The Twelve Statements Before Christmas

I pondered whether I should write this post in verse to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas, but since there would be a lot of copy/paste activity involved, I didn’t feel like readers would get their money’s worth.

Instead, I’ll do this in simple list form, focusing on twelve statements from 2017, which left me speechless. And if you knew me personally, you would know there are very few things which leave me speechless…utterly, without a thought to express in response.

So here they are, the twelve that silenced me:

  1. “How can you say an average family has 1.7 children? We are average and have three!” (Has nothing to do with publishing, but it still stumped me.)
  2. “I don’t care if I ever make a dime on this book, I just want it published.”
  3. “Do you think 500,000 words is too long for a memoir?”
  4. “You know, it’s funny, I realized when I started writing my book that I don’t even like to read books!”
  5. “There’s no need for me to get any training about writing, I’ll just start writing and God will give me the words.”
  6. “I self-published my book on Amazon and haven’t sold any copies in two years, so I thought I would try the traditional publishing route. Could I get a $50,000 advance? I have a lot of bills.”
  7. “I know they tell us to have something prepared for meetings at this conference, but I would rather take my 15 minutes and just tell you about my idea. I was born in 1963…”
  8. “Please consider this proposal as soon as possible, I need the book published in the next few weeks.”
  9. “If you don’t like this idea, then please tell me what I should write about to be a successful author.”
  10. “I have had five previous agents and they all failed to get me published, so I thought I would try you.”
  11. “Do I need to pay taxes on any money I earn from writing?”
  12. “Do they have the new Nacho-flavor Cheez-its in any stores near Chicago?” (Asked by Steve Laube…who doesn’t like anything Nacho-flavored.)

Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad



29 Responses to The Twelve Statements Before Christmas

  1. Avatar
    Brennan S. McPherson December 19, 2017 at 4:38 am #

    Hah! This is hilarious, and also a bit of a head-scratcher.

  2. Avatar
    Joey Rudder December 19, 2017 at 6:12 am #

    Such a fun read! Speechless indeed unless you count, “Oh my. Really?” or “Yikes!” 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Dan! And God bless you.

  3. Avatar
    Sarah Hamaker December 19, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    My favorite (and true!) statement that leaves others speechless? “I have two teenage daughters…and it’s great!”

    I’ve gotten disbelieving looks from some, hopeful looks from parents of smaller kids, and comments that I must be joking. I’m not. My teenagers are fabulous (and, of course, typical teens with some moodiness and attitude–perfect, they are not!).

  4. Avatar
    Carol Ashby December 19, 2017 at 8:22 am #

    Dan, haven’t you ever wondered how it’s possible for anyone to have a fractional child? What’s missing from the one that’s only 0.7 complete?

  5. Avatar
    Rebekah Love Dorris December 19, 2017 at 8:23 am #

    I’m speechless.

  6. Dan Balow
    Dan Balow December 19, 2017 at 8:28 am #

    By the way, you DO need to pay taxes on money earned from writing. I looked it up.


    • Avatar
      Carol Ashby December 19, 2017 at 9:29 am #

      And social security and Medicare taxes, too, if you’re indie.. And business personal property taxes and county business licence fees and gross receipts tax and…

      Do traditionally published have to pay full social security and Medicare tax like other self -emploiyed?

      • Dan Balow
        Dan Balow December 19, 2017 at 10:02 am #

        Yes. Publishers would pay royalties to authors and report the payments on a 1099. From an author perspective it makes no difference.

  7. Avatar
    Jaime December 19, 2017 at 9:37 am #

    Well? DO they have the new Nacho-flavor Cheez-its in any stores near Chicago?

    Your posts are always a blessing! Merry Christmas!

    • Dan Balow
      Dan Balow December 19, 2017 at 10:03 am #

      Never looked into it as Steve doesn’t even like Nacho-flavor! (That’s why I was speechless)

  8. Avatar
    Cara Grandle December 19, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    The list is awesome. People are so quirk. I can’t imagine responding to some of those.
    Merry Christmas and thanks for the chuckle.

  9. Avatar
    Martha Whiteman Rogers December 19, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    Love this list, and some of the comments also left me speechless. We have three boys, and we were considered an average family, so what happened to the other 1.3?

    • Dan Balow
      Dan Balow December 19, 2017 at 10:49 am #

      Three boys huh? My guess there are 1.3 under one the beds, along with four orphan socks, a half-eaten sandwich and some random Lego’s.

  10. Avatar
    Ann L. Coker December 19, 2017 at 10:50 am #


  11. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D December 19, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    Dan, this was hysterical. Thanks for the HUGE smile (and all the wonderful advice and information you give all year long)! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  12. Avatar
    Nora December 19, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    Lands’ sakes! LOL

  13. Avatar
    Meg MacDonald December 19, 2017 at 11:40 am #

    Hey, Mr. Agent, I’ll take one of those $50,000 advances, please. I’ll even write a 500,000 word memoir (or whatever will be successful) to get it! Really, I just want to be published (and not pay taxes). God has given me the words. It will start in 1963 (when I was born) and be about my average family with the 1.7 kids that ONLY eat nacho-flavoured Cheez-its. Even people that don’t read books will love it! Yep. It has best seller written all over it.

    • Avatar
      Maggie December 21, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

      I just got to this post and I’m glad I did. Humor makes the day more fun. You are great.

  14. Avatar
    Robin E. Mason December 19, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    blink. blink. #headtilt WHAT???

  15. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson December 19, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Oh my goodness! These are too funny! I am laughing out loud right now.

  16. Avatar
    Kathy Sheldon Davis December 19, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    If you cut out some of the words in #3, “Do you think?”, the answer might come more easily.


    I’d also like to warn you to beware of overlong silence as it can generate more questions.

    Thanks for the fun, Dan.

  17. Avatar
    G'Ma Barb December 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    Respect and courtesy might be the first steps to learn BEFORE submitting anything to a known professional. Some of the comments are totally unbelievable, but brought a chuckle!

  18. Avatar
    Judi Clarke December 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

    Wow. I’m speechless too – except to say this list is priceless!

  19. Avatar
    Dena Netherton December 19, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    Loved the request for 50,000 dollar advance. Wouldn’t we all love that?!
    (Now that I’m published, people ask me if I’m rich yet.)
    Here’s my favorite. I get this all the time: “I should write a book, too.I was an English major, so writing a book would be easy for me.”

  20. Avatar
    Sandra Allen Lovelace December 20, 2017 at 6:19 am #

    #12 is my favorite.

  21. Avatar
    Gail Atwell Arbogast December 30, 2017 at 7:20 am #

    So very funny.

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