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'07 Authors Insider Tips

by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
Scams / Choosing an Agent
Pitching Your Novel...
From The Call to Published...

Hard Business
From Greg Herren
Who Is Telling This Story?
It’s Work, Not A Hobby
Where Ideas Come From

Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
Seducing Your Muse
Creating Characters...
Description, Action & Dialogue
Fucking on Paper
Ten No-Nos of Erotic Fiction
Climactic Moments: First Draft
Critique Groups
Revising Your Erotic Story
Finding the Perfect Markets...
Just Submit Already
Rejections and Acceptances

Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Verb Tense Confusion
Coming Up with Story Ideas
Attend a Writers’ Conference
The Fundamentals of POV
Should I Sign That?
Etiquette for Authors
Erotica is Serious Work
No Body Writes for Free...
Shameless Self Promotions
The Myth of Writer's Block

The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
The Time is Write
The Beautiful People
A Book by Any Other...
Synopsis: the Necessary Evil
Erotica or Porn?
Feedback Whine

2007 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
What's it like being a writer?
An Apology to Salespeople

Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
About Secrets
The Perfect Fuck
About Choices
The Age of Consent
The Kingmaker
Kids and Sex
The Price of Beauty
The G.O.P.
All Worked Up About Hate
Real Men

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

Ashley Lister Submits
                                        Diary of an Erotic Fiction Writer

An Apology to Salespeople

On Friday I finished writing a novel.  The satisfaction that comes from writing the words THE END at the conclusion of a major project can only be compared to the climax of a well-earned and cataclysmic orgasm.  But, while I was working on this story, I have to admit I was rather offhand with a small number of salespeople.  This is my official letter of apology to those people I offended.

The first call came a week into writing the novel.  This is roughly how the conversation went. 


ME: Hello?

SP: Mr Lister?

ME: Yes?

SP: My name is Twat.  [This wasn't his real name, I made that up so as not to embarrass the salesperson if he's reading this.] I see you recently had an insurance policy with us for your household plumbing.

ME: Did I?

SP: I'm calling to give you the chance to cash in on a special offer we have at the moment to provide you with pest insurance… 

ME: No thank you.

SP: …our pest insurance policy provides a superior level of cover and…

ME: No thank you.

SP: Very well, Mr Lister.  But may I ask, if you're troubled by pests in the very near future, how are you going to deal with that problem?

ME: Well, first, I'll pick up the telephone and see what they're trying to sell me…

This was the point where the salesperson hung up.

Now, I have to admit this wasn't particularly nice of me.  Salespeople have jobs to do, just like the rest of us.  Admittedly, this one had interrupted my job, and wouldn't accept my polite "No thank you," the first time.  But I have heard that salespeople are trained to be forceful so I can't blame the individual: only the hard sell ethic. 

So, if the salesperson on the other end of that exchange is reading this, I'd genuinely like to say, "I'm sorry, Twat."

The following is a transcript of a telephone call I received during the second week of writing the novel.  Again, please don't think I'm proud of my actions.  I'm only reiterating these conversations so I can properly atone for my sins.


SP: Hello, Mr Lister.  My name is Bastard.  [Once again, this wasn't his real name.  I also made this one up so as not to embarrass the salesperson if he's reading this.]  Our company currently have a special offer on mobile phones…

ME: Mobile phones give you ear cancer [NB – I don't really think this is true but it felt like the right thing to say to a salesperson trying to sell me a mobile phone].

SP: No, Mr Lister.  Mobile phones don't give you ear cancer.  Especially not ours.  We're promoting the latest…


This was the point where the salesperson hung up.

Again, this was reprehensible behaviour on my part and my only excuse is: I was busy writing and didn't want to suffer the interruption. 

Of course, that's not entirely true.  I do believe, if I wanted insurance or a mobile phone, I would go to an appropriate shop, or check things out online (most likely through ERWA's Amazon link).  I wouldn't sit waiting by my telephone, pretending to write a novel, and hoping a salesperson would call me up to tell me about their company's latest special offer.

But I'm trying to make a public apology here, so, if the salesperson on the other end of aforementioned exchange is reading this, I'd genuinely like to say, "I'm sorry, Bastard."

The following conversation is from the third week of my working on the novel. 

I should point out that I had tried to be patient with this caller and the transcript starts ten minutes into my exchange with a salesperson I've chosen to think of as Shithead.  I'd said, "No thank you," approximately a dozen times by this point and had started to simply say NO in a variety of strange and peculiar accents.

SP: …we have an extensive list of stationery…

ME: [Irish accent.] No, begorah.

SP: …and we're able to supply all brands of printer cartridge….

ME: [Jamaican Accent.] No tank yoo, mon.

SP: …as well as our own generic brands,  We have…

ME: [Sounding like Commander Chekhov from Star Trek.] No, Cap'n.  Nuclear wessels.

SP: …various quantities and qualities of printer paper as well as…

ME: [Returning to my regular voice.] Could I have your fax number please?

SP: Do you want to fax your order through?

ME: No.  I don't want to fax an order through.  I want to send a fax to you with the word NO in big black letters, to see if you finally get the fucking message.

This was the point where the salesperson hung up.

I've said it before, this time I mean it sincerely: I'm sorry, Shithead.

The thing is, I've not really got anything against sales people.  I'm quite comfortable with them as long as they're not interrupting my work and trying to sell something to me.  I don't think I'm unique or particularly special.  (Well, I suppose I do think I'm unique and particularly special, but not in a conceited way).  But, as I've said before, we all have jobs to do and I should be more tolerant of that fact.  I should keep reminding myself that salespeople are no different to other people who have difficult and demanding jobs to do, such as drug dealers, pimps and gangsters. 

The following, final exchange, occurred on the day before I finished writing the novel.  This one was between me and a salesperson I shall call Wanker.


SP: Hello Mr Lister, and how are you today?

ME: Sick to death of phone calls from salesmen.  How are you?

This was the point where the salesperson hung up.

Even if all of the above comes across as though I'm still being rude about salespeople, I would like to assure any readers that my intentions are entirely honourable.  I sincerely want to say, "I'm so sorry," to all the Twats, Bastards, Shitheads and Wankers who work as salespeople.  In fact, on reflection, I don't think I can tell you just how sorry I am.

Ashley Lister
October 2007

  Read more of Ashley's Diary of an Erotic Fiction Writer in ERWA 2007 Archive.

"Ashley Lister Submits" © 2006 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, Swingers: True Confessions from Today's Modern Swinging Scene (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753511355), a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his first title published under his own name.
Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica.  Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto.  He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.
Email: Ashley Lister
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