Finally! A Tutorial for Book Busters and Writer Biters!

[Just have to pass this on]

Attn.:  Book Trolls, Author Flamers

Running out of helpless, vulnerable life forms to torment?

Can’t get a rise outta any old author anywhere anymore?

Check it out, you vermin and varlets–

14 Ways to Tick Off a Writer (from Ploughshares)

Posted  11 Nov 13 by Rebecca Makkai

“I love throwing rocks at tigers in the zoo,” you say, “but now that the weather’s cold, I need an indoor activity.” Look no further. Writers are fun and easy to annoy. Minimum effort, maximum rage. Try these 14 simple tricks, and you might never need to pay for the Large Cat House again.

1) Go on Amazon and give the book one star because “the plastic wrapping was slightly ripped when it arrived from the seller.”

2) Ask what the new book’s about. After the writer answers, say, “Oh, that sounds exactly like that T. C. Boyle book that came out last year. Have you read that? You have to read it! Yours sounds exactly like it!”

3) When interviewing an author on the radio, make sure to give the wrong title for her book. Just wrong enough to show you care. Is her book called Please Call Home? You might call it Please Come Home or The Homecoming or Home is Calling. Sit back and watch while the author figures out how to correct you on air. Good times!

4) Email saying you want to be a writer too, and you notice the writer lives in the same city, and you wonder if he could spare two hours sometime soon to have coffee and fill you in on how this whole writing thing works. Do not give any indication that you have ever read the writer’s work or care about it in any way. Do not address the author by name. Just cut and paste.

5) “So you’re a writer. What do you write about?”

“I write literary fiction.”

“Yeah, but, like, mysteries, or…?”

“Um, sort of realistic stuff. Novels and short stories.”




“No, just…”

(whispering) “Like Fifty Shades kind of stuff?”

“Sure. Yes. Why the hell not.” ….

[Laugh your way through the rest at: 14 Ways to Tick Off a Writer (from Ploughshares)  And while you’re there, why not buy a subscription?]

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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4 Responses to Finally! A Tutorial for Book Busters and Writer Biters!

  1. Thanks for the déjà vu. Ugh! 😢


    • You are always so concise, Kev, with yr bon mots 😉 Over time, the skin thickens, but the nausea and revulsion remain a problem. Ugh! (fm the universal secret language of the word-wracked) is the both the primal and final grunt, expostulation, The Last Gasp, of serious writers. . . . funny funny funny oh, yeah, shd add that puke and yuk are close behind 😉


      • It always hits us in the digestive tract, doesn’t it?

        I remember going to a book club that had read my book, and one of the ladies said, “I don’t like books where the main character is a bad man.” I said, “He’s not a bad man, he’s a flawed man. There’s a difference.”

        She said, “Well, I still didn’t like him.”

        Cue the nausea.


        • I’m in stitches. I don’t waste my breath with explanations anymore. If they don’t get it the first time, it’s not their cup of tea or favored bathroom “reading.” That sort is not my intended audience. Why don’t they do the “Look Inside!” and read the damn samples before punching ONE CLICK? (Amazon malingerers are worst knee-jerk mudslingers if the “read” doesn’t harmonize with a bushel off popcorn and five gallons of ice cream — Yuk yuk yuk can be laughter too, ya know


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