How to become a famous author


I had not realized it was so easy. But Dylan Saccoccio, author of The Boy and the Peddler of Death (The Tale of Onora #1), has discovered the formula and is well on his way to notoriety.

First step: write a book. It doesn’t matter how good it is.

Second step: find a negative review.

Third step: meltdown online.

See? Anyone can do it.

Here’s the demonstration. Someone named Cait read Saccoccio’s book, and did not like it. Then she dared to state her negative review on GoodReads.

This was just…so unnecessarily wordy and pretentious. I just did not enjoy it at all. … So how did I loathe this so entirely from page one? I don’t know.

The fun begins. Sacoccio responds to the review.

This review is not good for my business, so unless your desire is to ruin my dreams, it would mean a great deal if you could remove this review from my work and forget about it. But if it’s your desire to hurt me financially and ruin my business, then it’s understandable why you would post such a harmful review.

Yes. The only reason one might dislike a book is personal animus against the author, and a desire to snuff out his dreams and crush him economically. His reaction is to assume Cait hates him.

It escalates rapidly. Not only does Cait hate him, she is an evil person.

Do you have empathy? Do you know what it’s like to make something for a living? Are you human? Or do you just look at other people like they’re automatons that you can slander as though your actions don’t manifest consequences? Trust this. Me confronting someone that defaces my work says nothing about me other than the fact that I address it when someone goes out of his/her way to do so. But you left a 1 Star review on someone’s life’s work, someone who is trying to warn people what’s going on in this world so that they can protect themselves and help others, and think that is a moral action. 400,000 children go missing each year in the US alone. Do you know where they’re going? Do you know who’s behind it? Do you know why the media is silent about it? Do you know how much a person risks to confront the evil that’s running amok in this world? YOU don’t know right from wrong. And that’s what a review like this says about the person that wrote it.

To leave a one-star review of Sacoccio’s writing is to demonstrate that you are not human, and is just like someone who abducts a child. Who abducts 400,000 children.

It’s not just Cait. Everyone who agrees with her is waging war on the consciousness of humanity.

I’m not embarrassed at all. And all of you who are taking Cait S’s side, what you’re doing in the bigger picture is waging war on the consciousness of humanity. The end. If this interaction prevents you from reading my work, it’s okay. I’m not offended. I don’t want your money, nor do I want you having a bad experience by reading my books. What bothers me is when people that operated at a low level of consciousness defame the work of people that are trying to help humanity, and no one helps humanity better than artists.

Time to break out the random capitalization.

NO. I don’t want you to do anything because you’re immoral. Leave this up so that every person henceforth can see ALL OF YOU for what YOU ARE. DESTRUCTIVE to consciousness and humanity. What you’ve done to me, you do to YOURSELF, because if you KNEW anything about anything, you’d know we were all connected to each other, and instead of destroying each other’s work, you’d be supporting each other, which is why I will NEVER behave like ANY of you immoral people, and I won’t go seeing what you’ve written or done in the world so I can destroy that. No, I will only defend my work against EVIL.

And today, all of you see why EVIL IS KICKING HUMANITY’S ASS, and why the human condition is SLAVERY.

THAT’S what The Tale of Onora is about, and if you can’t grasp that, then BE GONE!

But now Saccoccio brings out the big guns. The reviewer called it wordy and pretentious, and loathed it from the first page…so he posts the first page of the book to prove that she is totally wrong.

“To you, that you may awaken to understand that the whole universe is a dance of energy, and that energy is God, and that energy is you. You are something that the whole universe is doing, that God is doing, just as a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing. The real you, the energy, the soul, is not a puppet that life pushes around. The real you is the whole universe. The real you is God, destined to follow no one, destined to ignite the ether and experience life from an individual perspective and take part in the creation. So this is for you, my fellow creators, my fellow gods, and my fellow selves, that coincidence may never disguise itself with the mask of fate and torment you, that every moment be meaningful, and that no experience be lost.”

I gave up at the first sentence.

But his strategy was successful. Look, Dylan Saccoccio is now a FAMOUS AUTHOR.

Of course, no one is going to be interested in reading his books, but he’s famous.


  1. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    I’ve been reading through the comments over there and many of them are critical of the authors response. Unfortunately, some people are playing Internet Health Professional, diagnosing him, and suggesting he get psychiatric help.

  2. Julian Patel says

    Cait is obviously interrogating the text from the wrong perspective.

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I tried reading some of the reviews there on that GoodReads site. I know I should say, the following, there, not here, but here goes anyway. A ‘one star’ review is not an attack, only if the stars could be negative values would they constitute an attack. A ‘one star’ is not entirely “dislike”, just “did not like very much”. Then again, if the ranking is predefined as 3 stars = “neither like nor dislike”, 4 = “like”, 5 = “loved it”, 2 as “disliked”, 1 as “piece of cr#p”, only then would his claim of “attack” hold any credence; but I’m biased by Amazon’s star rating system. Where [checking Amazon… oops. still]: 1= “I hated it”, 2 = “I disliked it” … The point being the ratings are alsways worded as personal opinion. “[emphasis added to those star defs]. Not attacking the book itself, just describing the reader’s reaction to the book. For the author to take such a review as personally attacking the author (instead of the book) is a ~little~ over-reaction.

  4. says


    I gave up at the first sentence.

    Mee to. I seem to have a built in filter against crazy talk, I know all the words, I just can’t make sense of the sentences. They all seems to spell out “crazy like a bag of cats”.

  5. David Marjanović says

    Wow. Jim Theis wrote better and funnier than that.

    I’ve been reading through the comments over there and many of them are critical of the authors response. Unfortunately, some people are playing Internet Health Professional, diagnosing him, and suggesting he get psychiatric help.

    Let me pile on: Messiah complex. Evidence: his description of himself as someone who is trying to warn people what’s going on in this world so that they can protect themselves and help others.

    If so, of course, he’s not going to get psychiatric help. He’s instead going to expect that everybody else will come to him for help. That’s a nice test of my hypothesis right there.

  6. Sastra says

    AHA! I was right!

    As soon as I started reading the author’s defense and noticing the whiny, sensitive tone, its passive aggressive method of accusation, and its instant conflation of attacking a person and attacking an idea, I thought “I bet the writer is Spiritual.” It all sounded so hauntingly familiar … the vocabulary, the narcissism, the outraged defensiveness.

    And lo and behold — I was right. It’s a book on God on Spirituality.

    “To you, that you may awaken to understand that the whole universe is a dance of energy, and that energy is God, and that energy is you.

    I’ve read this sort of thing a hundred times — nay, a thousand. It doesn’t get any wiser upon repetition. Deep in your heart, you all know that: trust yourselves. If people say you’re wrong the problem isn’t you — it’s them.

  7. says

    Dammit! If only I had known this sooner!

    But it still might not have worked for me. I got a negative review from my novel from a reader who whined that it wasn’t what she wanted it to be about: “The whole book was about the family fighting over the Grandmother’s will..” What a surprise! The book blurb said, ” But when [the matriarch] dies long-simmering resentments and feuds burst into the open–and into the courtroom.” Who could have guessed it would be about a family fight?

    But maybe I could throw a hissy fit anyway.

  8. Nentuaby says

    Heh. Really, given it’s a fantasy story- in which framework spiritualist weirdness can be taken as simply an element of the secondary world- I’d have no problem reading that. I doubt the whole damn thing is in the same high tone, after all, and he has enough way with words to get away with an intro.

    That’s the real stupidity of these one star meltdowns… They inevitably invite people’s opinions to converge on thatof the attacked reviewer.

  9. carlie says

    There was another situation with GoodReads awhile back – a woman posted a bad review, and the author tracked her down and confronted her in person or something?

    Yes, here it is. It is frightening that people think their works should exist free of any criticism. In a way, this is a consequence of being able to self-publish anything; it allows people to get wide recognition who haven’t gone through any type of apprenticeship/training/schooling wherein they learn that a) other people will tear their art apart and b) how to cope with that.

  10. Nick says

    Even worse, the author plagiarized more than a few lines in that quote from a lecture by Alan Watts.

  11. chigau (違う) says

    I actually went over there and read some of the discussion.
    If Dylan Saccoccio wants to publish anything else, a name change will be necessary.

  12. Al Dente says

    As Sastra @8 notes, the author appears spiritual. One thing I’ve discovered in discussions with spiritual people is many of them dislike conflict. If you disagree with them, you’re “being negative” and “harshing their mellow” and other expressions of dismay that you disharmonize with their feelings and viewpoints. Saccoccio is following this tradition.

  13. chigau (違う) says

    Al Dente #18
    Does “Suck it up, buttercup.” work for people who are Spiritual™?

  14. says

    Well, it’s not as bad as what the half-baked Victorian novelist Grantley Berkeley did when Fraser’s Magazine panned his Berkeley Castle. Berkeley beat up James Fraser, the publisher, then challenged author of the review to a duel (but both missed).

    He had some interesting anecdotes about his dogs that I used for a few blog posts, and I wondered who he was.

    Thin-skinned is who he was.

  15. chigau (違う) says

    swestfall #20
    That is a very touching story.
    It makes me think We™ should re-introduce Duelling as a way to resolve conflict.
    and make a Reality TV Show

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    Bad writer, pompous egotism and delusions of grandeur, the belief that any critic is inherently “evil” and is out to to destroy them…

    Someone has been channeling Ayn Rand.

  17. Akira MacKenzie says

    Al Dente @ 18

    One thing I’ve discovered in discussions with spiritual people is many of them dislike conflict. If you disagree with them, you’re “being negative” and “harshing their mellow” and other expressions of dismay that you disharmonize with their feelings and viewpoints.

    Ugh! I know how you mean. Last year, I had briefly been a member of an RPG group involved in a Numenera campaign who were made of New Agey players who ranged in woo from full-blown Wiccan to “not religious, but spiritual.” One night after a game that had taken place before the impending marriage of one of the players, I had made what I thought was an innocent FB comment about my inability to obtain happiness. This had gotten back to the other players and the next morning was told that I had been kicked out of the group for ruining everyone’s good vibes before the nuptials.

  18. chigau (違う) says

    Akira MacKenzie #23
    I hope they had a nice vibe-filled wedding.

  19. chrislawson says

    Al Dente@18 — actually, I’d say a lot of these people are perfectly happy to escalate conflict to ridiculous degrees. The author demonstrates that perfectly. It’s a form of bullying: “Conflict is bad, so if you say something I don’t like, you’re creating conflict, which makes you a bad person and justifies all the horrible things I’m about to say about you (including that you create conflict).”

  20. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I hope they had a nice vibe-filled wedding.

    This… Well, on first glance I think this just didn’t communicate to me what I think you wanted to communicate.

    But I think that says a lot more about me than about you.

    On the other hand, if Akira really was ruining everyone’s vibes, well, those things can be expensive & I’d kick Akira out too.

  21. says

    And it’s so sad, as that way, they’ll never overcome the crap and experience real growth.
    It’s not spirituality. It’s a way to hide behind an ideology.

  22. Akira MacKenzie says

    chigua @ 24

    Bah! I hope their batteries ran down. I LIKED running my “Charming Glaive Who Fights With Panache.” I never got him past First Tier. (Sorry, Numenera jargon.)

    Crip Dyke @ 26

    …those things can be expensive…

    Only if you shop at those kind of boutiques. where what would cost $10 at Super Adult Video suddenly costs at least $90. (Yes, I’ve comparison shopped. I’m a poor hopelessly-single 40-year-old-virgin. My onanism needs to be frugal.)

  23. zenlike says

    So writing a negative review both defames as well as slanders the author of the work being reviewed? I think at this stage we can safely assume those two words are at least in the top ten of misused words on the internet.

  24. zenlike says

    Four observations:

    1. Dylan has either removed his comments from the thread under the review at GoodReads, or they have been flagged and deleted.

    2. Dylan is now spamming comments on 1-star reviews at Amazon.

    3. Lots of 5-star reviews at Amazon, mostly praising this ‘epic fantasy novel’ or somesuch. I don’t know in what universe a 100 page book can ever be considered ‘epic’, it seems barely enough pages to establish a setting of a run of the mill epic fantasy world. Most reviewers I checked give 5 star reviews to everything they review, with a token sentence that can easily been auto-generated. Bought reviews? I don’t know, but the heavy prose of that first page sours me on checking the book out myself. Just not interested.

    4. Dylan also seems to be an aspiring actor,, with an imdb page. Hopefully he quickly learns that whatever you put out there artistically, there will always be people who don’t like what you do. Learn to deal with it, or quickly become an embittered person.

  25. Al Dente says

    Akira MacKenzie @30

    my “Charming Glaive Who Fights With Panache.”

    What did Panache do that your character fights them?

  26. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    Not a single mention of quantum? That IS surprising…

  27. abelundercity says

    When I lived in Arizona (that decision being my only proof that a.) I had a past life, and b.) I had sinned in it), the food critic of the local free paper had the temerity to do a restaurant review of a local “raw food” place. In essence: “Raw food” struck her as “more of a crusade than a cuisine,” and the nigh-unto-inedible offerings did little to dissuade her.

    The restaurant owner responded with a long, rambling letter to the editor disputing the review. He tied the lack of raw food in the diet to society’s general lack of virtue, citing things like the ENRON scandal and throwing in the occasional non sequitur (“Rawk on!”). Reading it, it seemed like a textbook definition of how not to respond to a bad review if one wants to be taken seriously.

    Thing is, though, pretty soon the critic was no longer working at the paper. I don’t know if the raw foodies had managed to raise such a stink that it resulted in her firing, or that she realized she was surrounded by idiots after they ran the letter, and quit.

  28. says

    GoodReads is notorious for authors throwing tantrums in response to criticism.

    Remember Richard Brittain, the “Benevolent Stalker”? A woman wrote an uncomplimentary GoodReads review of some vanity published dreck he’d written. He tracked her down, sneaked up behind her, and smashed a wine bottle over her head.

    There’s also a forum called “Stop The GoodReads Bullies”, which is like a Slymepit for disgruntled authors who blame uncomplimentary reviews on persecution rather than their work being utter shite.

  29. David Marjanović says

    Does “Suck it up, buttercup.” work for people who are Spiritual™?

    “Any New Agers offended by my comments should remember: let go of your judgemental mindset, sucker!”
    Justin B. Rye

  30. lakitha tolbert says

    Did any of you go to Amazon and read the author bio? Assuming author bios are written by the authors themselves, this one is a real piece of work. Apparently, the author is some kind of renaissance man who is good at everything, everywhere, at all times.
    It’s, uhhm…interesting.

  31. says

    hyperdeath @ 36:

    GoodReads is notorious for authors throwing tantrums in response to criticism.

    Makes me thankful to be on LibraryThing. I’ve given some negative reviews there, and I’m very glad not to have authors come after me for it.

  32. says

    For those wanting the full experience, there’s an archive of the conversation here. And if you’re a total glutton for punishment, do check out his “about me” on amazon.

    Follow that with this palate cleanser; an addendum (while it lasts) to his full bio on IMDb:

    In 2015 Dylan’s fame reached its peak when he threw a giant tantrum on the Internet after people wrote bad reviews of his awful, pretentious novel. This is widely viewed as Mr. Saccoccio’s crowning achievement.

  33. maddmatt says

    I really just can’t believe he didn’t get around to blaming the thetans somewhere in there.

  34. pixiedust says

    I thought the way to become a famous author is 1) become famous for something and then 2) write a book.