American Beat: When Your Book Sucks...


With today’s column by U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter, we begin a new initiative at the Breitbart News Network: weekly commentary by prominent figures in their fields on issues, events, and trends they feel relevant to the public discourse.

We commence with a dear friend of Andrew’s and someone whom he described as one of the few in the political arena who understands the value of pop culture within the geo-political landscape. He doesn’t just understand it….he gets it.

As Andrew always said, “culture is up-river from politics.” Drenched and sexy, we are pleased to present the first installment of the Honorable McCotter’s "American Beat."


When Your Book Sucks...

A few years ago, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) published my policy tome, SeizeFreedom: American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age. At the time, the prospect of this prestigious organization publishing my voice – my vision! – for the sovereign American people’s consideration left me humbled.

Now, I’m just humiliated.

Oh, I’m not the first author whose book sucked and learned the hard way that there are more people who will tell you to write a book than there are people who will buy your book. America’s clearance bins and bird cages are littered with the “product” of authors unremembered because, fortunately for all involved, no one bothered to slog through their discursive dung heaps. (Yeah, the rest of my book was like this, too. I told you it sucked.)

Yet, in the spirit of learning from our mistakes, especially a HUGE mistake like writing Seize Freedom, the question to be asked is not why my or any other overly verbose bum’s book sucked; the question to be asked is what to do when your book sucks. To wit, here are the “Three Bs and One C” that you’ll use to erase the taste of your putrid tome (no one else needs to do it, because no one else read it):


When your newly released book is justly pilloried by critics, bitch about it. Sure, bitching will exacerbate your public debasement, since your turgid letters to the editor section of your local shopping news will be as ignored as your god-awful book; however, bitching will belie your lifeless book’s impression that you’re brain dead, and it’s better than holing up in your garage chain smoking, slurping Diet Mountain Dew and listening to Tom Waits while you whine “where is the love”?


After exhausting yourself with witty bitching, which won’t take a hack author long, remember that you’ve got not one but two feet to put in your mouth. Heed the DC damage control axiom that the best way to weasel out of your mess is to “establish guilt to affix blame” on somebody else. The first part of this step is easy, as you’ve already established that someone is guilty of writing an abysmal book - you. Of course, this untoward truth will not do; ergo, compile a detailed list of those who abetted foisting your book on an unsuspecting public – agents, editors, masseuses and anyone else who early on should have you talked you out of writing your book. The ideal scapegoat is the “ghostwriter”, preferably a paid one, as this lessens the chance your literary alter ego for hire will hunt you down like the lying dog you are. True, blame won’t work any better than bitching; but at least you won’t be busy digging a deeper hole by writing another damnable book to “redeem” yourself.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard the old slur that “a liberal writes a book; a moderate reads a book; and a conservative burns a book.” As a conservative, I find this smear so offensive I can barely repeat it for public consumption. Consequently, before taking this necessary step, embrace this critical distinction: you will not be burning a book to prevent the public from reading it; you will be burning your book to protect the public from reading it – and, of paramount importance, from remembering you wrote it.


Finally, these days nothing succeeds like failure, so bombing in literature does not preclude an abysmal author from pursuing other artistic venues; indeed, failure compels them to cut their literary losses and start racking up new ones. Be selective, though, in choosing your new pursuits; after all you once thought you could write a book. Tweets, podcasts, and an internet “current events” show tab on your “unliked” Facebook “fan” page may seem viable options, but an audience repulsed by the prospect of reading your bad book will not be rapt by you regurgitating your bad book in cyber space. Recalling Dylan’s advice, “don’t criticize what you can’t understand”, I submit that you try your blessedly idle hands at performance art since no one, including you, will understand what the hell it means when you ascend the local Rotary’s rostrum donned in edible boxers, dab your abs in cocoa butter, and warble Paperback Writer.

Excuse me? First, your suggestion is anatomically impossible. Second, I’ll have you know that these “Three B’s and One C” worked for me! While I’ve yet to burn my book (it’s been an unseasonably warm winter), I bitched; I blamed Seize Freedom’s dearth of sales on Dinky and Chowsers’ abominable promotional videos; and I crossed over into cable TV on the once a month, four minute segment, View from the Capitol with host Katherine Amenta (whom I’ll blame when my cable crossover tanks).

As for my further expertise on the subject of what to do when your book sucks, I could go on ad nauseam – much like I did in Seize Freedom; but, since you didn’t read that, you’re not reading this…

Thaddeus G. McCotter, 
U.S. Representative (MI-11)


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