So I got into a discussion with a friend the other day about a bad review on one of my books. He wanted to know why I hadn’t armed myself like Rambo and chased the person down and I guess blow him up with an explosive-tipped arrow (I mean, these arrows can blow up Russian attack helicopters, so I’m pretty sure I can blow up a reviewer pretty easily, assuming I can even draw a bow without folding in on myself like an accordion in a Bugs Bunny cartoon).
I just shrugged and said I didn’t take it personally. I realized a long time ago that no matter how great something or someone is, there’s always got to be one (or as usual, more than one) person who has to go and take a shit all over it. That’s human nature. I mean, I bet if Jesus showed up, there’d be a mob posting troll comments all over his YouTube sermons.
That phrase, by the way, ‘taking a crap all over <insert whatever someone was taking a crap all over>,’ is actually from around 400,000 years ago.
In the ancient days, a caveman looked at another caveman’s drawing about a mammoth being hunted, and smeared excrement in the shape of a penis on it. This was Og’s first bad review, and he was incensed enough to hunt down the offending reviewer, and crush the reviewer’s head with a heavy stone.
Rokk, the first caveman lawyer, successfully defended Og, earning him the world’s first acquittal. He then went on to draw cave paintings of how he successfully defended Og. Of course, there were plenty of other cave persons who thought Rokk was the lowest form of caveman scum, even for caveman lawyers, and they smeared many pounds of excrement all over Rokk’s masterful drawing of his lawyerly prowess.
However insultingly disgusting that was, Rokk’s ego was saved by the many more supporters he had who would smear honey or blood on the cave paintings, while others would draw little cave paintings of praise below Rokk’s masterpiece.
Those little drawings of praise were the first set of known reviews on Amazon.com. The little drawings of trolls or ice cream cones below the little drawings of praise below the cave drawings were also the first comments on the first reviews at Amazon.com.
Yes, I know it was before electricity and computers were invented. Who’s story is this? Mine or yours? That’s what I thought. Now shut the hell up and learn about some book history stuff!
A long time ago, this guy wrote a book. It was a pretty damn good book, but it was getting all messed up because everyone wanted to read it, and it was the only book. Producing a book back in this time was pretty expensive. The author had to write it all out by hand. (I hear young authors crying out in disbelief, but it is true, I swear. I even wrote by hand once, and not just to be “retro cool” either… it sucked but it was either that or lug around a 72 pound typewriter, which only got it stolen from you, and then you got your ass beat by big kids who called you names like “Eternal Virgin” and “Sissy Bitch.”)
And paper wasn’t like today. The author couldn’t just go down to Ye Old Wal-Mart Emporium and stock up on 200 count, college-ruled, spiral-bound notebooks for $.28/ea (Price Drop!). There were no name-brand pens and pencils and fuzzy troll eraser buddies and Scooby-Doo lunch boxes. You spent a small fortune for paper, or maybe papyrus if you are imagining this author living waaaaay back. Ink was messy, you had to dip something called a ‘quill’ into it, then once you wrote about two words, you dabbled sand onto the page to soak up the extra ink and help it dry.
If you are like me, your question is, “How the fuck did anyone ever write a second book?” Continue reading →