Loser Like The Hook…

“Anyone with $500 can call himself an author these days.” -Anonymous reviewer.

As you can see, not only is my friend Anonymous not a fan of self-publishing, he’s definitely not a fan of yours truly. Although he sent me this “fan letter” (okay, fan e-mail, to be technical) in response to dozens of e-mail pitches several months ago, his words have been buzzing in the back of my head ever since. Am I really so colossal a loser that my local paper won’t even cover my work?

Maybe. And now that I’ve had time to ponder it, here are a few reasons why I suck..

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. What do I do? Points if you get this reference…

I’m 42 and I’ve never been a “bad boy”. And I’m too old and married to start.

I’m not a woman. Women pretty much rule the blogosphere – and the current literary landscape. Thanks J.K. and E.L.

Embracing the “AWESOME!”, writing fifty shades of anything or plotting the adventures of limey boy wizards is not my forte. I write about my encounters with hotel guest. That’s it. That’s not enough for everyone, it seems. Although, you’d think a reporter working in a city where tourism is the #1 industry would see the value in my work…

I can be a bit clueless at times. A girl once asked me to “feed her twelve inches!” By the time I got back from Subway, she was gone.

All right, now I’m really depressed. That’s all for now folks. But if anyone has anything to add – there may be even more reason why I suck that I haven’t covered because… I suck – just let me know, okay?


In honor of Movember, and my fellow bloggers who have taken up the fight, here are some tips to help us boys prevent prostate cancer.


Benjamin Wallace is a new friend but a true one. Like Vina Kent, – and Jo Bryant before her – he’s come through with helpful tips and contacts where others have  brushed me off, in a friendly way, of course. Check his site out. He’s blazing a new trail for dumb, white husbands everywhere…


A shout-out to my blog buddy, Kristen Lamb and her best-selling tome, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Give it a try, folks. You won’t be disappointed…



The next chapter of my first foray into fiction is up and running at Wattpad. I have a long way to go as a fiction writer, and I could use all the constructive criticism I can get, so help me out, okay?

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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105 Responses to Loser Like The Hook…

  1. legionwriter says:

    Maybe you should change your first name to 2 letters. Maybe that’s the trick. Try – R.L. Hookey. What ya think?

  2. mairedubhtx says:

    Legionwriter has a point. Initials are “ini”. Don’t feel too bad. Women who don’t write about wizard boys or sex cant get published either. I know. ‘m still stuck on revising my book which will not sell either. This I know. Such is life. Cheer up. We love you.

    • The Hook says:

      I love you too!

    • “Women who don’t write about wizard boys or sex cant get published either”. Funny, my publisher asked me to take out the sex (even though it was an integral part of the story) from my novel before she published it. Go figure. She must be the only editor who wants less sex in print, lol.

  3. wherethedaytakesme says:

    Hey don’t fret, your stuff is good. And I think you are far better than Adam Ant.

  4. raisingdaisy says:

    Just remember the old saying, “Opinions are like a**holes, everyone’s got one”. Obviously your reporter fit that saying quite well.

    Lots of top authors got started by self publishing. JK got turned down by 7 houses before she got her first deal, most major authors are turned down by MANY more. It’s always a fight to get there, but it’s worth it in the end. Stay strong, my friend!

  5. trooperstale says:

    A statement like that, attributed to Anonymous, defines him as a dinosaur in today’s rapidly evolving world of publishing. As an “author” I don’t find the “writing” the problem, in fact the opposite is the case. The writing, for me at least, is a catharsis. Admittedly it goes in fits and starts, nothing for a few days and then suddenly five thousand words stream out like I’m preparing for a colonoscopy.
    The problem is getting the book(s) “out there.” Of course the books may stink but I’m not sure that’s the case. I have two on Kindle and Kobo and Uncle Tom Cobbley and try to work with the “social Media.” Don’t give up your day job but luckily I’m retired. I even have a blog that I add to sporadically. (I’m a guy too.) Sooo……back to number three. That’s my little break. Time for another coffee, another few words whilst the idea is in my head then out with the dog.

  6. Subtle innuendos follow
    There must be something inside…

  7. robincoyle says:

    I guess I am clueless too. What does “feed her 12 inches mean?” Is it something naughty?

    By the way, you don’t suck. Far, far from it.

  8. Brother Jon says:

    Does that mean that any one with a pad and pen can call themselves a reporter?

  9. breezyk says:

    Forget that dude, you’re awesome. As evidenced by that amazing Subway joke.

  10. twindaddy says:

    Maybe you didn’t get the right kinda sub?

  11. TBM says:

    Meatball sub?

  12. Blown says:

    You got my curiosity 🙂 I’ll try and spend some time here 😉

  13. Ray's Mom says:

    I hired an attorney named Lawless once upon a time. He was worthless as a lawyer. Your man is worthless as a “reporter” perhaps he was once a worthless lawyer.

    Perhaps it is the name….Legionwriter had a good idea. Two letters, after Hook, E. R. would be catchy.
    BTW: You have a wonderful blog, I look for it first every day. And your book also is interesting and well written.

    Keep the faith. These two bit “reporters” won’t cover Ray’s story either. Too: not newsy enough, too: not local enough, too: no one would read that….wonder what was the title of his last published work? Huh?

  14. I do not think you suck. You are meant to counter argue these points not write supporting arguments by the way. I’d also like to point out that your arguments are more why you write differently than why you suck so cheer up old chap 😀

  15. This guy sounds like at one time he had aspirations of being a book author…nothing crankier and nastier than someone who failed and is determined to drag everyone else down.
    You just haven’t catch the attention of the right key person yet.
    Publishing is really struggling and wants safe bets.
    Hey – need quirky help? Johnny Depp’s starting a publishing imprint….
    Seriously regional publishers /university presses are picking up some of the slack for unknown non-celebrity authors
    Keep pitching – or the game stops – and your writing is hilarious

  16. Sandee says:

    No. You don’t suck because some critic says whatever the heck he said.

  17. Dude, come on!

    Really, the guy’s name is “Anonymous”. I mean, only his name sounds like a character out of a video game or a comic book. I don’t know the guy and I have never been to the Niagara falls (I don’t have to, I grew up in Amsterdam, so I’ve seen plenty of water :P) but I can already tell he’s a douche.

    Don’t let the one guy with the power of a pen hold you down, there are 7 billion people in the world. And 800 of them are following you on WordPress, that’s not for no reason.

    • Deborah the Closet Monster says:

      ^ I’m with this guy.

      I can 4,032% guarantee you’re enjoying greater audience recognition than Anonymous at this point, and probably any other point in the future.

      Those who can, do. Those who can’t, criticize.

      You rock.

  18. Scriptor Obscura says:

    You don’t suck. PERIOD. Don’t let the idiots get you down. YOU ARE GREAT. They’re just jealous of you and what you have. Haters gonna hate. I know how hard it is. I’m sorry you feel so bad, sometimes I feel like that a lot. I know how it feels and I sympathize! 🙂

  19. rebecca2000 says:

    You’re great. The life of a writer is often a lonely pursuit.

  20. sexuallifeofawife says:

    Oh Hook don’t give up because of one or two douchebags out there who don’t quite ‘get it’!
    You need intelligence and a sense of humour to appreciate your work ; )

  21. MishaBurnett says:

    1) You need $500 to be an author? I did it for free.
    2) Goody-two, goody-two, goody goody two shoes… great, now I’ve got Adam Ant stuck in my head.
    3) Wasn’t this guy the one who played the angel in “Barbarella”?

  22. RawrTalk says:

    Sadly there are a lot of people who dislike self publishing writers. But I say this, the fact that some great writers haven’t been published due to publishers not wanting to take a risk and just back up a great book. So what are up and coming writers forces to do? Self publish. And I say it’s the best thing that can be done. Out there is an audience just waiting to read your material so just get up and work or 🙂
    Great blog, read up on posts and im loving it 🙂

  23. Michelle says:

    When people write stuff like that, it’s usually because they’re jealous and are suffering from “penis envy” because his probably looks like a L’il Smokie. Also, and nothing against your home town, only the paper… He is with the Niagara Falls Review. We’re not talking the NY Times here. Your work is excellent and he’s just a big – or little – dick.

  24. renxkyoko says:

    JK Rowling was turned down gazillion times, so hang in there.

  25. Scriptor Obscura says:

    Some encouragement for you:



    (Also, I think you will like this, or at least appreciate the humor in it, maybe: http://www.fukitol.com/images/fukitol.jpg)
    And even more encouragement:
    Ignore the haters. Ignore the bullies. Ignoring them is the best way to make them go away. Don’t let them bother you, don’t let them get to you. If you let them bother you you have given them power and they have won. http://data.whicdn.com/images/40207224/598830_347613301977412_1387623497_n_large.jpg
    Ignore them and do not give them the attention which they so desperately crave. Do not give them any power over you. No one has the right to make you feel bad without your consent. Don’t give a thought to them any longer. Jealous people just want to make you feel bad, don’t let them. I know its hard. Don’t give them one second of your time.
    Ignore them and move on. Act like they don’t exist.
    Don’t pay them any attention and act like they don’t matter to you at all. Giving this guy space on your blog and thinking about him in your own mind will only remind you of how bad you feel and make you feel worse. Focus on the good things, and get over it and move on. Act like he never said anything to you and act like it never happened. Ignore it and move on.

    Also, this song is for you: PHIL COLLINS – I DON’T CARE ANYMORE ( with lyric)

    • The Hook says:

      Wow! You’re one heck of a motivational speaker, my friend! I can never thank you enough for your efforts on my behalf – but I’ll never stop trying.

  26. Jennifer says:

    Anonymous sucks. It must be something in the name, we have one here too, and is a major a-hole too. We all should be losers too then, coz we love you! Stuff him. He’s probably recognized himself in your story somewhere and is pissed off, definitely a case of penis envy/couldn’t make it as a writer himself…

  27. Anonymous is just jealous you have $500 and he’s getting paid $5 per 1,000 words. Hang in there. We love you and someday we’ll all say we knew you back when.

  28. confessionsofyourhusbandsmistress says:

    I LOVE Adam Ant! This was my theme song all through high school. Most people thought of me as a goody two shoe.
    Forget the critics and write for the love. You have many fans. Newspapers aer short on staff and, if they’re anything like ours down here, only pick things up AFTER they’ve had recognition elsewhere. You’ll get there. You are talented and witty.

  29. Anonymous just guaranteed you greater readership, because now everyone wants to know WHY you suck…they’ll just have to come here to figure it out for themselves how wrong he was…Hey, he gave you free press…run with it! You crack me up…and I was so hoping I hadn’t gotten the 12″ reference, but since I did, my mind needs a nice shiny cleaning up!

  30. You and your blog intrigue me. To be honest…especially YOU from the get go of our/your blogging interactions. You have had a weird way of keeping me grounded, and you will be happy to know I have felt that way since your very first comment. We’ve come a long way haven’t we?;) Your comment on my blog today touched my heart. I thanked you over there, but I really want you to know how much I mean that here. You have been in the back (and front of my mind) throughout this entire process. I want you to know, that even though this has all dropped in my lap…I feel the exact same way you do here in this post and what you have expressed in other posts. I feel down, afraid and full of self doubt. Dylan keeps reminding me that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, I have a family that loves me. I hold those words very tightly. You are a step ahead of me…you have your words IN a book!! I’m still asking myself daily…hourly…ok, each minute…”What the hell am I doing??” I think you are very funny and also very heartfelt. However, I would have paid money to see your face being asked for 12 inches.
    Keep going…and again, thank you.

    • The Hook says:

      You’re lucky to have Dylan to keep your heart filled with love and your kids to keep your feet on the ground. And we certainly have come a long way, haven’t we, Jessica?
      Thank you for taking the time to visit and to reach out. As for your work, as your blog evolves so too will your “voice” and before you know it you’ll have enough material for a book and then some. This entire experience should prove quite enjoyable for you as you search your memories for material. Don’t forget to have fun, okay?
      I’d fight every critic in the tri-state area for a shot at what you’ve achieved. I can’t even get Ellen to return a single e-mail and I’ve sent dozens… And that’s a conservative estimate!

  31. dogear6 says:

    So here’s my two cents worth – and that’s all it’s worth – for other reasons why you suck. You’re not writing for the masses, you’re writing for us, your faithful readers. You have a life that does not include mistresses, abusing your children, alcoholism or drugs. Although if you had a mistress, I think your death would have been ruled accidental. No way the Vampire Queen have gotten caught actually murdering you.

    Let’s see – oh yes, you’re writing is actually good! Yet another reason why you suck. You can actual write a coherent story that makes us laugh or shake our heads.

    So if you stop sucking at it so badly, I’m outta here.

    Another faithful fan.

  32. Keep going – your work is good and valid – figure out what success is and you will achieve it!

  33. MissFourEyes says:

    I do not like this guy.
    Don’t let that guy get you down. You have a book, what does he have? A comment section full of haters (one of many I’m sure). And just because you got that girl the wrong sandwich, doesn’t mean what she said doesn’t count as a compliment.
    You are awesome. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  34. I’m pretty sure if you wrote 500 pages more on that Subway joke and compiled two sequels after it, you’d make it to the big leagues with E.L. But that’s not your forte, (and from the looks of it, no one’s forte). Hence we all suck and have to stick to our WordPress blogs and self published books. What a cruel place this world is.

  35. leah says:

    What the fuck…you DON’T suck…and you are not goody two shoes either…now Im pissed! Boo.

  36. Reed says:

    Goody Two Shoes. Much of your description of yourself applies to me as well. But no Movember for me, this month it’s NaNoWriMo and I’ve just realized how many writers there are.

  37. Lily says:

    What does Anonymous know anyway? He works at the Niagara Times Review. Last time I checked, that wasn’t a real newspaper. If he was really someone special, he’d be working at NY Times. What a dummy. Obviously doesn’t know good work when he sees it. And he’s probably jealous.

  38. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    How f*king rude of this git. And how DARE he send that directly to you? Who the f*k does he think he is? That has really got me riled, Hook – you wouldn’t believe how.

    For a start – I’VE looked into it and it’s not $500 it’s over $1,000, and can be MORE. For 2nds YOU FINISHED WHAT YOU STARTED. I have infinite respect for that. Look at me – a whole notion, a whole heart inspired, & half a book – well, not even half because I’m going to cover the horror of Daniel’s first 4 years & trusting someone BECAUSE he is his father, etc, Family Court, Police interview, not being told, Child Support Agency enabling him to fuck us again etc etc. YOU FINISHED WHAT YOU STARTED. Kudos & respect to you.

    I was highly – in fact SO validated by a published author who said in an interview, “A writer is not someone who is published, it is someone who writes. Now, whether you are a good writer…” etc – I was so validated (convinced I am a talentless nothingness) that I decided to ACTUALLY send stuff away here & there. I’ve had a few published, a few not (Oz, UK, & one in the US of A & the editor M. Shein… I won’t reveal I s’pose… said she sent me payment but I received copies of the book, no payment, funny enough…). IT DOESN’T ANY FURTHER MAKE ME A WRITER, or author.

    Oh yes, the first google definition of ‘author’ : “A writer of a book, article, or report.” YOU, Hook,have been an AUTHOR/writer – and successfully in the eyes of all us who enjoy your work (I have enjoyed it since I began my draft Aug’11) for ALL the time you’ve been out here in space.

    You are real, you really write, you really are appreciated as as an author of articles & reports of your work experiences (people: INFINITELY hilarious/disturbing) : all that, in the blogosphere. John Law can stick his Law up his lawless.

    PLEASE, I BEG YOU: PRINT THIS COMMENT OUT, SEND IT TO YOUR NIAGARA FALLS & HIGHLIGHT THESE WORDS : Hi, I’m from Australia & have been reading author ‘The Hook’ for over a year. Can Anonymous, the one who penned a review clearly contemptuous of the new age of authorship (ie there is more than one way to be published these days), please respond to my comments above about ‘what is an author’? Also, can he please advise me where he got the $500 quote for bound copy from, as my lowest quote is over $1,000…. or was that falsity thrown in for effect?

    I truly look forward to a response, Niagara Falls. Noeleen in Melbourne, Australia.

    Hook, don’t let definition take the wind out of your sails of happy accomplishment. Sure, definition bolsters my argument against the so obviously biased toward old-time man-editor behind big desk approving male works (or female, if you use a male pseudonym) – but definition can always be argued and won.

    Next: who is ‘E.L.’? I know JKL. And I get what you’re saying about being a drunk author etc… but not entirely what you get about women ruling the success waves in penMANship [ 😉 ].

    I feel your pain, & care… Now do me a favour & print & send this. I’ll owe you a stamp, if you want me to highlight you to my local newspaper, eh?

    Mr Anonymous, I can be found at http://www.WordsFallFromMyEyes.wordpress.com & at http://www.VodkaWasMyMuse.wordpress.com. The latter is a VIDEO diary (exception, the month of November) of me getting off alcohol. If you see the FIRST video – May 2012 – you’ll see me at my most drunk (just saying, you know pointing you in the direction of my ‘credentials’… 😉 !


  39. Prophets were never accepted in their hometown you know— Not that you are a prophet, but maybe it holds true for writers also. Everyone has their opinion. He just happens to have a loud one. Bestseller or not you have accomplished something many people don’t by publishing a book of any kind, self published or not.

  40. Well I love your stuff! And I only like Great stuff, like Nutella. 🙂

    True story.

  41. valleygirl96 says:

    First of all, props for pulling out the fabulousness of Adam Ant. One of my favorite songs from high school, and the one that inspired me to not be a goody-two-shoes. But I digress. Here is my question…What are the credentials of this so-called “critic” anyway? What has this hack published, self or otherwise? Writing for the hometown news does not count. Even I have done that. I agree with the earlier comment that says if Mr. Anonymous actually knew anything he would be a real writer for the Times. I love your blog and your writing. I look forward to your new posts and I would be completely disappointed if you quit. Ignore that pompous ass.

  42. I think when reviewers make foolish comments like that, they are following the world of writing 15 steps behind. Self publishing and e-books are here to stay. They no longer have the stigma of the “vanity presses” of the past. In fact, one of the best researched and written novels that I have read in the last couple of years was self published, and how many of us have read published novels that were absolute crap? I don’t know who this guy is nor have I read anything he has written but I strongly suspect he is clutching on to the 20th century for all he is worth.

    Your writing is witty and enjoyable. Ignore the dinosaur and keep writing!

  43. sparksmcgee says:

    That is AWESOME. If I were editing I’d scratch out the verbatim book report, because it stopped the flow a bit, but the rest is intense and well-delivered! Reminds me of how great the fantasy-ish books were when I was growing up. Simultaneously raw and polished…

  44. >“Anyone with $500 can call himself an author these days.” – Anonymous.
    – Did he really write that? I mean, HOW could he write that? I really mean, was that rather nasty line really NECESSARY? What happened to the good old ‘Your experience does not match our requirements. Good luck with your search.’ Or even that other much dreaded one ‘Don’t call us; we’ll call you.’

    I’m willing to bet that Anonymous himself would have felt better had he written one of those non-soul-damaging clichés.

    For the record, I’m glad you also approached the ‘The Niagara Falls Review’. Just as I hadn’t heard of your local newspaper, I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard of the ‘The Mississauga News’. But I used to read it through and through, and I thought it was a good little newspaper. Heck, I thought my bulletin board at school which got updated each month was a pretty cool rag, too! Yeah, that might have something to do with me being on the editorial committee in middle school and the editor in high school.

    Bottom line: No avenue is too little or too insignificant when one is starting out.

    Bonus: You know that door is closed and you’ve gained the important experience of having it slammed in your face. AND you got a whole lotta love out here! 🙂

    >I don’t drink. I don’t smoke.
    – Whaaat? How do you survive? Actually, I know the answer because I’m equally, um, boring myself. 🙂

    >That’s not enough for everyone, it seems.
    – You’re right. You will never be everyone’s favorite. Not just you, everyone. No one person can be everyone’s cuppa. There are a lot of non-tea drinkers out there.

    I wasn’t particularly fond of your writing style when I first began reading. But at the first post itself and with every one that startled me with the pictures or some of your angry (sounding to my ears) words, I picked up that your moral compass pointed in the same direction as mine. You and I just have very different styles of expressing ourselves.

    As I’ve said time and again via comments on your blog and mine, I’ve RSSed* your blog because your posts remind me what NOT to do or how NOT to be.

    *Oh, I’ve finally figured a way to be more aware of your posts as they get published on this blog of yours. The RSS button on your other one did an excellent job. With this one, I added you to the Favourites Tab, but that is outta sight (for me) and I rarely go there. When I realised that that option gets me late to the party, I bumped you up to my Favourites Bar. Yes! I can see your blog icon every day. Now I only have to programme myself to check it regularly to make sure I get to read your posts hot off the press! *wah wah wah wah*

    >All right, now I’m really depressed.
    – Oh no. Hope you are feeling better now.

    I think it takes a lot of courage to say something like this aloud. Good on you for not trying to hide what you felt at the moment.

    Will add my two cents to some of the comments.

    legionwriter said:
    >Maybe you should change your first name to 2 letters. Maybe that’s the trick.
    – Actually, there’s been a bit of talk about the opposite. Women authors using their initials to hide their gender because women writers are not taken seriously.

    This is a link to one of the articles I read on this issue.

    Click to access JFPennonForbes.pdf

    Talk this over with a few more in the know because gender notwithstanding, Hook, initials might be new black in the literary world today.

    raisingdaisy said:
    >JK got turned down by 7 houses before she got her first deal, most major authors are turned down by MANY more.
    – Aye. I read this about authors, inventors, artists, just about everyone in every field who has made a name today.

    This was your response to RawrTalk:
    >No problem! We all mke mistakes… See?
    – Awww. That was mighty sweet of you, Hook!

    >Do a few Hail Marys and you’ll be fine…
    – Ha ha! “A few Hail Marys” is a widely used formula. Yup. Toh-tally guilty!

    I don’t mean to dissuade you from doing all that you are doing to get published and be read by a wider audience. But could the stress of doing all this be affecting your writing style? Not talking about your book that’s published already, of course.

    It’s important to want something badly and be dogged in ones pursuit, but I’ve heard of many personally known instances and read about strangers who eased off the pedal and then rode into the sunset. Well, I mean, they achieved either what they were after or something else altogether that was just as, if not more brilliant.

    You are blessed to have a steady job and a loving family. Don’t let the stress of making it big as a writer let you lose sight of one little important thing – writing because you LIKE writing.

    I do wish you and your family a picturesque sunset, Hook. (Big Guy Up There, a rainbow will do, too. Throw them a psychedelic band if you’ve got one to spare.)


  45. Self-publishing is fantastic and it is absolutely the way of the future! Don’t listen to that reporter. He’s a jerkwad.

    Even the great Alan Moore thinks The Hook is awesome for self publishing! Seriously, watch this video and let me know if you find it encouraging. I sure did.

    — Oh God, My Wife Is German.

  46. I didn’t get the Adam Ant reference, because when it comes to “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll” I never got past the first one 😉

    And yes, that means I DID get the “12 inches” reference. (I got the reference, but I wouldn’t WANT 12 inches of what is referenced.)

    But I write to put my vote in for “can’t be everyone’s cuppa” — I got my first bad review recently, and it stung. I don’t like to disappoint others or have my flaws highlighted in print . . . but then it helps to remember that ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ right?

    YOU, Hook, are a treasure !
    ME, I’m just Naughty !

  47. “Movember” cool. Now its December..or ???? I published two books and no income. I wonder what the secret is. Oh well. I won’t give up.

  48. This is my 1st time visiting your blog, and I truly enjoyed it! It seems you, me and Adam Ant have something in common 😉

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