Pop Quiz for Writers

How to Behave in Public: A Pop Quiz for Writers 

Note: This quiz is not at all inspired by recent events online, nor does it in any way reflect issues where I’ve had to remind myself how to behave.  Nope, not in the slightest.

Note the second: There are no right answers here.  Though there are a few wrong ones…

1.  Someone has just posted a negative review of your book on Amazon.  Do you…

a. Ignore it
b. Send your friends over to mark it “Not Helpful”
c. Post your own review explaining why anyone who didn’t like your book is an idiot.

2.  Someone posts a positive review of your book on LiveJournal.  Do you…

a. Ignore it
b. Leave a brief “thank you” note on the user’s blog
c. Quote the review in your own blog, as with all positive reviews of your work
d. Invade Canada

3. Someone on the blogosphere attacks you the author (as opposed to just posting a negative review of your book).  Do you…

a. Ignore it
b. Argue with the attacker
c. Unleash your minions to crush your enemies and see them driven before you
d. Invade Canada

4. Your latest book is not getting the buzz it deserves.  Do you…

a. Ignore it
b. Search out every book-related forum and leave random posts talking about how great your book is
c. Publicly blast your editor and your publisher for their foolishness
d. Surrender to Canada

5. A flamewar has erupted on teh Internets!  Do you…

a. Ignore it
b. Jump in with both feet and spend the next several weeks praising the wise and skewering the stupid
c. Post about how worthless the conversation is, and how stupid the people participating are
d. Move to Canada

Like I said, I don’t think there are right answers to these.  It’s the sort of thing we each need to figure out for ourselves.  Sometimes I think a flamewar is important enough to jump in and participate, even knowing how much time and energy it will take up.  But I also find that, for me, “Ignore it” is often the healthiest response for me.

So, what were your answers?  And what questions should I add to the quiz?  (I’d love to get this up to at least 10 questions.)

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There are 14 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Tara Maya

    I’d go with the minion-crushing, definitely.

  2. 2. Kameron

    I’d answer “a.” for all of them, though “c.” on the second question is tempting, and I’ve posted links to early reviews before. How about this for another question:

    6. You discover some fan fiction using your characters/world published on the internets. Do you…

    a. Ignore it
    b. Post a rant against fanfic on your blog
    c. Send a Cease & Desist to the website
    d. Write your own fanfic under a Canadian pseudonym

  3. 3. Greg B

    Jim, I think we need to talk about your unhealthy obsession with Canada.

  4. 4. Radish

    There’s only one way I could answer:

    Keep on writing. Get the thing done, and let them howl.

  5. 5. Adam Heine

    Kameron’s addition is a great idea, but I think there needs to be an option to (e) Create and maintain a website devoted to fan-created fiction of your world (then sell an anthology of it).

  6. 6. Adam Heine

    Here’s one:

    7. Your book has been banned by (Iran/China/Canada/The Southern Baptist Convention). Do you…

    a. Ignore it
    b. Hold a press conference lambasting the evils of censorship
    c. Write an even more controversial sequel in which the villains are thinly-disguised representations of (Iranians/Chinese/Canadians/Southern Baptists)
    d. Vote for presidential candidates with intentions of invading (Iran/China/Canada/The South)

  7. 7. Jim C. Hines

    @Greg – What obsession? What are you talking about? The Mounties put you up to this, didn’t they… I’m on to you, buddy!

    @Kameron – The fanfic question is a great idea, thanks!

    @Adam – What about:

    e. Send them a thank you note for all of the extra publicity and buzz they’ve provided for your book.

  8. 8. Joseph Lewis

    Let’s see:

    8. Your blog is inundated with comments from angry fans because the latest installment in your popular series is late. These “fans” discuss your unhealthy weight/age/cholesterol level/interest in football. Do you…

    (a) Ignore it.
    (b) Unleash your loyal fans to defeat the angry fans in the Grand Coliseum of Fandom.
    (c) Lock yourself in a tower and spend every waking second finishing the book as soon as inhumanly possible.
    (d) Learn to enjoy Canadian football.

  9. 9. Liane Merciel

    I’d like to see one about cover art, and how to discreetly suggest good ideas, dissuade bad ideas, and avoid dying of apoplexy if you get a cover depicting your modest 60-something nun heroine as an 18-year-old babe in a hot pink chainmail bikini, but alas! I do not know enough about the subject to even begin wording the options.

    Oh, and maybe one about how to handle hordes of rabid fans who ask when you’re going to write a sequel that reveals Jig and Smudge’s long-hidden love affair, wherein they move to Canada and take up a new life as purveyors of delicious maple-glazed “goblin ear” pastries baked on Smudge’s back. Assuming that you don’t actually want to write that book (who knows, maybe you do…), how do you let them down easily? Smile and nod? Tell them to write a fanfic about it (shudder)? Grit your teeth and do it ’cause it’ll sell millions?

  10. 10. sylvia_rachel


    I think it should be pointed out, here, that Jim has in fact already invaded Canada at least once. His invasion force was small and their incursion brief, but the said incursion did not go unnoticed.

  11. 11. llwheeler

    Indeed it didn’t go unnoticed, sylvia_rachel. I still have the constant reminder of that fateful invasion, in the form of a green lizard on my keychain, a goblin tattoo in my pen drawer, and half a dozen more books added to my pile (sadly, some still in the TBR pile). We remember.


  12. 12. Bruce Cordell

    Publicly ignore, privately agonize.

  13. 13. Steve Buchheit

    3. c – you forgot the “listen to the lamentations of their SO (significant others).”

    And #5 sounds awfully familiar. I wonder where I’ve seen all of those answers given by the same person. Wait, wait, don’t tell me…

  14. 14. CE Murphy

    Ignore all, except I’ll often say “thanks” to an LJ-review if somebody points me at it.

    Moving to Canada is on the short list of possibilities, though. :)

Author Information

Jim C. Hines

Jim C. Hines' latest book is THE SNOW QUEEN'S SHADOW, the fourth of his fantasy adventures that retell the old fairy tales with a Charlie's Angels twist. He's also the author of the humorous GOBLIN QUEST trilogy. Jim's short fiction has appeared in more than 40 magazines and anthologies, including Realms of Fantasy, Turn the Other Chick, and Sword & Sorceress XXI. Jim lives in Michigan with his wife and two children. He's currently hard at work on LIBRIOMANCER, the first book in a new fantasy series. Visit site.



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