1) Go on Amazon and give the book one star because “the plastic wrapping was slightly ripped when it arrived from the seller.”
2) Ask what the new book’s about. After the writer answers, say, “Oh, that sounds exactly like that T. C. Boyle book that came out last year. Have you read that? You have to read it! Yours sounds exactly like it!”
3) When interviewing an author on the radio, make sure to give the wrong title for her book. Just wrong enough to show you care. Is her book called Please Call Home? You might call it Please Come Home or The Homecoming or Home is Calling. Sit back and watch while the author figures out how to correct you on air. Good times!
4) Email saying you want to be a writer too, and you notice the writer lives in the same city, and you wonder if he could spare two hours sometime soon to have coffee and fill you in on how this whole writing thing works. Do not give any indication that you have ever read the writer’s work or care about it in any way. Do not address the author by name. Just cut and paste.
5) “So you’re a writer. What do you write about?” “I write literary fiction.” “Yeah, but, like, mysteries, or…?” “Um, sort of realistic stuff. Novels and short stories.” “Thrillers?” “No.” “Romances?” “No, just…” (whispering) “Like Fifty Shades kind of stuff?” “Sure. Yes. Why the hell not.”
6) Approach her at a book festival with no introduction, wearing a backpack large enough to be full of explosives. Explain that you’re trying to find an agent, and no one here has been any help at all. Ask if you might give her your manuscript so she can pass it on to her agent. Then just stand there staring. Be sure your pupils are dilated.
7) Read ten pages of the author’s book. Realize that it’s absolutely not for you: you thought it was a zombie story, and it’s actually historical fiction about Alexander Graham Bell. Go on Goodreads anyway, and give it one star for not being a zombie story.