Five Ways to Troll a Writer

An author with a new book sent us the five worst things people have said to her since her book came out several weeks ago:

“I don’t read books.”

(Writer: Even if you don’t, and you’re not embarrassed to say so, don’t tell me that something I’ve spent months or years writing is useless as far as you’re concerned. Equally bad is, ‘I’m always surprised that people still write books.’)

“Will you bring me one next time I see you?”

(Writer: We prefer selling books to giving them away, and if you don’t like me enough to buy my book you’re not much of a friend.)

“Bad reviews are better than no reviews!”

(Writer: No they’re not. Bad reviews hurt and a friend will not mention them. Nor will anyone raised properly.)

“How many copies have you sold?”

(Writer: The real answer is I don’t know because publishers seldom tell the truth about sales. But aside from that, don’t talk to writers about money. All authors are sensitive about money because we make none, and the question suggests that the merits of a book depend on the answer and the answer will amaze no one.)

“I read a great book on that subject.”

(Writer: Ooof. It’s probably not the same subject and, even it if is, why say that mine is derivative or redundant, and imply that the other book is better?)

The writer counts herself lucky for not yet having received the infamous lay expert’s advice: “You should write romance novels. I hear that’s where the real money is.”


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