Best Fan Mail Ever, and Mail Policy

January 4th, 2013

Got one of the best fan mails I’ve ever had this morning.  I’m not sure what the form is on posting private correspondence to the public sphere but, hey, I haven’t been told to keep it secret, I’ll keep the identity of the sender confidential, and I think it deserves a wider airing.  I quote verbatim:

“After reading The threth law trilogy I just can say what a shit, please after reading a lo of books of fantasy these are the worst I ever read.


Make the wrold a favour and don’t write anymore please

A furious reader”

One for the back cover, methinks…

Incidentally, the volume of mail I’m getting is ever increasing and it’s becoming pretty much impossible to respond to everything if I want to get anything else done.  Most of it’s lovely and very much appreciated support but, general well wishes and so on, for the time being, I’m probably not going to be able to reply to.  I read em, I appreciate em (well, most of em), but please don’t necessarily expect anything back.  Except more books, maybe.  And you’d probably rather have those than a bland note of appreciation with your name misspelled, right?

Generally speaking, also, I’m afraid I can’t sign stuff sent to me and send it back.  It may not seem like a massive thing but it actually involves a fair bit of my or someone else’s time to co-ordinate, pack it, hold it, sign it, send it back.  Then something goes missing and there’s heartache and gnashing of teeth.  The number of such requests is getting quite high so, sorry, much though I appreciate the enthusiasm, can’t do it any more.  If you want something signed you can show up at an appearance of some kind, where I’ll always be happy to do it, or pre-order through a bookshop where I sign stock (Goldsboro Books or Forbidden Planet are both good options).  I’ll also occasionally be clearing out my basement of books via ebay with proceeds going to charity, at which point you can get whatever is available sent to you with any inscription you care for.  Keep your eyes peeled for those, if you’re interested.

All of which means the chances of my replying to mail about how shit I am is a definite zero.  If you’re planning one of those, in the words of my friend above, make the wrold a favour and don’t write anymore please…

Posted in announcements, reviews by Joe Abercrombie on January 4th, 2013.

46 comments so far

  • Zardilann says:

    After reading The threth law trilogy I just can say what a wonder, please after reading a lo of books of fantasy these are the best I ever read.


    Make the wrold a favour and do write more please

    An appreciative reader

    Disclaimer: I have been heavily influenced by “A furious reader”, so please don’t sue!

  • DrBargle says:

    “Generally speaking, also, I’m afraid I can’t sign stuff sent to me and send it back.”

    Please do a ‘Ringo’ YouTube video!

    Peace and Love.

  • Graham says:

    Impressive he got through the whole trilogy.

  • Slogra says:

    What a shit indeed.

    Joe, thanks for making the wrold a favour by posting this beautiful trash.

    But it’s trash that’s also art. To quote Dean McCoppin from Iron Giant, “What you currently have… is ART!”

    You should create a very special section on your webzones for these very special e-mails.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I’d happily post more but you know, I very rarely get these type of emails. In fact I can’t think of one other quite like this. I get a fair few saying – I loved your trilogy but didn’t like this latest book, or where you’ve gone wrong is with X, or next time could we have more Y, and so on, what they perhaps consider constructive criticism, but I think it takes a rare and special mentality to email an author in this particular way…

  • Ken says:

    That is hilarious! You SO should include that very special review on the back cover, lol! I love it when completely worthless morons show their true colors.
    “Rare and special mentality” indeed!

    Personally, I enjoy the hell out of your books.
    So, thank you, and please, keep ’em comin’!

  • JonathanL says:

    I couldn’t imagine e-mailing an artist about how to improve their art. I mean, if I’m an editor, sure, that’s my job. But I’m not. So I might say, “Well, I liked this, but that wasn’t as much for me”, but not in an e-mail directly to them. That’s just… odd.

  • Jens says:

    Can I have a bland note of appreciation with my name misspelled, please Mr. Abbocrembie?

  • Frank Fitz says:

    What I don’t understand is, if he didn’t like it so much, why did he read all three? Why not stop after the first?

    More importantly, I love you, Joe, and that is all that well and truly matters.

  • Weedypants says:

    Serious question:

    How is minor celebrity working for you, Joe?

    I’ve sort of met you, seen you a few times at conventions / events, and your public presentation doesn’t seem too badly marred by grumps, drunkenness, poor dress sense or ugliness. But do you tire of the attention? Is it hard to keep your feet on the proverbial ground? Maybe hard to juggle it all when you have a young family?


  • Stirling says:

    Joe, make the wrold a favour and please do keep writing!

    When you are in Canada, I will be one of the first in line to shake your hand and thank you personally for the incredible journey your books provide and greatly look forward to reading your work in the future!

    Thank you.

  • Jake says:

    Remember Joe.

    Russian roulette with flintlocks man.

    Russian roulette…

  • Dav says:

    It was a pleasure to exchange a few brief emails with you yonks ago. Something about the size of Union regiments or something similarly pedantic and inane.

    It’s a sad and yet joyous transition when an author gets too busy to respond to fanmail.

    Btw, thanks for bringing him back.

    An Old Fan.

    P.s. That guy is a troll. Ignore him.

  • Dking says:

    Sorry about that mail, Joe. I was heavily inebriated. I loved the books, honest!

  • Thaddeus says:

    Mr. Fitz:
    “What I don’t understand is, if he didn’t like it so much, why did he read all three? Why not stop after the first?”

    Reminds me of a joke about two old women complaining in a restaurant.

    “This food is awful. So cold and tasteless.”

    “Yes, and the portions are too small.”

  • Hey Joe,
    I have all the bookios in hardback, except the very first, which I could only find in softcover, and I re-read them every now and again when I want to remind myself of who’s the daddy.
    I read a lo of fantasy, and I do mean a lo, and you should do the world a favour and keep writing like the fantasy god that you are.
    You have to be realistic.
    Steve G.

  • Hawkeye says:

    You don’t have a hair on your sack if you don’t put that on a back cover, Joe! Lol! Or at least on one of those inner first few page quotes we see sometimes. Try to sneak it in between glowing raves by GRRM and Brent. That would be classic!

  • AntMac says:

    Crazy unjustified criticism, mis-spelt.

    The only justified criticism I can see is the obvious one.

    Books too short, too few, too far apart.

    But then, I am a greedy barstard, it must be said.

  • Kay says:

    Well, say one thing about a furious fan. Say that he needs a proofreader.

  • Luke Scull says:

    I second the notion of putting “After reading The threth law trilogy I just can say what a shit” on your next book somewhere. The lolz would be epic.

    Also, I’m recording “Make the wrold a favour and don’t write anymore please” for future use. Definite meme potential.

  • AntMac says:

    Ooooo. That is bad. Our Cousins Johnathan haven’t twigged on it yet, but the guy was British! or of one of the countries sprung from The Crown, anyway.


  • Damn it! I thought The Threth law trilogy was your next. *Grumbles as he awaits more Abercrombie*

  • Adam A. says:


    I just completed my irate email to you and now… you won’t even dignify my vitriol with a response?!?! (?!?!?!?!)

    I GUARANTEE I’ve written such a nasty, hate-filled, book-burning, Abercrombie-raping rant full of verbal flattus, even you would have cringed!

    1. I insult you on a completely book-unrelated and personal level.
    2. I’ve allowed auto-complete to inappropriately re-contextualize everything.
    and 3. There’s lots of caps lock areas and excessive punctuation.

    I also enclose a photo of you performing fallatio on dinosaur.

    YOUR LOSS. No, no… I won’t even bother hitting “send” now!

    Boo, sir! Booooo!

  • Nick says:

    The standard of Leo Grin’s writing has declined slightly since last time.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I don’t know. He’s lost some flow, but some pomposity too. There’s a refreshing raw honesty about his new stuff.

  • Dmitry says:

    Hello, Joe.
    That’s Dmirty from Russian Sci-fi and Fantasy Magazine. We’ve met in Uppsala, Sweden in October. As promised I’ve sent you an e-mail, but get no reply.
    Issue of our magazine with your interview is out and I would
    like to send you a copy. And for that I’ll need your post adress. Could you send it to me (you can see my e-mail, right?), please?

  • JDA says:

    Lol this moron reminded me of Biff from Back To The Future….

    “Make like a tree and get the hell outta here.”

    Good times.

  • arcanespace says:

    Joe, I think that’s completely uncalled for. My mom has apologized for sending it, and she was drunk at the time so you shouldn’t hold it against her.

  • Sean Fear says:

    I think that’s a wonderful e-mail.

    It’s similar to a letter that a solicitor I worked for got from a client who was a prominent TV presenter, ranting about his shortcomings, and finishing with the words “I hope you burn in he’ll”.

    He framed it on his office wall.

  • Yeah sorry about that email, Joe. Bit too much to drink over the New Year.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Mark CN,
    Whisky makes you mean.

  • Geoff Holland says:

    I remember when Iain Banks ‘The Wasp Factory’ was published. The back cover listed all the bad reviews, and there were some very nasty, but quite literate comments. It made me buy the book. I always judge a book by its cover and the cover on ‘The Blade Itself’ made me pick it up.

    I’d be happy to bring you books to sign; if you made an appearance in New Zealand. That sounds grumpy, but I do hope you come this far one day.

  • Piggy says:

    Mr. Abercrombie, yes, please, make the wrold a favour and do write more please!

    Firstly, sorry if my English is bad, I read your books in English because when the book is translated it loses a part of its glamor, but it is not my mother tongue.

    The Third Law was great. Parts with Glokta and Ninefingers especially. There was something soothing and calm in Bloody-nine’s chapters, in his character, and Glokta’s chapters were so wondrously funny, dark and full of excitement. Bayaz is great, but such an ass. I hope Glokta will return as a character.

    Best served cold – even better. Perfect. At some times I dared to expect happy ending, Monza and Shivers happy together etc., only to be thrown into that chaos of events. And Monza, I loved her. Shivers too. And a touch of incest is always a great spice in a book. Monza is one of your best characters. You wrote how difficult was to write her… Well, you did a hell of a job there. The red-head mother of two whose name I’ve forgotten was also dear to my heart.

    The Heroes – perfect. Oh, that book is something perfect. I loved certain characters, some of them from Union, other Northmen. I hated some other characters who also were on the opposite sides. I wanted North to win, but I didn’t want the Union to lose, and vice versa. Hell, I longed to ‘be on one side’ as you usually are in every book but it was impossible. It was the best thing about the book.
    The chapter when you began with one POV character, who ended being killed by the next POV character who was on the opposite side, who was then killed by another POV character, etc… (I believe you’ll know on what I’m referring) – it was really great. I had to read that chapter twice.
    The ending (Bayaz part) is the only thing that disappointed me.

    Red Country is the first book I have ever bought (preordered even) without reading it first, and I’ll buy your next book because I know it will be good. Well, Red Country was good. Not as great as last two books, but good. I was a bit disappointed at some parts. Sometimes too many POV characters, and in my opinion the first half of book (until they get to Crease) has too few interesting events. Almost everything is about Temple riding drag. The end felt a bit too chaotic and unbelievable, probably because the first part was so uneventful. On the other side, Lestek’s performance as Legate Sarmis was wonderful, and it is so easy to love Temple.

    Keep up the good work, and sorry if this was TLDR. 🙂

  • Chevi77 says:

    I got it. That furious reader has to be a Shanka!!! Rhat is why he/she/it is so furious. Brilliant, definitely made my day, thanks for airing it here. 🙂

  • SwindonNick says:

    I was hoping you and “furious” would co-author something in the future, I did sense some kind of connection.
    And how brave of “furious” to read the whole trilogy and not give up after the first, you have to admire that kind of determination. I suspect he is a traffic warden willing to put in the extra time if a car is slightly parked on a “yello Lin”.

  • Sedulo says:

    That post made me laugh very heartily, because usually people who don’t like the Threthe law trilogy shout at ME for recommending it to them. It never crosses their minds to write to you.

    Furthermore, they seem to think that I (due to recommending the books) have some super secret insight into why and how you wrote them. It is funny most of the time, some people flip out!

  • Sword1001 says:

    If you can’t sign stuff people send in, just post your address online and allow people to come to you . . . but oh no, you won’t do that will ya!!

    You would if you cared for your readers more than you did your family’s privacy!

  • Gary says:

    I’m currently reading the Gollancz SF Masterworks book, ‘Flowers for Algernon’. The initial daily reports at the start of the book from the retarded adult share a similarity to that fan’s email…

  • Mychaleg says:

    I read the headline as “man fail” several times.

  • Pinky says:

    This is what happens when the “yooof” of today try and read anything more than the terms and conditions of their bail release form. They simply just do not understand. Writing is actually pretty hard and getting it right is even harder. I write stories myself and no matter how I try to write along the same gritty lines as yourself I find myself struggling. Normally my grammar lets me down, even though shes been dead for years.

    I dont blame you for not writing back to fans. At the end of the day we’re strangers to you and the fact you take time to write this blog is more than enough for those fans that want to keep up with you and what is going on (also none of our business but we are a nation of nosy bstards).

    I must ask one favour though. Next batch of signing tours you plan can you plan a Portsmouth visit or somewhere close so I can come get a signed copy of something?


  • Gary says:

    and if you are Portsmouth way, then a quick signing at Waterstones in Southampton again? 😉

  • Tim says:

    That email sounds like it was written by someone in the safe custody of his majesty’s inquisition while a practical trimmed his fingernails for him.

    This blog entry would just have to appear right when I was planning to email Joe for the first time with a request, and since it’s for something that only benefits me I feel as though I shouldn’t bother. Oh well. Keep up the good work Joe! I really have enjoyed your books and hope you have a long and successful career!

  • Kris says:

    I have long suspected you as being an ENTP. Your delight in such “fan mail” further supports this theory. Keep fighting the good fight (e.g. pissing that guy off). Red Country was excellent.

  • Wrold could be a splendid character name in a future novel. A vague reference to something on your most loyal fans would understand.

  • Ian says:

    I think your wrong Joe, you see it was Bizarro who sent you the fan letter. It is his way of saying he “loves” your work. In his world see everything is opposite.

  • “I second the notion of putting “After reading The threth law trilogy I just can say what a shit” on your next book somewhere”

    True story: Terry Pratchett put negative reviews of his novel INTERESTING TIMES on the blurb page of the paperback just for the funnies.

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