will be a nightmare to represent as a client so if you are smart, you will run away…quickly.”

I know, it’s crazy, but I don’t know what to do.

Proposal from author: “I wood like you to reprezent me to publichers as a new arthur.

I hear: “I don’t spell good, but I want to write a book.”

(FYI – My inner voice uses spell-check.)

Publisher says: “This proposal is not our strength.”

I hear: “I have 172 proposals to wade through and yours was on the bottom.”

I am starting to worry if I have some kind of syndrome.

Author says: “It’s not about the money.”

I hear: “It’s about the money.”

“God dictated this book to me.”

I hear: “If you try to edit me I will call down a plague of locusts on your company.”

“This book will turn every teenager into a loving, caring, mature individual.”

I hear: “I am a chronic liar.”

“This book is for everyone.”

I hear: “I have no idea who will want to read my book.”

“Thank you for the proposal Dan, we’ll review it the first chance we get.”

I hear: “We will never respond.”

“I know this isn’t the kind of book you represent, but…”

I hear: (Unrecognizable sounds similar to teacher from Charlie Brown cartoons)

“I sold 100,000 free downloads of my last book.”

I hear: “I want a huge advance with no hope of ever earning it back.”

“I am an award-winning best-selling author.”

I hear: “The award was in grade school and I was ranked #1 for free ebooks for three hours one day.”

“Once you start reading my book, you won’t be able to stop.”

I hear: “Once you put my book down, you won’t be able to pick it up again.”

“I have enclosed a finished manuscript, already formatted and ready to be published.”

I hear: “I have no idea how publishing works.”

“I self-published my book and have not sold any copies of it, so I thought I would try to get an agent and go the route of traditional publishing.”

I hear: “I have no idea how publishing works.”

“I wrote a book exposing the song “There is a Balm in Gilead” as a marketing ploy to sell Vicks Vapo-Rub.”

I hear: “I am on work-release from a psych ward.”

The voices in my head say it’s time to stop. Maybe I should check myself in somewhere.

Leave a Comment

The Worst Proofreading Error of All-Time

Take a close look at the picture above. Read it out loud. The word “not” is missing. As in “Thou shalt ___ commit adultery.” It is from an edition of the Bible published in 1631, now affectionately known as “The Sinners Bible” or “The Wicked Bible.”  Adulterers of the realm …

Read More

A Sensational New Market for Books is Found

In a startling revelation this week, the Foundation for Applied Knowledge and Enterprise (FAKE) in Danville, Delaware released the findings of their ten-year research study to identify unreached markets for printed books. Since the human market has been fully reached with books, the methodology used by FAKE was to determine …

Read More

Is Book Publishing Fair?

Anyone who has been around young children has heard their cry of protest, “That’s not fair,” when some sort of consequence is meted out for misbehavior. In reality, what is being objected to is fairness, as consequences were spelled out ahead of time and known to all. Parent: “One more …

Read More

Proofreading: Tips and Tricks

Since I have regularly displayed my lack of proofreading skills in past blog posts I thought it might be appropriate to look at some ways we can effectively proof our work. At every conference I’ve ever attended there is at least one person’s proposal, pitch page, or sample chapter that …

Read More

Dark Friday

I wrote this piece a few years ago and thought it appropriate to post every year on Dark Friday.

Take Me, Break Me
(a prayer)
by Steve Laube

Take my eyes Lord.

Strike me blind.

* * *

Then heal me Lord
That I may see with Your eyes.


Take my hands Lord.
Crush every bone.

* * *

Then heal me Lord
That I may touch with Your tenderness.

Read More

Appreciating Reviews

While researching my St. Patrick’s Day blog, where I reminisced about writing a novella, I must confess I poked around and looked at the fate of a few other books I wrote as well. I tell authors that a one-star review isn’t as bad as they think because that shows that …

Read More

What An Editor Does–Phase 2

Next week, I promise, we’ll jump into the nuts and bolts of editing. But today I want to talk about what editors don’t do. Why do I bring these things up? Because I’ve encountered each and every one of them as a freelance editor. I’ve had clients say, “While you’re …

Read More

The Credibility Gap

This was a tough post to write. I felt at times that I was arguing with myself on these issues, but maybe in today’s “journey” through the topic of author credibility you will sense the struggle that Christian authors confront and maybe some truth with be revealed in the process. …

Read More