On the Asking of Special Holiday Favors From Me

Folks: This week I’ve gotten no less than five requests from fans (or family/friends of fans) asking if I could do some particular special thing or another that would mean a lot to the fan for the holidays. Since there are several of these this week, and these sorts of requests are something I’ve had to juggle before, especially during the holidays, I’m posting this as a general note so people know it’s not personal. And that note is:

I really can’t. One, because it’s the holidays for me and my family as well as for everyone else, which means that I’m pretty busy with other things — including work, but also with general holiday stuff. Two, because often the things you’re asking for may seem relatively small or trouble-free for you but often will require some amount of planning and scheduling for me, which again, will probably take place during the holidays, when my time is at a premium. Three, because I couldn’t do all the special requests I’m asked to do and I would feel vaguely guilty at granting some and not others, so easier just to say no and put everyone on the same footing.

Special requests were one reason I started doing the holiday signing books thing at Jay and Mary’s Book Center several years ago. It made better sense from a time management (and from a maximizing access) point of view to schedule through the bookstore than to have people, for example, send their purchases to me at home to sign.

It’s possible in the future I’ll set up something where I do a day of Holiday Special Favors — probably with a charitable aspect tied into it somehow if I do — but for now I just have to say “no.” I do hope you understand.


(P.S.: If you were one of those asking for a special request, please don’t feel bad for doing so. You didn’t do anything wrong, and you weren’t being rude for asking or anything like that. This isn’t an “Oh my God I can’t believe you would ask that what a terrible person you are” post, it’s a “I can totally see why would want this and here’s why I can’t right now” post. There’s a difference.)

27 Comments on “On the Asking of Special Holiday Favors From Me”

  1. PPS: I put that “PS” as a way to ward off people posting “I can’t believe people would ask that!” comments here. So if you were going to post one of those comments, please don’t. There was nothing wrong with the asking. I just can’t do it, that’s all.

  2. So I guess that means you won’t be making an appearance at the Holiday Lady’s Night at the Spearmint Rhino in Sheboygan? The sewing club is going to be very disappointed.

  3. There goes my dream of having you play the ukulele at my New Year’s Eve party. I’m sure the tip jar would covered your airfare. Maybe next year?

  4. The Jay and Mary’s Bookcenter signings is pretty special as far as I’m concerned. Personally, and I’m sure I’m not speaking alone, your taking the time to sign these during the holidays is very cool. Plus, it’s solved a couple gift ideas for hard to buy for people! Thanks very much and have a nice holiday!

  5. I always find this part of celebrity interesting (and although not to the degree of a Brad Pitt or Bono, you’re certainly a celebrity). As a writer I imagine you receive offers for speaking engagements for example (not the same as the holiday requests you speak of) and I imagine some of those could be quite lucrative. However, I see you as more interested in producing your art than jetting around the globe talking about it – “Whatever” and “Twitter” notwithstanding.

    Now had you become a successful performing artist instead, you could easily jusify accepting millions of dollars to entertain very wealthy people (Beyoncé doing a one-night gig for the Gaddafi boys for a cool million comes to mind), but I just don’t see you as being that type of person. And I guess that’s why I feel good about buying all your books while having never attended a Beyoncé show. Happy holidays!

  6. Well, I DO have a special request for you…..Have a wonderful Christmas spent with your family, enjoying yourselves, doing all the things people associate with Christmas, and when you’re ready to come back, we’ll be waiting. Until then, Ho! Ho! Ho!

  7. RJ Brown:

    Well, in fact I do speaking engagements, but I tend to do them when I’m not actively writing a book. I don’t see accepting a speaker gig from a Gaddafi type, however.

  8. What most impresses me is that you did take the time to address this, thoughtfully and gently, so that those who had a request would not feel shame for asking (or considering asking). This is evidence of heart and class exemplified. Have an amazing holiday, John. You deserve it.

  9. I do have a request. Please post links to all your past hysterically funny holiday interviews; would be good to have them all in one place so I can email links to people. And have a lovely holiday!

  10. To date no one has me for a Christmas favor ( at least not to do with writing). I’m not standing on one leg waiting for that to happen though I shouldn’t sell me self short right? Have a wonderful holiday season John.

  11. What a kind response. The annual Jay and Mary’s signing session feels like a special favor each year! However in the future if you need help granting special holiday favors ( for charity of course) I can volunteer my husband John and you can get twice as many granted in half the time while playing a nifty round of “John Scalzi Roulette”.

  12. Darn, I was hoping you would dress up as Hanukah Harry and have Sugar and Spice pulling you on a stack of potato pancakes for our 8th night festivities here in drought ridden southern California (bet it is warmer here than at your place). We would give you and the scamper beasts presents too.

  13. This is the toned down friends and family version of fuck you pay me.

    Waiting for someone to hit john up for holiday sex. Not quite that big yet, but if those TV shows happen he might get there.

  14. Taking the time to write this is, in its own way, a special holiday favor, John.

    I don’t imagine I’m the only one who goes a little psychotic with the stress of Not Being Able To Do It All at this time of year. Even us non-celebrities suffer from Unrealistic Holiday Expectation Syndrome, and in our case the one with the expectations is usually our selves. But I, at least imagine how disappointed “everyone/someone” will be if I can’t manage (blahblahholidayritualdoodad,) anyway.

    Role-modeling Holiday Sanity: Priceless.

    Thank you

  15. Damn. My cats were so looking forward to sitting on your lap and giving you their Christmas wish lists. How do you feel about dressing as Baby New Year?

  16. Very kindly put, sir. And thank you for spending time with family and scamperbeasts to enjoy the holiday season. You’ll be far better off for having had the respite.

  17. Guess:

    If anyone ever does (OR HAS), you wouldn’t read about it here, I assure you. Some things are not meant to be for public consumption. I think all of you are actually grateful for that, or should be, anyway.

  18. Guess: I think there’s a point where “toning down” actually serves to qualitatively change the message and this would be one of those situations, if I thought Scalzi actually started at “fuck you pay me” and then notched it down a bit (which I don’t.)

  19. Guess: I expect that John had started at “fuck you, pay me” he would have said “I only do well-paid gigs this time of year.” Nothing of the kind appears in the OP or any of his subsequent comments. But of course, that doesn’t fit your anti-Scalzi, anti-anyone-being-nice-ever narrative.

    Are you aware that you come across as sneering in just about every comment you post? It’s really ugly.

  20. It is the Scamperbeasts first Christmas. Mr. Scalzi is probably running himself ragged getting them appropriately wonderful gifts.

  21. I checked the comments on this one just to see the shenangians that would follow under the heading of “Does that mean I won’t get [creatively outlandish request] granted ths year?”

    I was not disappointed…

  22. Um. Does this mean you’re ignoring my request to have another new book completed before Christmas?

    I mean, c’mon Scalzi. Way to disappoint.

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