Loud Noises! Pots Clanging! Frothy Spittle! I Like Yelling At Writers!

This shall be the culmination of this month’s Penmonkey Boot Camp, wherein I take a more, erm, “aggro” tone with you fine young upstarts. This post in particular is juicy with NSFW-isms, and may in fact be NSFL, or “Not Safe For Life.” Those with frail constitutions, weakened aortic walls, or little wormy egos in pink Barbie dresses should probably just skip this and go somewhere to glumly masturbate. If you find yourself offended during this post, I apologize. Please see me after class, I will hand you a Xanax.

I’d like to thank you for coming today.

It doesn’t really matter why you’re here. Could be that you find my dubious writing advice somehow useful (“He just told me that writers write! Genius!”). Could be that, instead, you find me a hateful little gnome and want to know if I’m secretly planting conspiratorial codes about you into my work (“This whole blog post is a ROT13 cipher about my weird nipples!”). Maybe you just like watching me body slam the plexiglass walls of my enclosure and leave poopy handprints everywhere (“I think that one looks like a turkey”).

The point I’d like to make today is that, holy shit, I really enjoy yelling at you guys. It just gives me a total boner. And I don’t mean a real boner. I mean a — oh, hell with it, yes, I mean a real boner. A good firm — grr! — baby’s arm kind of erection, you know? With a little fist on the end you can use to punch out goblins.


I enjoy yelling at you in part because it’s also me yelling at me, and that is also one of my favorite pastimes. I figure I’ve got a lot to learn yet about This Thing That I Do With The Pen And The Ink And The Storytelling and I learn best through hateful booze-soaked tirades against myself and others.

Oh, did I mention I’ll be drinking during this post?

I’ll totally be drinking during this post.

At the moment, the drink of choice is Basil Hayden’s Bourbon.

If I were singing a song I’d say, “sing along,” but instead I’ll pause and also ask you to pause and say — hey, go get a drink. Drink along with me. Won’t you join me? Do it. Yes. Nice.

Good? Got a cup of the ol’ sauce in hand? Right on.

Think of this like a Gallagher show. Get a tarp or a rain-slicker or steal a fucking sneeze-guard from the salad bar at Wendy’s (preferably one speckled with minimal phlegm-flecks). Beware my froth.

Now — hold still while I yell at you, goddamnit.

Stop Cheating On Your Manuscript With New Ideas!

What a word-slut you are. There, on the desk, is that sad lonely manuscript. And what are you doing? You’re out behind the shed, cornholing some new idea, bending over some pretty young thing with big “characters” and pointy “plot points.” You adulterous whore-badger. Listen, I get it. The one thing that really feels like it can derail a novel is the wandering eye of other awesome ideas. But you better learn how to deal with that. That is, in part, what writers are. We’re idea antennae, constantly receiving insane frequencies from beyond the margins of our brain. If you can’t manage that noise, you’re fucked. Stop acting like a hyper-sensitive spider-monkey with fetal alcohol syndrome. Calm down. Manage your new ideas. Your ideas won’t amount to a hill of beans if you can’t take one and drive it like a herd of cattle toward execution. Shelve new awesome ideas. Marry the manuscript, and divorce it only when it’s yielded to your marital creative power. New ideas, take them out of your brain, write down some notes, stick them in a jar and pop them on a shelf. Now write the thing you were supposed to write.

Stop Slagging On Editors Or Agents, Cock-Waffle

Editors? Rule. Agents? Rock. Fuck the narrative that says they’re part of big publishing and they don’t care and blah-de-blah-de-blippity-bloopy-bloo. (Too much with the hyphens? Too bad! Ha ha! Bourbon!) You may have some gnawing scarab stuffed up your ass about gatekeepers, but seriously, grow up. I’m happy if you take the indie path, but editors and agents are not your enemies. They’re good at what they do. Moreover, given the state of the industry it’s not like they’re doing this so they can finally afford their own personal robotic colonic technicians. They do it because they care. Because they love it. They’re in this for the same reason you are: because they really like books. Yes, yes, fine, the world is home to some shitty agents and editors. They’re the exception, not the rule. End of story.

Of Course You Suck, We All Do, Get Over It Already

I don’t care that you think you suck or you’re having trouble writing or gosh this manuscript is haaaard. Shush up, Nancy. I know you suck. I suck, too, a lot of the time. But I don’t want to talk about it, and I damn sure don’t want to hear about it. Be a fountain. Not a drain. Or some other twee cliche bull-snot. Be positive. Be awesome. Own your role as storyteller. Stop sniveling. Do the task at hand. Your purported suck-fest doesn’t make for compelling reading. And you know what? Writing’s not even that hard. You know what’s hard? Kidney stones. You know what else is hard? Being born in oppressive country where the people have no food and no freedom. You know what’s really hard? My bulletproof abs. Okay, shut up about my abs. I know they have the firmness of a bean-bag pounded to a pulp by a ceaseless parade of dry-humping college students. You keep quiet. My point is, writers get the glorious chance to constantly rewrite. You have the ability to forever up your game. You’re telling stories. It’s pure. Perfect. Weird. Wonderful. Stop complaining about it or I will choke you with a sock full of your own teeth.

Shut Up, It’s Okay That We Talk About Writing

Writers are going to talk about writing. Get over it. Nobody said you had to read it. Nobody said you had to pay any attention at all. But I’m tired of the narrative that writers shouldn’t talk about writing. Listen, writing? Publishing? It’s some crazy shit. And we’re all crazy for doing it. If some of us don’t think about it or talk about it? Our skulls will rupture and monkey-demons (or demon-monkeys, I gotta be honest, I was never clear on this point) will escape. You don’t want that to happen, do you? Hell, you ever hear the phrase “talk shop?” This is that. What’s next? “Hey, teachers, stop talking about teaching. In fact, just stop teaching, teacher. It’s like that band says, leave those kids alone.” Every job I’ve been at, you know what they talk about? The job! Because it’s fucking relevant! Fnuh! Bbbt! See what you made me do? Now I’m just typing sounds. I’m not even making the sounds. I’m typing them. That’s the first sign of clinical insanity. I’m going to be over here still talking about writing sometimes. Don’t like it? Here’s my butt pucker. You can give it a little smoochy kiss and then hit the door. HA HA HA THAT’S NOT A DOOR IT’S A GREAT WHITE SHARK YOU JUST GOT SERVED

And Sweet Motherless Goat, Writers Are Cranky

YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING oh — damn, caps lock still on. Ahem. You can’t say anything anymore to other writers without someone getting their nipples into knots. You talk about traditional publishing, self-publishing, price, character, content, review, platform, and somebody out there is going to hike on the ol’ cranky-pants and cinch the drawstring good and tight. Mention something, anything about writing or the industry and somewhere a writer is quaking with inchoate rage or sudden venomous snark. What happened to having a reasonable response? It’s no longer, “Hello, I do not agree with you and here’s why,” but rather becomes “HOLY SHIT WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT MY MOTHER? No, no, I see what’s happening here, you said that thing about how science-fiction should be considered as important as literary fiction but what I heard was, your mother fucks hoboes on CSPAN.” Hell, haven’t you read the news? You say the wrong thing, something called a “YA Mafia” will hunt you down, shit in your mouth, then write nasty teen novellas about you. Holy crap, writers get so mad about stuff! Why are we so mad? What is wrong with us? Is there something wrong with our adrenal glands? Does writing cause mood cancer? Everybody, just chill. Yesterday in baby class they taught us soothing noises, and apparently that means I get in your ear and go SHUHHHHSHHHHHH SHHHHHHHH PSHHHHHHH FSSHHHHSHSHHHHHH. So. Imagine I’m doing that. Feel better? Of course you do. I am… the Penmonkey Whisperererer.


This bourbon — Bourbon? Capitalized? — is delicious. I was always a Scotch guy, you know? But, mmm. Bourbon is nipping at Scotch’s tartan heels, it is. You know what else is awesome? Bluecoat Gin. Best gin I’ve ever had. And it’s not only American, but it’s Pennsylvanian, and we do shit right in Pennsylvania. Hello? Soft pretzels? Cheesesteaks? Yuengling? The Amish? Hatred? We’re good at so much. Yesterday, the makers of Bluecoat, Philadelphia Distilling, sent me a box full of goodies. Big bottle of gin? Little bottle of gin? Little bottles of vodka and absinthe? And a hat? Yes to all of the above. Thanks to them for sending a writer alcohol. Smart move. Customer loyalty, earned.

Commerce Is Not A Dirty Word

Writing for me is a business. It doesn’t have to be for you. I don’t care. You can write My Little Pony fanfic for all of eternity — and, if my vision of Hell is accurate, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing. I need to make money with my writing. If I don’t, I cannot feed myself, my wife, and my upcoming spawn, then I will have to stop writing. So, it’s something I need to think about. And talk about. It’s not a dirty word. Try to make me or any other writer feel like a shit-heel for having to earn out and I will collapse your trachea with a broom-handle. In fact, let’s get shut of a whole bushel basket of dirty words — social media, self-pub, pantser, plotter, theme, fuckface, literary, young adult… wait, wuzzat? “Fuckface” is a dirty word? Are you sure? Says you. Pfft. Pssh! Whatever. Point is, just because you don’t dig on something or don’t consider it important doesn’t mean that other people don’t. You’re allowed to not dig on it. Just don’t be a fuckface about it. Now go back to stroking your My Little Ponies. IN HELL. (See? Cranky! Bourbon!)

That Greek Semen Lady Isn’t An Emblem Of Anything

(Sorry, what? It’s Greek Seaman? Is there a difference? Oh. Oh! There is? Really? I always thought my little man-seeds were actually tiny ocean divers. With the big bell-helmets? I had biology all wrong. What were we talking about again? Oh! Oh, right. Crazy author lady.) The other day, some cranky froth-badger got on the Internet (first mistake) and responded to a somewhat negative review of her self-published novel (second mistake), and then kept on responding (third, fourth, fifth, etc. mistake). The post — found here, if you care — went viral pretty fast among writers, publishers, and editors. The narrative that resulted initially was, “This is how not to act like a professional writer,” but then morphed into something about self-published authors. No! No. The Greek Semen lady isn’t an emblem of anything but total farking space-bats who get on the Internet and act like, well, total farking space-bats. “But this is why I don’t trust self-published writers!” No, this is why you don’t trust lunatics. Plenty of self-published writers act like very nice, generally sane folk. And plenty of “traditionally-published” authors have gotten on the Internet (first mistake) and ranted at reviewers or said stupid shit or made asses out of themselves. This lady isn’t a standard-bearer for anything but unprofessional whackaloons. She doesn’t deserve your heaps of scorn, nor does she deserve this much attention. Stop rubbernecking and move on.

Thinking About Publishing Is Like Having A Brain Parasite

We think too much about publishing. And it’ll drive you nuts. (Actually, that might explain why so many of us writers are cranky.) Seriously. You gaze into the abyss, and that abyss not only gazes back, it’ll flick a lit cigarette in your eye. “Oh my god, advances are down. I have to write a query letter. What are the royalties on e-books again? Borders is closing? Barnes and Noble stock is down? I could self-publish! I could make some cover art with dried pasts and Elmer’s glue. What are the trends? Young adult paranormal dystopian giraffe porn? Vampiric zombie dieselpunk middle-grade romance? Will Oprah like my book? Why is my mouth filled with blood? OH MY GOD I BIT MY TONGUE OFF.” Guess what? All this publishing crap doesn’t matter. I mean, okay, it matters, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay a little attention. But a lot of the time, it’s like watching the news. You can’t personally do a lot about what you see on the news. Same with publishing. Books aren’t going extinct. So write one. If it’s good, it’ll have a place to land. But not if your head explodes from thinking too hard about publishing trends, first. Which leads me to…

For God’s Sake, Shut The Hell Up And Write Already

Your task is to write.

Write! Write write write write write. Write every day. Write until your heart flops out onto the desk like a bloody catfish and thrashes around, squirting your creative blood all over the wallpaper.

The only way through is to write.

Learn how to write better. Then write some more.

And keep on writing until you explode and die.

And there you go. A super-soaker full of my unfocused rage, sprayed in your face like projectile vomit. If you feel so inclined and are equally full up of such wanton and incalculable vigor, stomp on down into the comments and leave your own deposit of weasel scat rambling pejoratives about writers and writing.

Again, should you find yourself offended, I’d casually remind you that I am including myself as a target of my own sputtering spit-up because I’ve done most of this shit once upon a time.

If you remain offended, then you can now have your Xanax.

This way to the great egress.

*drops mic, walks off stage, falls into the orchestra pit, dies*


  • Good to be word-lashed and advised by someone who actually knows what the hell he is talking about. Every piece of advice you have posted here since I started reading your blog is greatly appreciated. Really no one else I can personally go to ask it of.

    Though now that I think of it…. has anyone ever noticed how opinionated people can get when you happen to either publicly or privately mention that you write?

    Maybe it’s because i’m still young (25), but….

    Sibling’s friends, neighbors, fucking dental hygienists….

    My Dad has thrown enough “pearls of wisdom” at me over the years to have stoned me to death. Like A, how I shouldn’t call myself a writer unless/until I get published, which I really don’t but he feels the need to throw this in my face anyway. And B, how books will one day go the way of the Dodo bird (as you addressed in this post already) so it doesn’t really matter anyway does it? What hope do I have? Stops me in the middle of writing whenever he happens to see me doing it and tells me i’m wasting my time. Then in the same breath tries to assure me that doesn’t mean it COULDN’T possibly happen one day, if the sun and the moon are in the right metaphorical alignment or something like that.

    *makes aneurysm face, pulls hair out*

    I don’t know about anyone else but that’s the kinda crap that makes this penmonkey really freaking cranky. I can handle all the crap a story throws at me but the negative-human factor…. yeah….

    • @Amanda:

      I’ve come to realize that writing is like having a baby. Soon as you do it, everyone has an opinion. And, for the most part, nobody’s right, but everybody has an opinion.

      Now, that sounds strange coming from me, a guy who posts, erm, his frequent opinions about writing. But I like to think I’m clear about these being opinions, and ones often aimed at myself as much as others.

      But writing, fuck. You do it because you want to do it. Haters gonna hate. Hell with ‘em. Writing is not a path of warm and fuzzy rewards, generally. I think most of my family thought I was nuts for trying it. But I’ve been widely published and now make a good living at it, and dang, I’m just getting warmed up over here. (Though, to be clear, it took me 12+ years just to get “warmed up.” So, uhh. I’m a slow burn.)

      — c.

  • ahem
    *rolls out from beneath that enticing new idea with the big coj…aracter*
    Okay, okay, calm down, I’m listening already!
    Except for the bourbon – sorry, Bourbon – part. Me + Bourbon = more cheating on ms. And not with that shiny new idea either, but with that gag reflex that forces me to kiss what only butts should touch… which would, of course, get my mind off publishing. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong…

    Thank you for this hilarious dressing-down. Points duly noted. Will commence writing immediately.

  • It may just be the masochist in me but thanks Wendig. This will be one of the several posts of yours that I revisit as a kick in the ass when I lag behind on being a storyteller.
    I have no vitriol in this case only “Thank you Sir may I have another”

    And for the record: Feh to your drink. Give me vodka to get blasted on. As an alternative deliver delicious wine to sip delicately or (as is my way some nights) chug straight from the bottle. In particular I recommend Barefoot Wineries Sweet Red and Pacific Rim Sweet or Dry Rieslings. No, seriously these wines are delicious.

  • That wasn’t real absinthe, was it? Not green fairies, so potent you start questioning reality, absinthe? Not in the State where it is distributed under the mistaken identity of books or other non-potent substences, right?

    You post these way way too early, Wendig. What time does your day start?

    • @RonEarl:

      Oh, it’s the real deal absinthe — but absinthe can no longer have thujone in it, so it’s not, erm, at full potency. Vieux Carre absinthe.

      As for writing these, I write them in advance and set to post at midnight. I wrote the majority of this one over the weekend, but then added the “Greek Semen” bit yesterday afternoon.

      So, for that one, I wasn’t quite as, erm, pickled. :D

      — c.

  • Please, sir. May I have another lash from your turgid, baby’s arm lash? (Ok, may e a litte dirty for 7am, but you did tell me to drink.)

    Writers! Develop a little god damned patience! I see a lot of you panic every day when you release your work into the hands of other people – be they critique partners, agents or editors. “Oh god! I sent it out 5 SECONDS ago and they haven’t responded! They hate it! I’m a failure! Wheres my cyanide capsule?” Breathe, babies. Breathe. The world won’t end if someone doesn’t like your precious. And, for the love of Heinlein, give your agent/editor/CP some time and space. You are not the only client/partner. Chill and have one of Chuck’s Xanax.

  • Wow. Just what I needed this morning. Thank you sir, you have pulled me up by the scruff of the neck and given me a good brisk slap across the face.

  • Also this is super personal and I sound like a spoilt brat but I do not care care care I do not care no I do not.

    Herewith my venomous froth: everyone in this industry is so untrustworthy and so certain that I am out there to hawk something to them, which technically I am? But not really.

    In actuality, I just want some writer/agent/editor/whatever buds I can screech over Twitter to. Or who will read my blog and be all like “thumbs up, girlie”.

    I think I have one writer friend maybe sort of apart from my critique group and MY GOD it’s lonely.


    Freakshow aside, I totally bought the Greek Semen Lady Zazzle mug:

    • @Alice:

      Penmonkeys and zookeepers as suspicious? How so?

      Also, my feelings on the Greek Semen Lady — she was a crazy person on the Internet and that’s really the end of it. That review now has 300+ comments. After the first, say, 20 calling her out, it becomes a needless pile-on. The folks (many posting anonymously) at her sounded better composed, but just as cranky.

      Plus, hasn’t anyone ever heard the phrase, “Don’t feed the troll?”


      That mug is awesome though. If only for its out-of-context weirdness.

      — c.

  • Again, Chuck, you nail it to the wall with a big-ass nail gun. Or something.

    @Amanda: Yeah, everyone seems to have an opinion on writing, or seems to want to be a writer. You just have to grit your teeth and put up with it, really.

  • Chuck Wendig, you’re a wonderful human being. I’m going get another beer and then do some writing.

    And swearing. Shit, I almost forgot the swearing. That was close. Thanks

    • @Dave:

      What’s funny is, if people assume that I wrote this post this morning, they’re going to think I’m sauced on Bourbon at 6:00 in the morning instead of on Sunday afternoon when I wrote the thing. :D

      I mean, shit.

      — c.

  • Oh man, it is so late and I’m so not editing well before I post. I didn’t mean “untrustworthy” I meant “not trusting”.

    I’m kind of just looking for buds, and perhaps if I’m lucky some people will like my book on the way. It just seems like a sad fact that people think I’m trying to sell my wares even when I categorically say I honestly, seriously, I promise just want to be internet pals.

    It’s kind of inevitable when everyone on the planet is writing a book, I guess. I’m just going to have to listen to Kate H. and be patient. Eventually someone will be like “You don’t seem like a waste of space. Let’s curse each other out and talk about wine over Twitter.”

  • I’m kinda glad I’m not a writer…like with a manuscript or something! I’d have crawled into my hidey hole, sucking my thumb and whimpering after that lashing, BUT I’d have pondered over the wise words and got cracking on it – the manuscript that is! ;)

    I *did* have a drink though – hot chocolate. My alcohol days are sort of over, my liver promised to run away if I indulged too much!

  • That’s not cool, man. Times are hard, and exposure isn’t what it used to be. All my mom can get on is C-SPAN, sandwiched between Senate Thunderdome and the meetings of the Second District Committee on the Mortification of the North American Hyena Jamboree Hour. I mean, credit where credit is due, at least it isn’t NPR.

    So, when are you going to write this manuscript for me? Seriously slacking, Chuckles.

  • Some people hold your lifeline when you stand on the edge, looking down and going “Blimey, that’s deep.” And some crazy fucks actually give you a shove between the shoulders and laugh at the way your curses echo off of the canyon walls.

    Thanks, Chuck, for being a pusher.

    • @Josh, we all have to be good at something. If I can be good at being a loud-mouthed bloviating blow-hard, well, by golly, I will wear that hat and those pants. And that’s a metaphor, because I don’t have any pants on.

      @Rick, soon NPR’s funding will be cut, so I guess your Mom is lucky she got the gig at C-SPAN. Which I just mistyped as C-SPAM. Which is a whole different channel.

      @Alice, ahh, not trusting. Well, community building and friendship — online or off — can take time. Can’t force it. And really, don’t even worry about it so much. Keep those things separate. Right now it’s just about writing the book.

      — c.

  • C:
    Yeah, I know it is. That’s why I keep visiting here: every post you write contains the sentiment “Just fucking write you little shits.” And then I feel guilty so I do. Motivational!

  • You’re quite right on many levels, but you already know that. One of the hardest things for me, as a writer, has been to corral my ideas. Whenever I’m working on a project, I get ideas for OTHER things, and like a Tempting Harlot of Words, the New Idea seems really awesome. Possibly more awesome than what I’m already working on. So, I stop what I’m doing. I look. I think about those other ideas. And then I have to remind myself to jot them down, because I need to focus. It’s like writer ADD. Good to know that it’s not just me.

    Writers write. Period. Sometimes, what comes out is complete crap. But you need through the crap in order to get to the good stuff. And if that sentence is taken literally, ew.

    Great post, as usual.

  • My daughter used to write My Little Pony fanfic when she was in kindergarten. The stuff was hilarious, though she did have trouble sticking with the plot at times.

    I’ll tell you the one sold deal-breaker I have with writers: If they argue their own bad reviews, I’m done reading them, or, if I haven’t read them before, I’ll never give them a shot.

    • @Kent:

      Word to that.

      A writer shouldn’t even respond to negative reviews. Though, I’ve seen a few authors respond to negative reviews with friendliness and courtesy, and that can actually have the benefit of opening up to new audience. Which is pretty cool, but one imagines tricky.

      And to be clear, I don’t think that Greek Semen Lady did a good thing or deserves reward. It’s just — I don’t think there’s any lesson there that isn’t bludgeoningly obvious. “DO NOT ACT LIKE CRAZY WRITER LADY.” Big blinky neon lights and what-not.

      In terms of fan-fic, man, I used to write up some wicked Pac-Man versus Aliens fan-fic. Like, HR Giger’s Alien. No, I don’t know why I thought this was a reasonable pairing or why at a young age I’d even seen the Aliens movies.

      They were awful, of course, these stories. But still better than any ALIENS VS PREDATOR movie.


      — c.

  • If anyone asks me why I’m drinking a beer at 9AM, I’m just gonna throw the bottle at ‘em and say “Chuck Wendig says hi.” Thanks for the ass-kicking.

    • Dang, I was really ready for someone to get fighty with me. And then I’d be like, “You’re totally right,” and then would say something like, “Not in the face, not in the face.”

      But man, all this love. You’re doing nothing good for me, or the world. My ego swells like a water-logged corpse.

      I should drink and blog more often, then.

      — c.

  • I saw Alien in the theater when I was far too young to be seeing Alien in the theater. I don’t think the word “appropriate” existed in my grandpa’s vocabulary.

    • @Kent, that’s the awesome thing about grandparents. They’re like, “You’re not too young to start chewing tobacco, 4-year-old. It’ll put hair on your face, Jennifer.” I sadly never got to meet either of my grandfathers.

      — c.

  • @Chuck, the monkey-beating bit…that IS a euphemism, right? ;-)

    @Kent, my grandmother routinely sat us all down for epic horror movie screenings. This might explain why I was deathly afraid there were vampires in my closet, as a kid.

  • My grandparents weren’t good like that but my DAD was the BOMB. He gave me the foam off his Guinnesses. But no, I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted MORE.

    So I went to a New Year’s Eve party with him and he told me I could have ONE mimosa, just ONE and it was reaaalllyy watered down with oj but then he didn’t really…supervise so I kept putting my empty glass down.

    Then I would go up to partiers and say something like, “I’ve never tried champagne before and my Papa said I could have one mimosa,” and they were all “Aww,” so they gave me one mimosa.

    Repeat until this picture was taken:

    The cab driver looked at my dad like he was going to call child services.

  • Rum is my writing booze of choice but I might have to give bourbon a try.

    Thank you for bringing up the publishing stuff. I have a permanent red spot on my forehead from thrashing at my desk over things I have no control over.

  • I want to have your babies. That is all.

    Well, almost all. I thank @BruceDKelly for introducing me. I’ll give him a big, sloppy kiss and a drink the next time I see him.

    Back to writing now. It’s after noon somewhere in the world, right? *splashes bourbon in coffee*

  • Many book bloggers have long insisted that they won’t review self-published books because of self-published authors’ likelihood to take offense at negative reviews.

    After receiving a negative review from a blogger, one self-published author told the the blogger that she wouldn’t know a good book “if it jumped up and bit her on the ass.” Another self-published author, whose request for a review was denied by a book blogger, fired off a response to the blogger that simply read, “F****T READ MY BOOK.” I have not heard such stories about “traditionally” published authors, in part because book publicists and other intermediaries are usually involved.

    If you were shot at every time you drove through one part of town, how likely would you be to continue driving through that neighborhood?

    • Oh @Evil One —

      No doubt. I think in the past (and even still), with self-publishers you’re going to find a reduced sense of professionalism because there’s no barrier to entry. That’s an advantage for some and a disadvantage on the whole that, any lunatic with a book can get published, right? It’s sensible then that you’re going to see a higher ratio of unprofessional moonbats in the self-publishing realm than you will in the ranks of those who have for better or worse passed through the kept gates.

      That said, lots of great self-pub books and authors out there. And that’s growing.

      I think in terms of reviews not getting shot through that neighborhood (erm, so to speak) means maybe not reviewing those books that don’t appear professional from the get-go. Review self-pubbed books, but only if they appear edited, with some actual effort and investment put behind them. The Greek Semen Lady’s book never looked like a book anybody should be reviewing. The cover and the sample alone make it clear that it’s… well, that it is what it is.

      Also: bourbon.

      (Sadly, I’m right now only drinking green tea. But it is minty fresh.)

      — c.

  • Please, sir, may I have another? I need to make huge posters of this post and and put them up on the walls near my writing area…well, maybe not…might traumatize the offspring.

  • * I have not heard such stories about “traditionally” published authors, in part because book publicists and other intermediaries are usually involved.*

    Actually, there are quite a few stories of well-known authors going off on bad reviewers: Anne Rice and Patricia Cornwell come immediately to mind., Cornwell’s meltdown was particularly loopy: she blamed bad Amazon reviews on a conspiracy by the Bush Administration and/or the Billy Graham family. I kid you not.

  • Thanks for the smile and spittle. My idea of Hell used to involve a red guy with pointy tail. Now it involves a world without your pickled liver and humor in it. Thanks for a great blog! Also, I’m not offended, but can I have the Xanax anyway?

  • I think I need a cigarette after this. Or some chocolate. Or chocolate cigarettes. Holy shit.

    So, adding my own shit to the storm…

    Will people stop fucking telling me that I should self-publish “like that Hocking girl”!??! Seriously, I have an agent. I worked hard to get her. My debut novel is on submission. If I wanted to go the route of self-publishing, I fucking would have 2 goddamn years ago and wouldn’t have spent so much time doing research and editing and blogging and networking and all that other shit I’ve done to enrich myself as an author. If I just wanted my friends and family to “buy” copies of my book I could’ve done that. Hell no. Don’t they get it? I’m not trying to just make money or see my words in print, I’m trying to take over the goddamn world! I want my own fucking panel at San Diego Comic Con. Fuck that, I want my own font like Christopher Moore. I want people cursing my name because they have to wait a year for the next book. I want those rat bastard guidance counselors who told me I’d amount to nothing to walk int Bord—er Barnes and Noble to see a huge fucking display of MY books and go, “Oh, that Jamie Wyman?” Yes, motherfucker, THAT jamie Wyman. So, well-intentioned friends and family, stop sending me the same fucking link over and over and telling me that I don’t need the agent. That I can just click “upload” and watch the money roll in. It takes work to get where I want to be and back off. I’m fucking working here.


    I feel better.

  • “And it’s not only American, but it’s Pennsylvanian, and we do shit right in Pennsylvania. Hello? Soft pretzels? Cheesesteaks? Yuengling? The Amish? Hatred? We’re good at so much”

    WoooHoooo! Normally I am not a “woohoo” girl but say the right combination and see what happens.

    Philly born and raised! (is anyone else hearing the Fresh Prince of Bell Air theme song?)It’s nice to hear PA getting some positive acknowledgement and after many cold Mummers Parade’s you learn to hide your drink in your thermos of coffee.

    Beware my thermos!!!

    I thought my cranky had to do with being Philadelphian. Hum. Does this mean I have an excuse to be doubly cranky?

  • You know what really burns my biscuits (can’t tell I am deep in the throes of writing a weird western, can you?)?

    Writers who solicit critique, advice, what have you, and then do nothing but ARGUE with the person dispensing the “wisdom”. I am not saying you have to agree with everything the beta reader said about your book, but if you didn’t want to know what they thought, why ask?

    Not that beta readers are perfect and you should do everything they suggest, but doing nothing but arguing with people after asking them for help does both of you a disservice. Grow a thicker skin. Take the advice with a grain of salt, or an entire salt mine if you want, but move on. Refer to this post: we all suck. I suck. You suck. Chuck, especially, sucks (J/K of course). I think “sucking” is the default state for a writer, doubly so for a writer in the middle of writing a first draft. I should know. I am writing a first draft, and it sucks hard core. It’s awful. Any minute now it’s going to gain sentience and take over the world, and THEN where will we be? (still sucking)

    But relish this wonderful bit of revenge towards the other artists. We live in “do-over” land. A singer gets on stage and misses her lines will be laughed at, while we get to suck all day long until we think we might suck a little bit less. No one but our own crushed dreams laughing at us here in Writer Land.

    So man up (even the ladies). Critiques exist to make you suck less. You get to ride on the coat tails of other people’s brilliance. It’s great. They make you a better writer by reviewing your swill, and you get to take all the credit (except for a measly acknowledge page). Don’t ask for a critique thinking “Man, I hope they tell me how brilliant I am! I am really insecure and need a boost to my self esteem”. Well, actually that’s impossible, because that’s what we always think when we give something out for review (refer back to Chuck’s post: Beware Writer II). I laughed out loud when he described his reaction to his wife reading his book. Because it’s true. I stand over my husband with a meat cleaver. He knows the drill.

    But suppress the need for your attention fix long enough to hear what the other person has to say. If you really want nothing but happy-happy-sunshine reviews for your book, give it to your mother to read. /rant

    Excellent vitriol Chuck. I needed that smack in the face this morning. More bracing than a splash of cold water.

  • I only have one thing to say.

    Why haven’t you published any original novels and become super famous already? Stupid publishing idiots have no idea what genius they’ve ignored!

    Your writing style/voice/whatever the hell it is, is pure gold! I want to eat it in hopes I can steal its power….ahem.

    Anyways, I love this post!

  • Mr. Wendig,

    This is truly epic…really.

    I got the yelling at writers thing down pat but I do wish I did it with half as much humor as you put into it. Well said and well done.

  • Thanks for this expletive strewn “come to Jesus’ moment. Your advice about back door-ing with new ideas is pure truth. My workaround is to write a synopsis of the idea, then get back to the main work.

    Applause. Applause.

  • Yeah– my comment on dumb shit author vs dumb shit review was: move on, it’s over, nothing to see here folks.
    She was dumb to start it, but the venom of the comments was bad. Especially the anonymous ones. Reminds me of the Army. When you went indoors you were supposed to remove your headgear. If you walked into the Officer’s Club bar with your headgear on, you had to buy everyone a round. Except when I was in Special Forces. We’d walk in with our headgear, aka Green Beret, on, some dipshit would loudly say we had to buy a round. And we’d say: make us. That was the end of that. Got to stand up for something.
    Every writer has to find their own path. The key is the writing. I see the flood of self-publishing like I watched all the other crap over the years and know most won’t be standing, headgear on, in a few years. I already see blogs: “how much should a new writer be making? I’m not making any on kindle yet!”
    I lived in a one room, unheated apartment over a garage for three years at the start of my writing career, such as it has been. When the US government would call me up as a reservist and ask me if I’d like to go covertly gunsling in some shithole somewhere in the world, I’d say sure to make ends meet.
    I like your blog because it allows me to vent unlike the officer and gentleman I was officially decreed by Congress to be. Got a big thing on the wall that says I am.
    It’s all about the writing folks.



    Thank you, sir. I feel so much better now. Really. Good as new.

    It’s been one of those days.

    Will now STFU and resume writing.

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