The Disrespectful Interviewer: Dissing Lynn Price 


Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Disrespectful Interviewer is a semi-regular feature in which your intrepidly disrespectful correspondent is as rude as she likes with prominent writers of the day.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted: Me being The Disrespectful Interviewer, other writers are always saying, “Do me! Do me, Lauren!”—which, considering what I do here, really says something about them. But I must say, you’re the first editor who’s ever asked me to do her. What does that say about you? And what do you hope to get out of this?

Lynn Price: We’re really a pathetic lot. Obviously I’m a pathetic windbag in search of abuse and approval. I’m in therapy for it. To date, the shrink has asked me to be a part of a full-time university study with the usual optional complementary lobotomy. As to what I hope to get out of this interview is fame, of course. My shrink tells me I have a narcissistic streak as long as the California freeway system. I think he’s delusional.

LBL: Just so long as you don’t expect this to be one of those puff pieces like you might get from the New York Times. We’re real journalists here. You don’t expect a puff piece, do you?

LP: Puff piece. Gah. Perish the thought. Hey, wait, Lauren Roberts told me you’d be my bestest buddy and say all sorts of nice things. Lauuurrreeennn….

LBL: Sorry, but you’re stuck with the wrong Lauren right now. Currently the other Lauren cannot help you out. OK, in addition to being the editorial director of Behler Publications, you’ve also written a nonfiction book called The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box: Getting a Hook on the Publishing Industry—really? What’s up with all the fishing metaphors? Does this represent a new angle?

LP: Angle/angler . . . nyuk, nyuk, get it? I’ve always thought of the publishing industry as one giant pond with a finite number of editors and agents swimming around looking for the fattest worm, and it’s the author’s job to make sure their equipment is the absolute best because, well, we don’t bite at no junk.

LBL: Wait a second here. You’re the editorial director of Behler and Behler publishes your book. Your publishing company, your book—sweet! Me, I’d love to publish me, but that’s because I’m me. What made you go this route?

LP: Pretty cool, eh? No pitching to agents, writing damnable query letters and proposals. And best of all, no rejections. I just go as far as my submissions team and bark out a “we’re pubbing this or you die. Or at the very least, you’re fired.” In reality, I did have an agent who wanted to sell the book to a Big Gun. I wrote up the proposal and played the writer without a home bit. I gave the agent’s ideas some serious thought but in the long run, I decided to keep it and expand our Get It Write series. Doing it in-house also gave me a lot more flexibility with sales ideas.

LBL: Regarding your author bio: Margaritas—really? I thought everyone in publishing drank cheap wine. Well, Maxwell Perkins probably drank whiskey neat but we all know there are no Maxwell Perkinseseses—edit that! I feel like the guy on the Orbitz commercial!—in publishing anymore. Who are you trying to be with these margaritas then, the Charlie Sheen of publishing?

LP: Charlie Sheen? Pah, forget it. I don’t have his genealogy or his talents for trashing cars and spouses, but I do have a discerning taste for good tequila. Consider it due to my California roots, where we’d slip down to Baja for the weekend and drink ourselves into a coma on margaritas. Only time I considered I may have a problem was when I awakened, wrapped in a multi-colored poncho and a donkey was wearing my bra. I’ve sworn off trips to Mexico since then, but honor the memories by having my secretary, the Unreliable Beagle, mix up pitchers of the golden nectar. Ahh, good times.

LBL: Ole, baby. Your last name’s not Behler. Why’s the company you’re editorial director of called Behler Publications? Is this one of those Remington Steele things? Are you the Pierce Brosnan of the piece? Are you really Behler?

LP: I get called Lynn Behler All. The. Time. I say, I don’t care what you call me, only don’t call me late for a hearty steak dinner.

Ok here’s the dirt. The short version is that Behler is named after a main character in my novel, Donovan’s Paradigm, Erik Behler. The longer, more tasty version is that, in a prior lifetime, I was everything that I rail against on our blog and in the Tackle Box. Yes, I was an idiot—woefully undereducated about the industry and wickedly stupid. But I could write. So I did the absolute perfect thing and sold my novel to…wait for it…a scam publisher! Oh the delicious irony. They putzed up my book, and I realized I’d been had before it ever got out of “editing,” which is shorthand for the rinse-and-spin cycle of your favorite spell check program.

Meanwhile, hubby, AKA Mr. Moneypants, was looking around for something to invest in. He heard me carping about my publishing hell and one thing led to another. Before I could conjugate my next verb, he contacted some brilliant minds in the publishing industry who mentored him about the publishing business.

Meanwhile, said scam publisher caught wind of what we were doing and decided to very publicly rake my name through the mud and slime in an effort to make me look like a scammer. Hah, that ol’ kettle/black thing.

We went through several months of fun and games with them and sued and got the rights to my book. That book became the fulcrum of going through hell and back. If it hadn’t been for my book falling prey to my stupidity and a skank company, Behler Publications wouldn’t be here. That’s why I’m such a pill about authors learning the business. I don’t want to see another author experience what I did.

LBL: Regarding your author bio, Part II: It says, “Lynn is also the snark behind the Behler Blog—who do you think is snarkier, you or me?

LP: Hmm…total tossup. Maybe we should arm wrestle or something. Nah, let’s just have the beagle mix up some drinks and nachos and admit we’re equally pathetically snarky.

LBL: The dedication at the front of the book reads: “To all the wonderful authors/Who serve as my inspiration”—just whom exactly are we talking about here?

LP: My publishing seminars that I give at writer’s conferences are designed to educate authors about the industry. I kept hearing comments about how I was the only one talking about these issues and how I should write a book. The many, many authors who shared their horror stories with me became my inspiration to write that book so anyone could learn how the industry works, how we think, why we do things the way we do, and putting to rest the suspicion as to whether we think at all.

LBL: You use Random House as a frequent example in the beginning of the book. In fact, Random House is mentioned so frequently in the beginning, I began feeling as though I was watching American Idol prior to the current season, with all the judges drinking from Coke cups and Paula Abdul drinking who-knows-what from her Coke cup. How much did Random House pay you for this product placement?

LP: Not nearly enough, the miserly bastards.

LBL: Just how resentful are you that you always have to pick up the tab for agents at bars/restaurants?

LP: Yah, just whazzup with that? We have print runs, advances, cover design, interior design and layout, ARCs, promotion. We’re broke, baby! Spare an editor a dime for a cuppa?

LBL: I’m an author, remember? I don’t even have a penny. You end each section of the book with “Final Thoughts from My Side of the Pond.” What’s that about—are you trying to pass as British? If so, I can help you with that since I have more than a little experience. Did you know that their pregnancy test kits show a thin blue line for a positive result rather than the thin pink line we have here in the States? It’s little details like that that can really mess a person up. As Hamlet said, attention to detail is all.

LP: Now you see, had I taken a pregnancy test in the UK, I would have thought I was having a boy—blue line. Then again, they drive on the wrong side of the road and eat kidney pie. And really, just typing “kidney pie” makes me want to yak. But I digress. So you didn’t get my Thoughts from My Side of the Pond? Really? Truly? Sheesh. I was carrying through the fishing pond allegory. Here, you need a drink.

LBL: Always. At one point in the book, you address the reader directly with: “Again, you say, ‘Whoopie doo, knock your bad self out.’ ” I don’t know which reader you think you’re talking to there, but just for the record, let me assure you that this reader has never spoken such a sentence in her life. Are we clear on that?

LP: Like, to-tal-ly. But, really, you should. You’d be amazed at how much freer you feel. Like falling off a cliff. It’s those little things that make you know you’re alive.

LBL: Oh, I’m alive all right, much to some people’s chagrin. In the section on book reviews, one book review publisher you interview is Lauren Roberts of BiblioBuffet. When answering the following question, I’d advise you to keep in mind just where this interview I’m conducting with you is going to run: Lauren Roberts rocks, doesn’t she?

LP: Lauren is the yabba to my dabba doo. She’s the cream in my Twinkie, the dangling to my modifier. A more noble, kind, smart, savvy woman I have yet to meet. 

LBL: Yeah, I like her too. I’ve been in the book business since 1983. I’ve heard of subsidy publishers, vanity presses, book packagers, but until your book I never heard of book shepherds. Book shepherds? BAA! What gives?

LP: I know what you mean. It’s like back in the day when flight attendants were called stewardesses. More than once during my interview process, I was informed the term “book shepherd” was the preferred term. Calling them what they wanted to be called seemed like the right thing to do. But I did think of wool shears and Ugg boots a lot.

LBL: Gayle Shanks of Changing Hands Bookstore is quoted in your book as saying that among the worst bookstore events are those with “authors who show up to an event intoxicated.” Gee, public sobriety? That’s setting the bar kind of low. But then again, wouldn’t dusty publishing gain a new cachet if all authors showed up to events intoxicated? What say you?

LP: As far as I’m concerned, an author showing up to an event wearing her Victoria Secrets on her head and smelling of expensive rum adds an element of good old-fashioned ambiguous hilarity. And come on, aren’t our lives constrained enough? I say let loose and lighten up. Have some fun. 

LBL: The truth is, I know next to nothing about you—I’ve just been faking it here—and it would take too much effort to learn. Anyway, I need to give myself a manicure. So you carry the ball here for a while. Being an editor, you probably don’t know this, but all successful fiction has one thing in common: It continually makes the reader say, “And then what happened?” So, while I reshape my talons, here’s your chance to create a more interesting narrative about yourself and your work, telling Disrespectful Interviewer readers whatever you want them to know, with me popping in occasionally to provide narrative encouragement. OK…………..start!

LP: Is there anything more fun than hogging an interview while the hostess with the mostess is away? About me. In reality, I’m fairly dull, but make up for it by surrounding myself with interesting people. Back in the Jurassic Era, I received my degree in Sociology—not because I thought I’d make a good social worker but because I think studying people is a hoot. It’s an excellent background for this insane industry.

LBL: And then what happened?

LP: I traveled around the world, married Mr. Moneypants, who’s about as adorable as they come, had a few kids, who are equally adorable. Most of the time. Actually, they’re much cuter now that they’re grown.

I’ve embarked on all kinds of things while waiting to grow up, but always gravitated toward the artistic side of things. I had a clothes painting business with my sis-in-law, and we sold our goodies to all the hooha stores. I taught school for about four years until the politics made me gag up a chalk ball. And then I turned to writing.

LBL: And then what happened?

LP: Writing, like nothing else, lit my fire, and I sat in our dining room and whacked out my first novel while ignoring my family. It didn’t take long for cobwebs to gather around my inert form. [Note: I won a gold medal IPPY for that book, and my family insisted that they should have received one as well. Gripe, gripe, gripe.]

LBL: And then what happened?

LP: And then I got caught in the scam publisher’s web. During that time Moneypants created a publishing company and…and…

LBL: And then what happened?

LP: I grew up. I found Nirvana in helping run a company that turns out some damn fine books that have garnered great reviews, lots of sales, some awards, one movie [East Fifth Bliss], and impacts a lot of people’s lives.

LBL: That’s enough of that! I think some publisher should issue a book compiling all my Disrespectful Interviewer interviews. What do you think?

LP: Oh, like those Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I like it. You could call it Disrespectful Interviews for the Masochistic Soul. Has a great ring to it.

LBL: So, when we finally meet, which of us is picking up the restaurant/bar tab?

LP: Oh, you are. Totally.

Win a free copy of Crazy Beautiful! We will be giving away a copy of her latest young adult novel, Crazy Beautiful, to this week’s lucky winner. To enter, send us an e-mail with your name. That’s it. For this drawing, all names received on or before Friday, May 14 will be entered, and the winner’s name will be drawn that evening. We will notify the winner over the weekend. Only one entry per person, please. (We apologize to our international readers, but due to high postage costs we can only mail books to U.S. addresses.) There is no obligation, and your name and address will not be saved by BiblioBuffet or used for any purpose other than mailing the books.


Lauren Baratz-Logsted has sold twenty books to six publishers since 2003. Her published novels include The Thin Pink Line and Vertigo for adults; Crazy Beautiful for teens, Me, In Between for tweens; and the first four of The Sisters 8, a nine-book series for young readers, co-written with her novelist husband Greg Logsted and their nine-year-old daughter Jackie. In the year 2010 she'll have four more books published, including two more titles in The Sisters 8 series, The Education of Bet for teens and one more teen title. Lauren still lives in Danbury, CT, where she writes and reads pretty much all the time. You can read more about Lauren’s life and work (and contact her) at her personal website and the Sisters 8 site. Contact Lauren.



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