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Thursday Midday Links: Stanza Not Dead, Reviewer Sued for Defamation,...

In the UK, a self published author is suing a reviewer for panning his book.

Chris McGrath, an online entrepreneur from Milton Keynes, who wrote and self-published a little-known book entitled The Attempted Murder of God: Hidden Science You Really Need to Know, has launched libel proceedings against Vaughan Jones, 28.

He claims Mr Jones wrote damning reviews of is book on Amazon September and October 2010, which he had published under the pseudonym “Scrooby.” Mr Jones also revealed his true identity.

The suit is for defamation rather than invasion of privacy (i.e., revealing the author’s true identity).

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Awesome news, guys, Stanza is NOT dead.  Apparently, a month after Apple’s iOS update, Amazon has gotten around to releasing a Stanza update so it now works just fine on your iOS devices.

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Amazon has acquired YAP, a speech transcription software company. The co founder of YAP helped develop the speech engine that drives Nuance (which drives Siri) One columnist suggests that means that there will be speech enabled books in the future for Kindle users. AllThingsD points out that it can facilitate shopping by voice.

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A number of authors really hate the format production process at Smashwords known as the meatgrinder, particularly those authors who go to great lengths to produce a beautifully rendered ePub. In response to those complaints, Smashwords will begin to accept other ebook formats, other than DOC, in 2012.

This is good for readers because the meatgrinder doesn’t always produce well formatted ebooks.

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A couple of weeks ago, I saw the debacle on Courtney Milan’s blog where she suggested the language used by Barry Eisler and J A Konrath in support of their opinions regarding authors in publishing was incendiary. Shortly after this, a reader emailed me with a link to Konrath’s blog, a link to a YouTube video, and a link to Amazon.

Konrath and Eisler have  co written a book called “Be the Monkey” that is sold at Amazon. “Be the Monkey” title is based on this very graphic video of a monkey orally and anally raping a frog.  (Trigger warnings here for those who are sensitive to sexual abuse).

I objected to two white, wealthy men (based on their proclamations of earnings) encouraging people using a metaphor about power through sexual dominance and the binary choice of be the rapist v. be the rapee.  “Be the Monkey,” I divined, was a metaphor based on the video of the monkey exerting his dominance over the frog.   Konrath took exception to this:

@jane_l We compared publishing to two animals. Two animals are NOT in any way equal to humans being violated and abused.

I pointed out it was a metaphor but Konrath came back and said it was an analogy about monkeys and frogs, nothing more:

jakonrath We linked to a monkey and a frog. The anology begins and ends with a monkey and a frog. Don’t read more into it.

How can I not?  Isn’t that the purpose of linking the video with the book and writing a blog post about it?  And how can an analogy using monkeys and frogs actually only be about monkeys and frogs?  Isn’t an analogy or a metaphor all about using literal terms to express more abstract concepts like, say, power?

Konrath claimed that I should be ashamed of drawing that conclusion from the metaphor analogy:

jakonrath Sorry, I respect women too much to compare them to frogs. Rape shouldn’t be trivialized like that.

I pointed out that he, himself, applied the frog metaphor to his own marriage:

Barry: Yes! I mean, which of the networks would have broadcast that monkey raping a helpless bullfrog?

Joe: It wasn’t rape. It was consensual.

Barry: I don’t know. I don’t think the frog was conscious. I’m not sure it was even alive.

Joe: I–

Barry: After the first five minutes, I mean.

Joe: I’m married. I see this all the time. The frog was conscious. Just not very active.

Konrath replied that I should “Read it again, and try to lighten up.”

I don’t get it, right?

But there are far too many rape oriented insults on the internet. Witness the rape language that female gamers suffer regularly and the entire Dickwolf scandal by the Penny Arcade or Laurie Penny’s piece at the Independent about how having an opinion on the internet is akin to wearing a mini skirt or the MMA fighter who tweeted that “Rape is the new missionary.”

The message regarding choice as it relates to publishing, whether one self publishes or traditionally publishes or goes with a digital publisher or does a coop or a mixture of any type of publishing, does not need to rest on rape metaphors. And publishing isn’t a binary choice of being the Frog (the rapee) or the Monkey (the rapist). I’m pointing this out because I’ve quoted Konrath here before with approval. I’ve posted blog posts by Barry Eisler here, with approval. Had I known that these metaphors were being pushed by both as early as May of 2011, I probably wouldn’t have. I’m not sure. I’m regretful today and maybe it is due to my oversensitive and humorless nature.

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Globe and Mail has an infographic about book sales and publisher margins. The margin of profit for publishers is declining with digital books, according to the infographic from $8 to $4.24. I’m not certain I believe this infographic. I still remember Michael Hyatt indicating that at $9.99 and under the Agency model where publishers get 70% instead of the wholesale 50%, publishers’ margins weren’t decreasing dramatically. And then there’s the statement from Hachette (read the last piece)

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Hachette’s sales are down 8% in the U.S.

The decline at the U.S. Hachette Book Group division was attributed to increased sales of lower-priced e-books and the impact of the Borders bankruptcy. E-books accounted for 21% of HBG’s revenue through the first nine months of the year, compared to 9% in the same period in 2010.

Lagardere said while higher e-book sales contributed to lower revenue, they provide a higher margin, although the company provided no earnings in the quarterly trading update.

Via Publisher’s Weekly.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

67 Comments

  1. Darlene Marshall
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:08:42

    It’s always struck me as odd that when women object to joking comments about rape we’re accused of not having a sense of humor. I always see it in a different light–the person making the offensive comments is lacking a part of the brain attuned to empathy, morality and common sense.

    So to those who tell me to “lighten up” I respond, “Grow a moral backbone.”

  2. Tammy
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:12:44

    “I’m regretful today and maybe it is due to my oversensitive and humorless nature.”

    Butthurt is how I would describe it.

  3. Alex
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:14:12

    Wow I just started reading konrath’s blog because I was thinking about doing an experiment with self-publishing – to see if the hype was true.

    I think I’ll just stay off that blog now >8( And no, it is not because you’re humorless or oversensitive.

    I’m really sick of rape analogies. I’m really sick of rape as a metaphor. And I WAS one of those gamers you’re talking about. I constantly had to say things in chat about it. And when I was a founding member of one of the bigger guilds on the server, you can bet I tossed out idiots who used that word after I asked them not to. Oh yes. That and “fag” NO NO NO NO. It’s not okay.

    Maybe we’re both oversensitive and humorless?

    I’m still raeg’ing over that ‘tranny’ comment in the other post. I may never get over my anger. Where’s the wine?

  4. Kris
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:28:49

    Not oversensitive and humourless. Disappointed at people perpetuating rape culture. Rape culture is NOT ok, and I’m glad you’ve posted about this.

  5. Isobel Carr
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:37:14

    Not to mention that Konrath/Eisler’s other go-to analogy is that of house slaves with Stockholm Syndrome. They also refused to acknowledge any problem with that analogy when called on it. They just can’t seem to stop inserting their feet in their mouths and SHOVING until they choke.

  6. Sheryl Nantus
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:44:58

    I find it amusing that Konrath and Eisler call other authors “house slaves” if/when they sign with commercial publishers.

    So what are *they* for signing with Amazon? Since Amazon is a publisher…

    ;)

    The hyperbole is over the top with those two. Screaming like a banshee is the best way to not get your point across. Along with being insensitive boors.

  7. kzoet
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:47:13

    You get it. He doesn’t. It’s that simple.

  8. jody
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:53:23

    So many books, too short a lifetime to read them in. Thanks for exposing two more authors to eliminate from my TBR lists. Keep up the good work!

  9. Isobel Carr
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:53:44

    I can only assume they both function under the “no publicity is bad publicity” theory. I mean, at least people are talking about them. Right?

  10. Jill Sorenson
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:56:06

    It’s okay to see the frog and monkey as a publishing analogy and apply it to real authors being wronged/abused, but we’re making a “leap” when we apply it to real rape victims?

  11. cayenne
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:59:30

    If he was talking about power games with frogs, maybe, but since that potential audience pool isn’t very deep (…knee-deep? [sorry]), there’s no bloody way there would be a market for a book. To claim that it’s not a rape metaphor is disingenuous at best and utterly condescending and lying bullsh*t at worst. Guess which one I pick.

  12. Jean
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:00:32

    You know, I’ve been involved in the women’s movement since the early 1960s, and it has been my experience that whenever a woman gets too close to the truth in a dialog with men about a given topic, men start talking about how “oversensitive” and “humorless” we are. Ignore it. It just means you’ve started to make them feel bad about what they said, and they’re striking out in retaliation. They know that if they can make a woman feel like she’s overreacting, she’ll usually shut up to avoid being perceived as a b*i*tch. (Forgive the asterisks – I wasn’t sure how your site treated semi-swear words.)

  13. JL
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:12:08

    I’m willing to forgive people for putting their feet in their mouths and even for making really harsh comments/perpetuating rape culture, etc., **if** they are willing to learn from the experience. But this just feels like digging deeper and deeper because of some pride BS, and that to me is worse than the original offence. I find it amusing to imagine what kind of rhetoric they will use to cast the blame when their self-publishing sales are lower than anticipated because they’ve lost a chunk of readers due to this debacle. Or, at least, I’m hoping that’s the outcome of all of this.

  14. Kerri
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:12:49

    Dear Jane,

    You have just totally made my day with the news about Stanza.

    I haven’t upgraded to IOS5 because of it and now I can.

    Thanks so much!

  15. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:16:57

    There’s a great response to that stupid frog and monkey thing here:
    http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2011/11/08/self-publishing-doesnt-mean-you-have-to-be-a-raging-fuck-wad/

    (Short URL – http://is.gd/GscAWq )
    I’ve been tweeting it all day, because, well, go Tobias!

  16. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:18:20

    BTW, if you want to know about self-publishing, and publishing in general, follow Elizabeth Hoyt and Kris Rusch who manage to do it without invective and with a lot of common sense.

  17. Ann
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:27:06

    Hasn’t Barry Eisler been a “romantic suspense” panelist at Romantic Times (2010) or something like that (sorry, I’m very much not in the industry, so I don’t know the proper titles/events)? I remember Gennita Low writing about him. Huh. What a self-important person. I am very disappointed that you were told to “lighten up.”

  18. sarah mayberry
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:30:30

    The monkey is raping the frog. The book is called Be The Monkey. Therefore, they are suggesting that authors become rapists instead of victims. Who are we supposed to be raping? Publishers? Readers?

    I find the whole subject matter hugely repellent and pointlessly aggressive. And if K and E can’t work out that images of an animal being raped by another might be offensive when used as an analogy for human behavior, then they are very blinkered people. But I think, in line with several others, that this is just bloody-mindedness and not stupidity. If you’re over-sensitive, Jane, then you’re in good company.

  19. Kate Pearce
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:32:10

    I love the way that we little ‘womenfolk’ are oversensitive and have no sense of humor when we suggest something is out of line.
    I stopped reading Konrath and Eisler a while ago because of the increasingly aggressive tone of their posts.

  20. Randi
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:55:58

    When I read this: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/03/ebooks-and-self-publishing-dialog.html

    It just seemed like a mutual masturbation session. I actually felt like I walked into a private moment between the two.

    I don’t know much about these two, but the fact that Eisler has a wife AND daughter and isn’t understanding the “analogy”, is somewhat disturbing.

    On a different note: I thought one couldn’t BE sued for writing a bad review, either her or in the UK. Am I mistaken?

  21. OctopusGallery
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 16:06:31

    Well Konrath and Eisler have guaranteed I’ll never buy a book from them. Good job, guys!

  22. Jackie Barbosa
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 16:17:33

    In light of events at Penn State. the “Be the Monkey” metaphor seems even more repellent now than it did a few days ago.

  23. Lynn S.
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 16:26:01

    How does an analogy begin and end with a monkey and a frog when they titled their book “Be the Monkey”? Like Cayenne, I don’t think there is a big reading market at the frog pond.

    According to my interpretation of Eisler and Konrath, I am supposed to want to be an animal with no control over my basest instincts as long as I end up the victor. I believe I’ll decline that analogous offer.

  24. MaryK
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 16:32:58

    @Sarah Mayberry

    The monkey is raping the frog. The book is called Be The Monkey. Therefore, they are suggesting that authors become rapists instead of victims. 

    Exactly. How is that only about two animals? Apart from anything else, I’ve no interest in reading books by anyone with such poor language skills.

  25. library addict
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 16:43:57

    Konrath is the one trivializing rape, not you Jane. And as others have said, if you’re being “oversensitive” and “humorless” than so am I.

  26. CourtneyLee
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 16:52:54

    @Jean: I absolutely agree.

  27. Kim in Hawaii
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 17:06:21

    On a lighter note, today is the USMC’s 236th birthday. I know many Marine veterans who are big romance readers … so I salute you!

    (I believe they could take down Mr. K and Mr. E in a heartbeat).

  28. Robin/Janet
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 17:08:09

    I was amused and disgusted by Eisler’s comments on Courtney Milan’s blog. Amused at the idea that Courtney and the rest of us who objected to the language he and Konrath were using were “oversensitive” and therefore somehow intellectually compromised. If anything, I think some of us are perceived as too Socratically trained and oriented, so that was pretty funny.

    I’m still really disgusted by what I felt was incredible condescension and disrespect Eisler demonstrated toward Courtney in his responses to her, though. And I wonder if he’s ever going to look back and think he should have handled that differently.

    @Isobel Carr: Don’t forget the “Negro League” reference. Oh, and Konrath insisted to me on Milan’s blog that his only agenda was to help people. Which doesn’t quite explain what @sarah mayberry brilliantly pegged as the “pointlessly aggressive” rhetoric. As tempted as I am to employ a gendered interpretation there, I do think it’s more about rallying the troops. And I use that terminology intentionally, because there seems to be a strange militancy growing in that corner of the Internet that’s both fascinating and repellent to me. Especially since it’s supposed to be all about throwing off the chains of oppression, if we take Eisler’s imagery at face value.

    @Lynn S.: What’s so ironic is that the analogy is incredibly unsubtle and its interpretation actively constructed and directed by K & E — you’d have to perform elaborate mental gymnastics to see it any other way.

  29. Lucy Woodhull
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 17:09:43

    I’m disgusted by this rape analogy. Thank you for standing up. I’m mostly a lurker to this site, but I love that you discuss things of this nature. Indeed, the “get a sense of humor” and “you’re being too sensitive” lines are classic derailment techniques. It’s easier to deride the mean ol’ feminists than to discuss the horrible issue at hand. Is “I have a wife!” the new “I have a Black friend!”?

  30. Isobel Carr
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 17:19:12

    I didn’t even read the comments on Milan’s blog. I knew snakes would pop out of my head if I did.

  31. Jody
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 17:52:09

    Wow! Tough crowd. I have met both Barry and Joe at the RT Convention, I don’t claim to know them, but have spoke to both of them and sat in on their workshops. They are Very Funny guys! I think your sense of humor does not mesh with theirs. I seriously doubt there was any evil intent. Yes, I did see the video and I was more offended by the children continuing to be exposed to the monkey than I was by Barry and Joe’s comments.

  32. Lori S.
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 18:14:08

    I’m so glad I was able to delete all of those Konrath books from my amazon wish list before anyone bought them for me for Christmas. I’d really hate to line the pockets of such a misogynistic d*ckwad. Thanks, Jane!

  33. Lori S.
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 18:15:25

    @Jody:
    Yeah, those rape analogies are a real hoot. *eyeroll*

  34. Kim
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 18:25:30

    After reading Courtney’s blog, it just appears that Eisler and Konrath are incapable of any introspection. Their use of the video may have been an attempt at frat boy humor – if you find the topic of rape amusing – but with all the uproar, they’ve only become more entrenched. There’s nothing wrong with admitting a mistake and moving on. However, Eisler & Konrath obviously believe that everyone else is at fault. They’re on a mission and they apparently believe that Jane and Courtney can’t see the big picture. It’s called a scorched earth policy.

  35. Kristen Callihan
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 18:28:04

    I don’t know what makes my eye twitch more, the “don’t be so sensitive” patronization, or the lack of guts to stand up to his own analogy.

    Sarah Mayberry said it already, but really, who is the frog supposed to be in this scenario? Because if we’re talking about self-pub writers becoming the monkey, then then the publishers are out the equation. All we are left with is the reader as the frog.

    I’m sorry, but I have a big problem with seeing a reader as something to screw on both ends. That really turns my stomach and is not the reason I became a writer. Nor would I, as a reader, want to purchase a book from someone who thought of me in that way.

    If, however, they are going to insist that the frog is the traditional publisher, then I can only say that their mission is misguided. I rather thought the point of self-publishing was to produce books on one’s own terms, not as a screw you to traditional publishers.

    Either way, it’s an utter fail, and ugly.

  36. SHZ
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 18:41:01

    I cannot get over the hypersensitive self-pubbed baby who is taking an Amazon reviewer to court. And self-published authors wonder where they got their terrible reputation!

    I could not care less what was said in the review. It was an Amazon review, not a New York Times feature!
    There’s so much garbage posted on Amazon, and normal, sane authors ignore it or report it privately if it’s abusive.

    This moron needs to get over himself.
    Or maybe it’s a ploy to sell more books.

  37. The Octopus Gallery
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 18:42:17

    @Jody: I’m sorry you think making light of rape is funny. :(

  38. Deb
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 19:05:23

    Not overly sensitive or humorless, just more evolved. I’d suggest not engaging with them.

    I wonder how either will explain to their kids the title and video. A daughter may never tell the shame she feels, but by experience, it hurts to feel the anger and shame of your parent over this exact type of so-called humor. There is price for these antics. I just hope their income is enough to forego the loss of respect from their readers, fellow authors, friends & family.

  39. Mary Anne Graham
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 19:10:31

    I’ll put on my lawyer hat only long enough to point out that the indie author from the UK is doubtless eyeing the lovely deeeep pockets of the reviewer’s co-defendant, Amazon.

    UK libel laws differ from ours, although our law is rooted in English Common Law.

    Sadly, the old saw about there being no bad publicity is probably true. The indie author has most likely seen a bunch of sales from all the free promo.

  40. Muneera N.
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 19:31:54

    @Jody: Yes, rape always gives me the giggles. really…

    I tend to be a lurker, too, but I am so glad that you posted on this topic. I’m a bit disgusted that they won’t just admit that it was a REALLY BAD analogy/metaphor and they just need to stop trying to defend it.

  41. Angela
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 19:41:31

    I’d read Courtney Milan’s blog post, but never managed to get through all the comments – what I did get through was incredibly eye-opening and saddening to me.

    This, this just disgusts me. It’s not a matter of humor vs being overly sensitive. It’s a matter of there being some things that should never be taken lightly. This is one of them.

    Many others have said it better already, so I’ll just agree with the majority here.

  42. Kaetrin
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 21:07:53

    There’s this relative I have. Typically when we argue, if I’m offended, I’m “too sensitive” and I’m “only offended because I choose to be” and if there was an apology, it usually went something like “I’m sorry you feel offended by what was a perfectly logical and accurate comment, you really need to get over that” (which of course is no apology at all). On the other hand, if he were the one offended, then woe betide me, it was all my fault and nothing less than an unequivocal You are right I was wrong I’m sorry would do and even then, sometimes it was iffy.

    So @Jane, the comments to you and the ones I read on Courtney Milan’s blog sounded very familiar to me.

    I dealt with my relative by not arguing with him anymore – too time consuming for absolutely no value. I’ll still tell anyone who’ll listen if I think he’s wrong though!! :)

    Well done Jane.

  43. jody
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 21:24:55

    Just for the record, The above “tough crowd” Jody is not me. I posted earlier about crossing both authors off my list.

    Gah.

  44. Laura
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 21:26:47

    Konrath and Eisler WANTED to use controversial language to sell their beliefs. However, their metaphor or analogy or whatever they think they did became a flaming bag of poo on their own front porch. They stomped the bag of poo. They stomped it so badly it won’t come off their shoes. Now their mission is to convince the rest of us that:
    A) Having poo on your shoes is cool.
    B) Poo doesn’t stink nor does it offend.

    Sorry, I’m not convinced. I hope they enjoy their poo shoes.

  45. Barbara
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 21:31:32

    I always find it cute that people who defend good ol’ Barry and Joe assign them the title of Very Funny Guys, nearly always with those darned capitalized letters and of course the rest of us (always women, curse our humorless uterii) need to lighten up.

    These two are creating some creepy cult. After the first few days of reading the circular arguments of these two, I wanted to give myself an intervention to clear my head. People I never would have expected to are nodding along, rolling their eyes and doing their best impression of me when I was thirteen and telling my mother that she took everything so seriously. Because, duh, it’s all just a joke. Like it means anything. It’s just words, dude.

    These two make my eye twitch.

  46. Kristen A.
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 22:04:09

    Two thoughts that are probably zooming in on a rather small part of the picture, because that’s how I roll:

    1. Did Joe suggest, in that quote where he brought his marriage into it, that a monkey having sex with a frog might be consensual, talking about an actual monkey and an actual frog and not something from the Muppets where the feasibility of romantic involvement between a mammal and an amphibian is just taken for granted? How exactly are a frog and a monkey presumed to have communicated so that consent could be given?

    2. If he seriously is saying that the monkey and the frog are having consensual sex, then why should it make a difference whether somebody would “be the monkey” or the frog? The suggestion that it’s consensual is WTFIDON’TKNOWEVEN, anyway, but if we could imagine a universe in which this was possible, the monkey and the frog would both be getting consensual sex. And consensual sex, where it is possible, is generally considered desirable. In that case, being the frog would be just as good as being the monkey. But they’re telling people to be the monkey, which vice versa means do not be the frog. Therefore Joe knows that something bad is happening to the frog, which would not describe consensual sex. Res ipso loquitor.

  47. Robin/Janet
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 22:21:02

    Just in case anyone missed the exchange on Courtney Milan’s blog, it’s here: http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/2011/10/29/help-help-im-being-oppressed/

    Also, @Kristen A., res ipsa loquitur is the term I used to summarize my take on the imagery to Jane today. ;D #justsaynotogaslighting

  48. Willa
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 22:25:32

    I stopped reading Eisler’s blog when he and Konrath first linked that video of the monkey and the frog. I found it disturbing on a very basic level. Even a lowly frog is still a living creature, and they thought it was hilarious. Those two are definitely not my kind of people.

  49. eggs
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 23:27:36

    While I don’t personally find humour in acts of violence or the denigration of people because of their race, gender or sexual preferences, I do think that “western culture” in general is heading in this direction.

    Popular films today, like The Hangover movies, are chock full of these kinds of jokes and are feted all through the media. Some young film star is regularly forced by their publicist to “apologize” for throwing around “humorous” rape analogies, Sacha Baron Cohen is now a multimillionaire thanks to films like Borat and Bruno.

    Young adults think nothing of using “gay” as a light insult, or “my niggas” as a friendly term. They do so un-ironically, with little care about the social baggage attached to those terms by older generations.

    All of these films and social changes leave my skin crawling, but the movies are making millions and the media is fawning all over the stars involved, so it’s becoming obvious to me that my attitudes are no longer in fashion. I’m not sure if the repulsion I feel about it all is due to our culture actually going down the toilet, or due to my aging in general making me shake my head in disgust at “young people these days”. Whatever the case, I think we will be seeing more of this kind of “humour”, not less.

  50. Sarah_Florida
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 01:44:49

    That video and the comments left on youtube are just sickening! These authors weren’t on my TBR but now they have no chance that I’ll read them. A-holes.

  51. Michele Gorman
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 03:43:21

    As a writer I say: suck it up boys, if you accept the glowing reviews as an accurate judgment of your book, you have to accept the bad ones too. You’re not writing for your friends and mothers who’ll read your book through rose-tinted glasses. You’re writing for an audience who’s going to judge your book based on their own criteria, and one person’s judgment is just as valid the next.

    As a chick lit writer, there’ve been (a few) readers who’ve spit venom about my debut novel, Single in the City (the title alone has some critics seeing pink). It’s important to think about all criticism, to decide whether there’s something in it that can help you be a better writer. That’s what we’re all trying to be, boys. I did it when launching my book in the US last month – I rewrote the book for the US audience based on the reviews I’d received on the UK book the previous year. It’s a better book as a result.

  52. Grrrly
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 05:18:38

    Stanza is NOT back, not unless you upgrade to IOS5. Those of us who prefer to stay an upgrade or two behind until all bugs are worked out of the current one that’s supposed to fix all of them, are screwed. Just FYI.

  53. Samantha
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 08:55:34

    Konrath has always been an ass. Eisler, on the other hand, seemed halfway decent. Very disappointing.

    How does someone even find a video like that? Do you think one of them sits around Googling “monkey rape videos” in his spare time?

  54. J L Wilson
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 12:04:47

    I read the original Konrath/Eisler blog way back and did not click on the link they provided re: the frog because I knew it would offend me. I tried t o extract what info I could from both guys despite my dislike of their tone and method of delivery. I’ve met both at conferences and their ‘repartee’ is just more of the same wise-cracking that they do on their panels (the Joe and Barry show).

    The interesting thing to me was the Milan post and responses. Based on that and on some authors who commented by saying they found the frog/monkey thing funny, I’ve found more authors I won’t be reading. I don’t find abuse funny, regardless of whether it’s in the animal or human kingdom. I’m pretty sure I’m not humorless, so maybe my ‘squick’ threshold is different than others. Whatever.

    I’ll continue to subscribe to Joe’s blog because guests are posting now and they may have other perspectives that are useful. And thanks, Lynne Connelly, for pointing me to other info re: self-publishing. As always, you have your finger on the pulse of really useful information.

  55. Christine M.
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 12:19:31

    @Samantha: This video went viral months ago. It was all over social media websites. I haven’t clicked the link in Jane’s post, but I know *exactly* which video this post refers too.

  56. P. Kirby
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 13:29:53

    I decided Konrath was an ass when he decided to flog the “big publishers are bad, I’m the bestest, smartest author ever because I self publish” message. Look, I’m not necessarily a fan of the big publishers and I’ve gotten a bit jaded about agents as well. But I don’t look down on people who take that route (I still envy them), anymore than I look down on folks who self publish or who go with a small publisher. Whatever works.

    If I ever had any desire to read a Konrath book, it’s been obliterated by the sheer arrogance of this latest debacle

  57. Samantha
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 13:30:53

    @Christine M.: Well, thank God for the people in my social networks, then. None of them posted or mentioned it.

  58. Ridley
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 13:40:38

    Konrath is just being the troll he is and Eisler, I’d wager, is just in it too deep now to admit he’s wrong.

    It’s textbook “mansplaining.” Clearly they missed John Scalzi’s pointers on not opening your mouth and “showing your ass.”

  59. Jennifer Leeland
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 15:41:35

    I quit following Eisler on Twitter when he appeared to be defending Amazon’s bullying tactics against authors. *shrugs* He seemed like an ignorant ass and this just confirmed what I suspected.
    But as someone said above, bad publicity is still publicity and we’re talking about them.
    I’m starting to think I’m out of touch though. One of the newest movie trailers is for a movie that seems to celebrate the partying/sex without purpose/destruction of poperty thing. (Project X).
    I don’t get the humor.
    I’m okay with that. LOL! Call me another humorless oversensitive bitch. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

  60. LisaCharlotte
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 15:51:28

    I remember when the monkey frog video went viral. My husband thought it was hilarious. I couldn’t watch once I realized what was going on. I am pretty unoffendable. It has nothing to do with being offended for me. I was just completely squicked out and wanted someone to rescue the poor frog. I just couldn’t find it funny.

  61. Ridley
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 16:23:26

    @LisaCharlotte: I think of myself as a fairly jaded, unoffendable person, and that video made me hurt. I know it’s just a frog, and it’s silly of me to clutch my pearls over that while eating plenty of meat, but I couldn’t find anything but a cringe for the poor frog in the video. I just find no humor in abuse, I guess. I must have empathy poisoning.

  62. Jessica Scott
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 16:27:27

    I made it through about 10 seconds of that video before I was utterly disgusted. I’m glad I’ve never seen it before now and I damn sure won’t be watching it again.
    I thought Eisler was backtracking a bit earlier this week from the house slave comment but Konrath continues to wave his I’m a rich asshole flag.
    I much more prefer Courtney Milan’s discussion of publishing or self publishing being a business decision over a moral decision.Thanks for raising awareness of the whole monkey analogy.

  63. Jill Sorenson
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 18:18:52

    How hard would it be to take down the offensive content and rename the book?

    If Konrath wants to be the Howard Stern of self-publishing, he should just keep doing what he’s doing. My impression is that both of these authors want to be seen as respectful of women, however. Eisler, in particular, goes out of this way to court romance readers by attending conferences etc.

    Maybe they’ve reached the level of success at which they no longer care who they offend.

  64. Kaetrin
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 19:49:02

    @Ridley: I have what I’d generally call a fairly robust (and sometimes juvenile sense of humour) – but that video was just disturbing.

  65. Elizabeth56
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 22:32:13

    @Darlene Marshall: I am going to memorize that “moral backbone” response.
    Years ago, I was taught that the subconscious does not have a sense of humor, and that therefore those naming offensive things as humor are either disingenuous or clueless. (I suspect the latter.)

  66. Naomi
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 03:56:31

    I refuse to accept Konrath doesn’t know what a metaphor is and how it works. Therefore I must believe he is deliberately being an inflammatory twat. If I hadn’t already read his books and decided they weren’t for me, this would be all the information I needed never to try them.

  67. Kate Pearce
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 18:58:56

    @Jill Sorenson “…the Howard Stern of publishing.”

    Perfect. I love it :)

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