Monday, November 21, 2011


“You can please some of the people all of the time and all the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time.” That quote, or a variation of it that substitutes “fool” for “please” has been attributed at varying times to either Abraham Lincoln or P.T. Barnum. Apparently, there’s no hard evidence to support either claim, but the quote endures.

For authors, the quote doesn’t work at all. No author will ever please all the people some of the time and rarely some of the people all the time. It’s hard enough pleasing some of the people some of the time.

For those of us who write humor, it’s doubly hard. Not only do we have to get it right when it comes to plot and characters, we’ve got to appeal to the reader’s funny bone. And not all funny bones are created equal. As a matter of fact, funny bones are more like fingerprints -- no two are quite alike.

Which brings me to this week’s question: For What in Your Writing Are You Most Thankful? For me, I’m thankful for the readers who “get” my books, especially those fans who take the time to write me to tell me how much I made them laugh. I’m also grateful for the many readers who post their enjoyment of my books on various review sites.

Humor is very subjective. I know I fail miserably in that department for some readers. They’ve said so on those same review sites. But I knew when I started writing humorous fiction that I wasn’t going to be able to make everyone laugh. I’ve read plenty of humorous books that have laid giant goose eggs with me. I never cracked a smile, let alone burst out in a belly laugh, even though I had heard the books were funny. Same with some sit-coms and movies I’ve watched.

My biggest fear when I first published was not being able to please any readers any of the time. What if my agent and editor turned out to be the only two people who thought I was funny? I’ve since learned that I needn’t have worried about that. There are readers out there who think I’m funny. They’ve told me, and thanks to places like Goodreads and Amazon, they’ve told the world. For that I am truly grateful.

Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series. The first book, Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun, was a January 2011 release and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Death by Killer Mop Doll will be a January 2012 release. Visit Lois at and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog,

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