Name Dropping is a No-No

Name Dropping is a No-No by Renea Winchester

Disclaimer: Names have been changed to protect the victims

After speaking with a colleague whom I will call Betsy, I was shocked to discover she has a “stalker” (of sorts). During a conference Betsy met Name Dropping Nancy. The two had a grand time. They chatted as authors do, and discovered mutual interests. As an aside, authors are always eager to speak about their work, share ideas and extend the hand of friendship. Unfortunately, Betsy had no idea that Nancy’s sole purpose for chatting was to gather information.

The problem began when Nancy began contacting publishers saying that our beloved Betsy sent her.

Yes…she did.

The situation escalated when Nancy (who didn’t understand that unanswered emails = “no.”) began calling the publisher.

Yes…she did.

The situation redlined after Nancy received a “no” from the publisher, and instead of accepting the response, continued to press. She didn’t understand that with every dropped-name, sent email and interrupting telephone call she soiled her reputation.


Nancy called, and called, and evidently called a couple more times. Miss Nancy rang the phone so many times that the publisher of a major magazine called Betsy and said, “you are going to have to tell her to stop calling.”

Imagine for a moment Betsy’s surprise. She paused, replayed the conference sifting through the faces she met, uttered conversations and exchanged business cards until she recognized Name Dropping Nancy. That is how well she knew Nancy.

Dear Ones, how do we solve this problem? First, if you are Nancy, or related to her, stop it. Today.

Now Betsy, who doesn’t really know Nancy from —as we say in the south— Adam’s housecat, is in a terrible situation. Nancy and her pushy can’t-take-no-for-an-answer must stop. What is Betsy to do? She doesn’t have time to deal with this, but Nancy is persistent.

Apparently, this happens a lot. Two authors strike up a conversation, share tips, exchange cards and poof, next think you know it’s “Betsy sent me.”

For those new to writing, here is how networking really works.

If, in fact, a colleague has suggested their publisher, agent or hairstylist, they will call or send a message FIRST. After they have opened the door, then you may proceed. Any other contact automatically and immediately illuminates every warning bell and whistle imaginable. Sending an email saying, “I met Best-selling Betsy at a local festival and she said I should contact you,” when Betsy has no idea you are using her name is (blunt warning) professional suicide.

I mean serious irreparable damage to your career.


How many other authors have had this happen? I would love to hear your response. Feel free to post, link to FB and tweet. We all must do our part to silence Name-Dropping-Nancy.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author and In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes. Her books are traditionally published and available in bookstores upon request, and online through the usual outlets. Visit her at to learn more.

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