Ten Types of Authors Who Can Go Fuck Themselves

So yesterday I was thinking about an upcoming piece I’ll be writing for LitReactor and chuckled at the amount of reactions I’ll surely get. You see, I’ve been doing the columnist thing for almost a decade. It all started back home with a monthly political column. By the time I stopped writing it in early 2016, I’d received four death threats. In any case, I tweeted this: “Everyone who’s gotten angry at one of my columns should hear the stuff I don’t even bother to pitch.” The result was almost immediate; a bunch of authors said they wanted to read it. I’m all about making my friends happy, so here we are. Thank the writing deities that we have crazy, brave venues like CLASH. Let’s get started, shall we? Here are ten types of authors who can go fuck themselves (God I’m good at making friends!):

1. Authors who hate almost everything about writing

There are a bunch of authors out there who are constantly complaining about how hard editing is, how much it sucks not to be famous, how the market is flooded with books, how much rejection blows, and how they failed to meet their self-imposed word count for the day. Listen, if writing brings you nothing but pain, quit. Seriously. Everyone’s an author. We need more educators, honest police officers, taxi drivers, cooks, etc. There are other options. Editing is how you make your work better. Stop bitching about it. Rejection is part of the game. If you can’t take it, don’t play. I received a rejection last week. Did I complain? No, I thanked the editor for his time and sat down to read the story and try to figure out how I can make it better before sending it elsewhere. No one owes me anything, so I hustle and try to get into publications. I win, I celebrate. I lose, I work harder and try again. If writing is hard, painful task, stop doing it.

2. Authors who are professional coattail riders

Two things are bound to happen if you do the writing thing long enough. The first is that some good folks will reach out and help you. There are a lot of good folks in the publishing world, and they take the time to help other out. The second thing is that you will meet big name authors at conventions or readings or online. We all need as much help as we can get, but what we do is mostly up to us. That’s why it makes me angry when I see authors out there befriending successful authors just because they think that being friends with them is a quick path to publication or an agent or a blurb. Stop doing that. Riding someone’s coattails makes you look like an asshole. I know many successful authors and the one thing they have in common is that they are humble people who sit down and put in the work. You should do the same.

3. Authors who forgot how to be humble

The previous one kinda ties in with this one. As many of you know, I’m also a book reviewer, and the easiest way to get me to turn down your book is an email telling me how exciting, great, amazing, genre redefining, outstanding, unique, superb, and special your book is. You spent a lot of time working on your novel. I understand that. Trust me, I do. I want people to read it and enjoy it and say nice things about it. When that happens, you can quote them. What I don’t want is you to tell me how amazing your work is. Really, go fuck yourself. Stay humble, folks.

4. Authors who don’t know how to use social media

There are approximately a trillion articles online telling folks what works and what doesn’t when it comes to using social media as a selling platform. However, I still see folks every day sending out DMs about their book on Facebook and Twitter the second someone accepts their friend request or starts following them. Stop. Doing. That. Shit. It’s unprofessional and annoying. Yeah, too many people do it and this is probably the entry that’s gonna lead to the most hate. I don’t care. Pay attention to what people say about authors who do that and you’ll see I’m right. You can be interesting and engaging and that will lead to more sells and attention than plastering a link to your book in every thread you participate in. Don’t mention your book when folks ask for recommendations. Don’t use DMs to sell someone your book before you’ve ever interacted with them. Social media can be a great tool, but only if you use it right.

5. Authors who put down people for what they read and talk smack about other genres

I don’t read YA. I don’t read comics. I don’t read a lot of fantasy or cozy mysteries. You do? Awesome! If you make some good points, I’ll even check out stuff you recommend. Putting others down because they enjoy stuff you don’t is like considering someone an idiot because they like a different dressing on their salad. Likewise, I love horror, crime, bizarro, poetry, nonfiction, and many other things. I like to spend my time sharing my love for those genres instead of hating on romance and historical novels. The fact that I don’t like something doesn’t make it bad and doesn’t mean that someone who enjoys that thing is less smart. Authors who insult other based on what they love instead of sharing what they love can go fuck themselves.

6. Authors who want to “destroy narrative”

Let me explain this one before you react. I’ve seen too many authors who made their name with traditional narratives say that they now want to destroy narrative. I’ve also seen authors who have never told a story say that their main goal is to destroy narrative. I’m all for destroying shit. We can set out to destroy patriarchy, racism, or transphobia any day you want. However, when you say you want to destroy narrative, I have to stop, sit down, and analyze both your discourse and your work. Every time I’ve done that, the result is the same: usually it is an author who sucks at storytelling, or a known author who made his or her name writing traditional narratives, and is now out of ideas. Sure, I’ll check out your experimental work, but if your pitch is “My novel has no story, characters, plot, or dialogue. It’s basically about commas taking a shit on the page. I put some doodles in there, too,” well, I’m gonna take a pass on that one. Furthermore, this line almost always comes from folks who describe their work as “smart,” “cerebral,” or “post-narrative.” I’ve been fooled before, homie, so fooling me now is hard as fuck. You wanna kill narrative? Maybe we need to sit down and talk about how your storytelling sucks.

7. Authors who spend more time beefing than writing

You know who you are. You write 2000 words a day hating on folks, defending your previous comments, and engaging in nonsense. I look around at most of my successful friends and can’t find a single instance of them wasting time doing that. You’re angry? Write. You want to make a point? Write a piece like this one. I know some editors and will recommend your work if you need me to even if I disagree. You wanna spend all your time fighting online? Go ahead! We probably don’t wanna read the book you’re not writing anyway.

8. Authors who don’t support other authors

If you think every other author out there is your enemy, you can go fuck yourself. We’re all on the same boat regardless of our level of success. Retweet stuff. Share links. Give praise when someone deserves it. Be a good literary citizen and your grain of sand will help us all construct a nice little beach free of hate and stupid nonsense. Trying to hurt others or going out of your way to bring them down or mess up their careers makes you a douchebag. Don’t do it. Don’t engage with those who do it. Karma is a thing.

9. Authors who are so salty they feel the need to reply to this piece

Oh, went a little meta on you on that one, didn’t I? Hah. Seriously, if you’re guilty of one of these and you’re so angry at me that you have to write a blog post telling me I’m wrong and or you feel the need to drop a scathing comment below…go for it! Opinions and assholes, right? Well, these are my opinions and you’re not gonna change them, just like I’ll probably won’t get you to stop sending messages with a link to your book to every new friend you make (they’re gonna unfriend you with the quickness, by the way). In any case, I’m jaded. I don’t care about the opinions of most people, especially if they’re strangers. I care even less about the opinions strangers have about my opinions. I call it noncareception. You hate me and this piece so much that you wanna fight? Really? Fine, come see these hands or go fuck yourself, bud! Kisses.

10. Authors who think what they do is a gift to the world

You’ve met them. They share chunks of their WIP and want all of us to thank them with tears of joy running down our cheeks. They ignore all other authors because no one can surpass their greatness. They talk abut writing all day and you have no idea when they actually sit and write. Oh, and their last published thing came out three years ago. They use words like “craft” and “polishing a gem.” Here’s the main things most authors need to internalize: if you stopped writing tomorrow, the only one you’d really hurt with your decision is yourself. Even if you have thousands of fans. Trust me, they’ll find something else to read. We’re lucky to do what we do. We love to do what we do. We write because that’s the only option. We write even when the stuff we write doesn’t get published. We take time away from friends and pets and partners and family and sit by ourselves and listen to the voices in our heads. It’s a beautiful thing and we need to be grateful that we get to do it. The moment you lose track of that and start thinking that everyone needs to pay attention, that people owe you their time and their focus, and that the world is a better place thanks to the stories you “gift” it, then…well, you can go fuck yourself.





Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of ZERO SAINTS (Broken River Books),HUNGRY DARKNESS (Severed Press), and GUTMOUTH (Eraserhead Press). His reviews have appeared in Electric Literature, The Rumpus, 3AM Magazine, Marginalia, The Collagist. Heavy Feather Review, Crimespree, Out of the Gutter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, HorrorTalk, Verbcide, and many other print and online venues. You can find him on Twitter at@Gabino_Iglesias








About Gabino Iglesias

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Zero Saints and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

57 Responses

    1. This classification piece satisfies like Czeslaw Milosz’s The Captive Mind about types of poets in Soviet era Poland. At times, I feel the emotions that place me in each of the categories in both Milosz and this one. Am I everywriter?

  1. I wrote a piece recently and got excoriated in the comments. This excerpt of yours has really helped me get over it and not care in the future:
    “I care even less about the opinions strangers have about my opinions. I call it noncareception. You hate me and this piece so much that you wanna fight? Really? Fine, come see these hands or go fuck yourself, bud! Kisses.”

  2. persiphonia

    Thank you for this, Gabino. I know an author or two who represent at least 8 out of 10 all by themselves – Charie

  3. I love you Gabino, I don’t think I have ever disagreed with anything you have blogged about. For me it’s the coattail riders that piss me off the most. Especially the ones who jump on posts from the coattail providers and try to turn the tide of conversation on to them.

    I once saw one who tried to do it when a writer was talking about their battle with depression.

  4. A great list. I’d like to add:
    Writers who refers to themselves as authors
    Writers who compare themselves to Hemingway, Faulkner, and/or Fitzgerald
    Writers who imitate David Foster Wallace by using footnotes
    Writers who start any conversation with “when I was writing my first novel”

    There are actually a huge number of writers who should go fuck themselves, I guess! But if they can write something I like, I’ll still read them.

  5. Ha! I agree with everything–except the part about the world needing more taxi drivers. Uber kinda crushed that. Seriously though, great piece. I wonder if the guilty are blind to their ways?

  6. Ruth

    “I don’t care about the opinions of most people, especially if they’re strangers.” – – just realized why I don’t care at all about this listicle.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly with everything expect possibly #6. Experimental writing is often a posture or an avoidance of harder things, but sometimes it can be necessary, or at least it can feel necessary, to conveying a certain experience or feeling or idea. Experimental writing ITSELF is not good or bad. Sometimes writers are DRIVEN to violate conventions by their artistic impulse. Further, even consciously setting out violate or even “destroy” conventions doesn’t mean it the effort is empty. The history of art and literature is littered with self-declared attempts to remake literature, or purge it of dust and debris. Most of those attempts failed, but a few lasted and even became canonic. The history of Modernism itself can be read that way that way.

  8. This post is awesome with a sprinkle of frigging fantastic on top! Pardon the enthusiasm, but these points need to be read and absorbed by everyone who considers themselves a writer – whether or not they are hunting mass-market success.

  9. Made me laugh AND cry! Commas just back from Taco Bell just shitting the literary bed. . .hilarious. And I realized, poignantly, that I am a writer because I’m writing, not because I’m published or famous or have a million Twitter followers. I’m putting in the time and sacrificing my soul, and that’s what it’s about.

    Thank you.

  10. tophatkiller

    why is everybody kissing this guy’s ass? ” My novel has no story, characters, plot, or dialogue. It’s basically about commas taking a shit on the page.” is funny though – I actually kind wanna check that book out.

  11. CJ

    There’s perhaps a little irony in a few of these. Item 5 vs. 6, say. Whatever, a person should enjoy their contradictions. But… item 4 in particular is spot-on. One of the single most maddening author habits online: literally 98% of the DM’s I get on Twitter are these robotic, impersonal “thanks for the follow” messages. I delete every one of them and usually mute the people who send them. I wish I could delete twice as hard the robotic, impersonal DM’s trying to sell me on Commun.IT apps to boot.

  12. Reblogged this on my Boreface Asswipe xx

    Why are you sticking up for the Harry Potter people?

    and also writers who write top ten lists, I hate them, and also sassy dude voice writers in check shirts, and swearing writers, beer drinkers, anything written in the Atlantic magazine writers, and East Coast Americans when they speak too whiny sometimes on Youtube sometimes, they don’t mean no harm, but bloggers, positivity, vegan writers they’re annoying, writers who write about ‘us,’ writers who have studied writing writers, rich & smug writers, clever writers who write easy in a loquacious manner, living writers, earnest writers, abusers of ‘was’ writers.

  13. Mind you, with regards to point one, the industry is more than a bit shit – worth billions around the world with 95% of authors not making anything worth mentioning. That sucks, and we need better ways of getting things done, so I’ll cut any amount of slack to people hating on the industry itself, if nothing else it helps dispel the myth that we’re all raking it in JK Rowling style.

  14. This. Post. Is. BRILLIANT!
    And YES to ALL of it!
    [and can we add the “I don’t do Drama” authors? You know the ones… The ones who say “I never post things like this…” and rant for paragraphs slamming someone (a photog, an editor, a blogger, another author) and when you scroll their page – there are literally DOZENS of posts that start with “I don’t do Drama” (or something similar)…
    I’ve blocked those authors (at least 6 of them).]

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