The Author was in a pretty snippy mood. Not at me, fortunately, but at his publisher. The Author’s last book, the debut of a new series, had been out for the better part of the year but was still not available in a Kindle edition. The second book in the series was being prepped for publication, and the Author was pissed off about the cover, which was dominated by a cat.
“I called them up and I told them there isn’t a cat in the book,” the Author groused. “They told me, ‘Cats sell.’ I told them I didn’t care, there was no cat in the book. So they told me to put one in.”
“That’s all it took?” I asked. “One mention of a cat?”
“I hate cats,” the Author said. “I wouldn’t write a book with cats in it.”
“Maybe you could make it a Schrodinger kind of cat,” I suggested. “You could write a scene with a box, and the cat is inside it either alive or dead.”
We batted that one around for a bit. Then the Author said, “So my agent called me and said, ‘Just put the damned cat in.’ I told them I’d put the cat in as soon as the first book went up on Kindle. So now the book is on Kindle and I wrote in the cat.”
In some ways, the scenario reminded me of the scene in Tootsie where Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack argue about the motivation of a tomato. But that’s publishing for you.