1. Being innovative doesn’t justify writing a Civil War epic entirely in texting slang and emoticons: “ts u hor! i dnt gv dam :< !”
2. There’s this thing called punctuation. You might want to look into it.
3. They’re afraid your author’s photo is going to alienate readers. That’s right, dude: You’re too ugly for literature.
4. Where are the vampires?
5. No, seriously, where are the vampires?
6. The world isn’t quite ready for an illustrated children’s book called SOME MOMMIES ARE INTERNET PORNSTARS: “Mommy and Daddy’s door is always locked and your online access is completely blocked! You asked them why and they say, ‘Don’t worry, honey, we’ve just found a fun new way to earn some money!’”
7. It probably wasn’t a good idea to base the main character on yourself, considering how much most people seem to hate you.
8. The market for IRON CHEF slash fiction isn’t quite as broad as you may have assumed: “’Oh, Morimoto,’ Chef Batali sighed, ‘stuff me like a pepper!’”
9. Submitting a manuscript handwritten in your own blood does indicate your passion for the material, but not quite in the way you might have hoped.
10. They liked it better when it was called JANE EYRE and didn’t suck.
11. Iambic pentameter? Really?
12. Funnily enough, a detailed diary of five years’ worth of bowel movements has already been done. Curse you, Kevin Smith!
13. If you’re going to try and sell it on OPRAH as a memoir, you probably want to cut the chapter where you go back in time, kill Hitler and make Stalin admit that he’s your bitch.
14. William Burroughs was a broken-down beatnik junkie genius; you’re a wannabe-hipster asshole imitating a broken-down beatnik junkie genius.
15. It’s not technically a novel until you’ve written it down first.
16. Yes, enclosing a bag of flour along with your manuscript and causing an anthrax scare will get people’s attention, but it’s the wrong kind of attention.
17. You’re not just being paranoid; there really is a vast corporate conspiracy to ensure that your revolutionary ideas never leave your parents’ basement.
18. They can’t quite understand why you felt compelled to write such nasty things about Kenny Loggins in what is otherwise a fairly standard legal thriller. Kenny knows, but to everyone else, it comes across as somewhat mean and arbitrary.
19. Most good books aren’t created with the sole hope that they might someday be adapted into a Martin Lawrence movie.
20. You’re actually the 139th person to submit a conspiracy thriller involving the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, entitled THE MICHAELANGELO CIPHER.
21. And the 78th to submit a chick-lit manuscript about an attractive woman’s sweet tooth and affection for footwear, called CHOCOLATE AND SHOES.
22. You know the part where the protagonist stuffs those puppies into the wood chipper? It’s not quite as funny as you seem to think.
23. Truthfully, THE EVANGELICAL GUIDE TO GAY SEX is actually a great idea. The problem is that its target audience won’t want to buy it in a bookstore, and they’ll be highly reluctant to use their own credit cards to buy it online.
24. The alternative-history genre has lost its appeal. Everyone knows it doesn’t matter what else would have happened if the South won the Civil War and the Nazis won WWII: George W. Bush would still have been elected president.
25. A young-adult novel set in the behind-the-scenes world of network reality television featuring over two dozen characters, graphic underage sex and dead prostitutes? Are you fucking kidding me? No, seriously, are you fucking kidding me?
26. Remember the shit Salman Rushdie had to deal with after he wrote THE SATANIC VERSES? Chances are your XXX hip-hop reworking of the Koran — MO’ MONEY, MO’ PUSSY — is probably going to inspire the same reaction.
27. You know the talented creative writing professor who told you your work showed so much creativity and promise? Turns out what he really meant was that he wanted you to blow him.
28. Because they threw away their annual budget on the new Lindsay Lohan autobiography, BOOKS ARE RETARDED.
29. Everyone who attempts to load a copy of the manuscript onto their Kindle is found dead three hours later.
30. Four years ago, you wrote a post on your blog about how MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE sucks ass. Stephen King found it during a Google search and exerted his influence to ensure you never get paid a cent for your writing ever again.
31. There’s a fine line between writing authentic regional dialogue and making all of your characters sound like stroke victims.
32. Just be thankful they refused to publish it, since the common accepted response to a novel that ends with the protagonist realizing all the terrible things that happened were in a dream (or was it?) is some stern re-editing of your face with a pair of brass knuckles.
33. Writing a book about vegetarian zombies kinda indicates you don’t exactly know why people like zombies in the first place.
34. Calling your book OPRAH WINFREY IS A BIG FAT CUNT pretty much guarantees she isn’t going to select it for her book club.
35. Sure, you’re an amazing poet, but you aren’t a hot blonde pop singer with big tits, so who really gives a fuck?
36. God may have told you to write this book, but he didn’t tell you how to give it a decent ending.
37. You may want to revise the query letter you’re sending to agents so it’s more about the book and less about how much you love kittens.
38. For the first 20 pages, everyone who reads it is certain it’s the funniest book they’ve ever read. Unfortunately by the 21st, they finally realize you’re actually being serious.
39. Do you honestly not see the crucial flaw in writing a book intended for commercial sale that argues against copyright law and in favor of free unrestricted distribution of all forms of media?
40. It’s never a good sign when a manuscript’s first sentence is “’Are luck’s run out,’ said the Princess, ‘there unicorns are to fast!’”
41. When writing erotica, you want to avoid graphic descriptions of acne, cellulite and back fat.
42. Life-affirming poetry written by a 10-year-old with a fatal disease is inspirational; that same poetry written by a 47-year-old housewife with a trick knee and occasional indigestion is really, really lame.
43. Writing a 97,236-word thesis arguing the inherent superiority of Wolverine over Batman is intrinsically flawed since no intelligent person could ever take it seriously. I mean, c’mon, Batman would kick that midget Canuck’s ass every single time!
44. If you’re going to make your main character a forensic coroner, you’re obligated to know more about human anatomy than what you learned playing Operation as a kid.
45. A general rule to follow when writing for kids: If you could go to jail for saying it to them in person, you’re better off not putting it into print.
46. Historically, books written solely to settle a bar bet seldom make it to print, especially if they were written during a seven-and-a-half-hour period in the same bar where the bet was made.
47. The entire point of your book has already been more satisfactorily made in a single strip of Family Circus.
48. Because the printed medium is a dying art, and it would be a tragic waste to allow its last pathetic gasp be polluted by your bullshit.
49. Does anybody really need the complete lyrics to “One Million Bottles of Beer on the Wall”?
50. Again, I ask one last time, where are the freaking vampires? —Allan Mott