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Should Authors Shut Up and Write?

Much ado was raised by Miss Snark and her commenters about Anne Stuart’s statements to All About Romance. Ms. Stuart confessed that she felt “disillusioned about the lack of support” by Harlequin and that she felt the publisher is more about “slots and numbers, not about passion for what they’re putting out there.”

I recall during the Labreqce/Wallace incident that many of the authors said the same things – slagging about an editor online doesn’t make good business practice.

Debra Webb said

To knock an author is bad enough but to insult her house and editor, well that's just plain DUMB!”

My understanding used to be that the publishing industry was a business and that readers were the emotionally unstable part of the equation. Books are purchased based upon their quality (perceived) and not on personality of the author. I would guess that should Harlequin decide to kick Anne Stuart to the curb there are any number of publishing houses who would be willing to deal with her goddessness (which I took to be totally tongue in cheek). It doesn’t look like Harlequin wants to get rid of her based upon the blog post of Isabel Swift.

The thing most disturbing to me was the relentless piling on by anonymous and not so anonymous writers and want to be writers as they jostled to be the commenter most supportive of Ms. Snark. Sure, Ms. Snark has a point. Taking your complaints public aren’t likely to make the subject of your criticism eager to help you. But is the publisher going to cut off their nose to spite their face?

  • Southern Writer offered to take Stuart’s publishing slot.
  • Nancy thought that she heard the sound of a publishing contract whirling down the drain.
  • Ric thought it was obvious why publishers lacked enthusiam for Stuart’s work.

Overall, there was a general sentiment that Stuart was an idiot and a prima donna. I read the interview and found her to be funny, tongue in cheek (I am a goddess remark), and refreshingly open. True, my bias is that I like Anne Stuart’s books. Not all of them, but alot of them. Maybe that influences what I thought of the interview. Plus, I like to know the honest opinion of authors when it comes to publishing. From a reader standpoint, stuff like Anne Stuart is sharing is pretty interesting.

Most of me thinks that as long as an author isn’t insulting the reader, the online reader doesn’t care. The online reader isn’t saying “Shut up and Write” to authors who are talking about the ills of publishing. We talk about the ills of publishing. I can’t get excited over an author saying “how could this book even be published.” I have those thoughts myself. Authors behaving badly on the internet only really bothers me when it affects me, the reader. Other times, its like a bad train wreck. Erika disliked that Anne Stuart made a political stance. I know that after last year’s RWA debacle, it would be a long stay on a deserted island before I picked up a Tara Taylor Quinn book.

I’d rather hear the Anne Stuart comments than those like Lydia Joyce telling readers on her blog that those readers who don’t like her book just don’t get it. For example, the reviewer at AAR disliked the TSTL actions of the heroine in Whispers of the Night. So did Tara Marie.

Cheryl thought that Alcy's running away was “boneheaded” and “reckless” and thought she should have confronted Dumitru about stealing her money.

Ms. Joyce launches into a long explanation of why Cheryl’s opinion is wrong and coincidentally, every reader, like Tara Marie, who agreed with Cheryl. What does that do to the readership? Pisses them off. Essentially, Lydia Joyce was saying “You could not possibly understand my book. You simply aren’t smart enough.”

But I suppose people will read things into what books that simply aren't there.

I am more apt to tell someone like Lilith Saintcrow to shut up and write after reading her Amazon plog. Lili, as she refers to herself, believes that readers who were unhappy with the ending of Dead Man Rising were whiny.

Now, I can hear the whining already. But Lili! We read stories to escape!

No you don’t. You read stories because it is a human hunger to communicate, because it is a human hunger to tell and retell and listen to stories. We make the world, our world, through the stories we tell ourselves. To draw a metaphor, we don’t eat because we like Twinkies. We eat because we are hungry and must nourish ourselves.

She goes on to state in her comments :

I make a promise to my readers to “tell the truth” instead of merely slapping a Hollywood-style happy ending onto my books to sell them. . . .there is more real hope in a true ending than in a saccharine Hallmark abomination tacked onto a work of art for commercial reasons. We can bemoan endlessly the violence and horror in our world, or we can recognize suffering is a part of human life (as Buddha said) and learn to deal with it instead of burying our heads in the sand.

I don’t get the Twinkie analogy because I am pretty sure Twinkies are eaten not for appeasement of hunger or nourishment, but for the craving of wonderful sticky sweets. I guess I am more hopeful when I read a happy ending than one that involves repeated deaths of loved ones. I also don’t think that a happy ending is a “saccharine Hallmark abomination” nor do I think that romance readers are “burying our heads in the sand” while all the other fiction readers are on the great search for truth. I’ve read both Saintcrow novels and the only truth I came away with was that Dante Valentine was a selfish user. How’s that a truth for you.

When an author behaves badly to booksellers or a bookseller perceives slights to readers, they don’t hesitate to strip the book the next time it is on the returns list whereas they have the discretion to keep a book that is on the returns list. Booksellers are more like readers than publishers and are going to be more affected by insults to readers than offhand comments about an author’s publisher. When authors say something to belittle a reader or offend a reader, that is an insult to booksellers.

And for those authors who have the courage to speak out and say, I feel like a number, or that my books are commodities and not art, or that this other authors book just did not work for me, shouldn’t other authors support them instead of rushing to take her slot or to trample her down? It makes the community of authors look, well, distasteful.

I would hope that publishers are making decisions based on business rather than personality. I think the romance world be less if it did not include Anne Stuart. I think the romance world would be less without Lydia Joyce. I just wish she would shut up and write. Alison Kent categorized the heirarchy as follows:

None of us who write need to give a crap about anything beyond #1) pleasing ourselves, #2) pleasing our readers, and #3) pleasing our editors and publishing houses.

In the end, what’s more damaging to your career? Talking negatively about peeps in the industry or readers? DOes it matter if the author/publishers are online or NY?

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

47 Comments

  1. Tara Marie
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 05:44:45

    A few thoughts…

    1. I thought Anne Stuart was being honest. What she said wasn’t that outrageous. Are mid-list authors somehow marginalized by publishers? Though I don’t really consider her a mid-list author but maybe her numbers aren’t that good. As long as she has a contract somewhere I don’t really care if she has chronic problems with her publishers. I like her books and writing style.

    2. I hate being called stupid, and that’s basically what Lydia Joyce said about anyone who didn’t get it. What makes me really stupid? I’m still going to buy Ms. Joyce’s books. She’s a good writer, why should I deprive myself because she’s thin skinned and doesn’t handle criticism well.

    3. In a perfect world all authors would follow AK’s advice–LOL. I can’t imagine pleasing everyone all the time is easy.

    I’m not sure how many readers/potential readers actually come across these comments. The actual percentage of readers that find there way to the romance reading section of the internet is probably very, very, very small. Let them talk, it gives obsessive readers like us something to complain about.

    But, shut up and write isn’t bad advice, not because authors have foot in mouth disease, but the more they write the more we have to read. First and foremost I’m about reading good books.

    PS… Jane, I just saw your message on my blog to email you and for some strange reason, probably because it’s 5:00 in the morning and I’m not functioning well yet, your Contact section keeps kicking back at me “Whoops. Did you forget to fill in part of the letter?” I’m pretty sure I wasn’t missing anything.

  2. Nora Roberts
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 06:34:41

    If someone told me to shut up and write, it’s going to piss me off. The Internet is a powerful tool, and everyone’s entitled to use it. There’s the beauty. It’s also its danger.

    For me, personally, I’m not going to use a blog or interview, a comment area to complain about my publisher, my editor, my agent. Because, frankly, it’s no one’s business but mine and that publisher, editor or agent. I may complain to friends as well, but I wouldn’t broadcast my difficulties on the Internet. I don’t think it’s a matter of honesty or courage, but it is a personal choice. My choice would be to discuss business, and any discontent therein, with the parties I’m in business with.

    I don’t think everything a writer says on line has to be: Rah, rah, go team! But I do see value in discretion, and discretion doesn’t mean dishonestly or wimpyness.

  3. Nora Roberts
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 06:46:42

    And now I’m going to say what may seem contridictory to my first comment.

    I share Ja(y)ne’s opinion that there are some writers who blog or post about whom I tend to think: Shut up and write. Wouldn’t actually tell them, but I think it because they don’t–imo–handle the communication aspect of the Internet very well.

    I wince, I cover my eyes–then peek between my fingers because I can’t look away when they insult readers.

    Actually, it’s not so contridictory. The writer may feel or believe exactly what she writes–for all the virtual world to read–but discretion would have been the wiser choice. So in those cases, I may think: shut up and write until you can handle this amazing tool with a bit more skill. Otherwise, you might cut your hand off by mistake. I certainly have a few scars from my early days on the Internet.

  4. Nonny
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 07:17:07

    I don’t think Anne Stuart’s comments were, like, “OMG! The ultimate sin!”, which is how some people seem to be taking it, but unwise and indiscrete.

    If you have a problem with someone, whether it be a personal or professional relationship, it is a far, far better course of action to talk to that person directly than post about it in blogs, interviews, or whatever all over the Net. If it bothers you enough to bring it to public view, then it really should be worth talking to your support network and agent about — privately.

    I don’t know. Maybe she did. Either way, I don’t think it was a bright move on her part. There’ve been comments made about her losing her contracts, and I doubt they would have grounds to terminate current ones based on her words — but if Ms. Stuart is, in their view, a difficult author to work with, then she may find herself without further contracts after this one is up.

    Unfortunately, the publishing world these days is very much about numbers. I don’t get the impression that the situation is much different outside of, perhaps, small press. I hope that Ms. Stuart finds what she’s looking for in a publishing relationship, but I imagine she’s liable to be disappointed.

    As for which is more damaging, talking crap about readers or publishers? I think both can be equally destructive to a career. It’s not going to help you much if you’ve got a readership but you’re such a prima donna that no publisher wants to work with you. Certainly, self-publication or small/e-press is an option, but you couldn’t count on the same number of sales there. Not all small press books reach bookstores, and while some e-publishers do print, the same is true there. When many readers have authors they automatically buy, there’s usually a second/third “tier” of authors that they’ll sometimes buy if the mood strikes them. Those readers probably aren’t as likely to search out for an author’s work on the Net, while hardcore fans will.

    On the flipside, if you’re such an abrasive personality that most anyone who reads your personal blog is turned off ever reading your work again, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.

    Honestly? I think people in general need to be more mindful of what they say publicly.

  5. DebR
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 09:24:04

    I’ve never read one of A.S.’s books before and her interview replies made me want to try one. (Any suggestions for a good one to start?) She sounded like someone I’d like.

    That doesn’t mean that I think the reply about her editors was a good idea. I admire honesty, but being honest doesn’t mean needing to spill every little thing in public. There’s nothing wrong, in an interview or in life, with saying “I don’t want to answer that question” and I think that would have been a much smarter thing to do than dissing her editors in public, however honest or accurate her assessment was. That said though, I think a lot of commenters are going overboard on their responses. Ms. Stuart is hardly the first person (in any industry) to say something indiscreet about her employer and she won’t be the last. It’s not like it’s a mistake worth of a Darwin award!

  6. May
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 09:30:07

    I do know that if I was going to say anything like that in public, I would think twice. I think it doesn’t hurt to be cautious, but I also think that if you think something needs to be said, then say it.

    In Ms Stuart’s case, I don’t find her behavior constructive at all. Like Ms Roberts, I would probably have spoken to the other party rather than let the other party find out through a third party.

    But I most definitely don’t think that writers should shut up and write.

  7. AngieW
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 10:54:56

    You asked me this the other day about this subject, so I’ll throw it back at you–what positive “affirmations” or results, so to speak, come from speaking out like AS did? Or from what Ms. Wallace did?

    I agree with Ms. Roberts, I don’t think an author should always shut up and write, either. But I think there are times when speaking out doesn’t serve a purpose and doesn’t work in the author’s favor because there really isn’t anything positive that comes of it (and I’m not saying either AS or Ms. Wallace are examples of this, I’m just saying that the pros and cons should be considered first). That whole thinking before you speak thing, I guess.

  8. Robin
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 11:41:51

    If you have a problem with someone, whether it be a personal or professional relationship, it is a far, far better course of action to talk to that person directly than post about it in blogs, interviews, or whatever all over the Net. If it bothers you enough to bring it to public view, then it really should be worth talking to your support network and agent about — privately.

    I guess because Stuart was so unguarded in her comments that I assumed she had probably been as vocal inside those networks as she was being outside them. She struck me as complex, eccentric, and opinionated in her interview (which reminded me of her books, which have been very hit or miss for me). But whether or not that’s the case, I think it’s one thing to express your perspective in just the terms you did and quite another to give Stuart 40 lashes because she did make a public statement. Because there’s something glaringly ironic to me about publicly lambasting someone for not being private in their criticism, especially when the lambasters aren’t from the “injured” party. I also find it interesting that people seem to think they know what the intentions of Isabel Swift’s post were; wouldn’t it be funny if those assumptions were incorrect? It’s also interesting to me that I haven’t really seen anyone challenging Stuart’s actual views or countering them.

    In the case of authors speaking out generally, I don’t mind it when they express what they intended or see in their own book, because they are a reader in that respect, too. Although I also don’t want to be insulted (and think that insecurity is so easily mistaken for condescension that it’s easy to give and get that impression). I don’t mind it (and sometimes like it) when an author clarifies a point of plot or history when readers question it. I tend to avoid author blogging for a large part because I don’t want to feel put off be an author’s online persona, especially if I would otherwise enjoy his or her books. Although most negative comments wear off my memory in time.

    This latest ado gave me the same feeling the Wallace one did: it reminded me of that old story about the crustacean pot, where they’re all trapped in this big, slick pot, and when one finally figures out how to escape, rather than following, the other crustaceans reach up and drag the escaping one back down and into the pot, where everyone gets cooked.

  9. Southern Writer
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 11:59:37

    Let me see if I understand this correctly. Ms. Stuart’s disparaging her publisher is okay with you, but you’re offended by my wish to take her place if she wants out. Please note that I didn’t call the woman names or insult her intelligence. Do you think you may be reading more into my comment than it was ever intended to mean?

    I resent the implication that I rushed to pile anything on the author, or jostled to be the commenter most in support of Miss Snark. If you took the time to find all my comments in Miss Snark’s blog, you would quickly discover that very often, I don’t agree with her. Shame on you for assuming too much.

  10. Nonny
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 12:11:25

    Robin said: But whether or not that’s the case, I think it’s one thing to express your perspective in just the terms you did and quite another to give Stuart 40 lashes because she did make a public statement. Because there’s something glaringly ironic to me about publicly lambasting someone for not being private in their criticism, especially when the lambasters aren’t from the “injured" party.

    Totally with you here. I didn’t mind Miss Snark’s comments so much, because while she isn’t directly involved, she is involved with the publishing industry. I don’t think the commenters are — and a few, in my opinion, went way over the top.

  11. AngieW
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 12:22:39

    Because there’s something glaringly ironic to me about publicly lambasting someone for not being private in their criticism, especially when the lambasters aren’t from the “injured" party.

    But in things like this, how often is it ever the “injured” party doing the lambasting? Often it’s not. Why? Because the “injured” party is a part of the industry and has compelling reasons for holding their own council and not putting themselves on public display. Which makes it hard to defend yourself, your company, your book, whatever, but which for many, seems the more prudent thing to do. Becaue publically answering turns it into a type of mudslinging that can get even uglier and out of control.

    It’s easy for Miss Snark to answer, she’s anonymous. Not so easy for publisher and/or editor to do, in my opinion.

  12. Robin
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 12:31:17

    I didn’t mind Miss Snark’s comments so much, because while she isn’t directly involved, she is involved with the publishing industry.

    True. And they didn’t seem to have that “you’ll never work in this town again” threat behind them, either. In their own way, Miss Snark’s comments were, IMO, as out there as Stuart’s.

  13. Robin
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 12:38:02

    It’s easy for Miss Snark to answer, she’s anonymous. Not so easy for publisher and/or editor to do, in my opinion.

    Yes, I agree. Are you saying, though, that the lambasters are speaking in place of the publisher? Because I would hope those defending the publisher would take a different approach. I see the lambasters as third-party observers who are basically doing to Stuart what they say she doesn’t have the right to do. To be honest, I’m surprised a bunch of MIRA authors haven’t jumped in and claimed their experiences to be very different from Stuart’s. It seems to me that would be a much more powerful retort to Stuart’s assertion.

  14. Mailyn
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 12:46:09

    LMAO at Saintcrow and her TSTL Dante. I agreed 110% when I posted about that novel. I don’t care when authors explain the good and bad of their business, it’s their right. What I do care is when they try and talk down to the readers, pretending we are dumb because we just don’t get it, etc. The worse of it is when the author tells the readers we are living in a happy world and that’s why we dislike the sad or dark endings. I don’t know what world they live on but this one here on Earth sucks for a lot of people. Do they even watch the news???

    Great post!

  15. AngieW
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 12:50:14

    Are you saying, though, that the lambasters are speaking in place of the publisher?

    No, not at all. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m saying that in cases like this, it’s easier for everyone else to jump on the bandwagon and have their say, but rarely will the “injured” party speak out because it wouldn’t look much better for them to do so than for the person/party who originally “started it” (lol, that felt so grade school).

    So you’ll hear opinions and outcry from everyone under the sun except the one whose reaction really matters. Are they taking the high road? Eh. Probably just the more professionally respectable road. Because it’s just not usually good business to air your dirty laundry, as much as you might want to deliver a smackdown. And I suppose that’s the lesson here. Often, biting your tongue is painful and sucks, but what positives can come from the alternative? Is anyone going to respect her publisher more if they come forward and publically denounce her? A few people might, but I suspect the majority would be just as appalled at that action. Of course, that’s just speculation ;)

  16. Nancy
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 12:50:28

    Jeez.

    Do I *really* think Ms. Stuart’s contract is going to be cancelled? Of course not – obviously, she’s made quite a bit of money for her publishers, and they’re not going to be that dumb.

    The main point of my post (which you don’t seem to have a problem with), is that I thought Ms. Stuart was being a bit unprofessional. (And I did think her “goddess” remark was funny.) As I stated in that post, I work in a corporate office and sometimes have to deal with people I don’t necessarily like – but I have to work with them every day, so I grin and bear it; I save the bitching and moaning for my hubby, or for the car, on the commute home. ;-)

    I sincerely apologize if you or Ms. Stuart are offended by a stupid, silly take on a verfication word (something I’ve done on other blogs, whenever the word that pops up is particularly weird or funny).

    Have a nice day. :-)

    http://writerlystuff.blogspot.com

  17. Robin
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 13:05:24

    Often, biting your tongue is painful and sucks, but what positives can come from the alternative?

    In many cases, I think the answer is “none,” but in this case I think something good *could* come of this if Stuart’s actual point was the subject of discussion instead of the manner and forum in which she said it. I find the tension between the artistic ideals of the author and the business priorities of the publisher to be pretty interesting, even though the response I seem to see most is along the lines of, “Of course publishing’s a business — get over yourself already!” But is there a balance that’s not being kept in check? Do authors have the right to want passion from their editors and publishers? Is it such a great thing that authors can be “blacklisted” for having their comments launched across the Internet, especially when they didn’t intend for that to happen? Do readers, who have long been loyal to Stuart because she IS a unique voice in the genre, have the right to expect passion from authors, publishers, and editors? Do most readers even care about all that stuff? Is a book better or more popular when a publisher passionately markets it? I think all of this and more is beind Stuart’s complaint, but unfortunately none of it is being discussed because people are so horrified by the fact that she broke a taboo (and I can see this one from both sides of the fence, even though I think there was a negative overreaction to Stuart’s comments).

  18. Nora Roberts
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 13:43:42

    I like A.S. personally and professionally, so I’m not going to use her specifically as an example.

    But let’s say author Jane Smith blogs about or gives an answer in an interview that takes a shot at her publisher. That claims her current publisher, or her past publishers did a poor job with her, didn’t appreciate her work, etc. I feel Jane’s made a discretionary mistake–but that’s my opinion. However, Jane’s statement is still going to be Jane’s viewpoint only. Those reading the blog or the interview will only have her statements, her side–and the publisher is almost never, never, never going to respond in a public forum. Ergo, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will get the full picture from both viewpoints. So, really, all you have is an author who expresses her view and her dissatisfaction with how she’s been or is being published.

    Lots and lots of authors are going to be dissatisfied about various elements of how they’re published, to varing degrees. Some may have valid points, others won’t. And why is any of that the readers’ business?

    As I said before, the Internet is a marvelous tool. But it’s all in how the tool is utilized. Say if I were unhappy about my last contract negotiation, or felt marketing fell down on the job in some area. Why would I tell the virtual world my business? I don’t find that honest and forthright. If I want to be honest and forthright, and I have a problem with negotiations, I’ll talk to my agent. Not my readership.

    As for lambasting, it doesn’t seem to me any party deserves it in this particular case. Not A.S., the publisher, the readers, the bloggers. Because again, the entire matter whittles down to opinion. And everyone’s entitled.

  19. LinM
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 13:47:35

    I have to confess that I am an Anne Stuart fan so my comments are definitely biased. Her publisher was probably well aware of what they were getting from the beginning.

    Based on her entry today at StoryBroads, I suspect that there is a lot of backstory that we are not seeing. It doesn’t sound like she is complaining about MIRA in general; just specific problems that occurred with the release of the current book.

  20. Robin
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 13:59:19

    Lots and lots of authors are going to be dissatisfied about various elements of how they’re published, to varing degrees. Some may have valid points, others won’t. And why is any of that the readers’ business?

    This is really the double edge to blogging, interviewing, commenting, and otherwise ranting and raving on the Internet, isn’t it? Because opinions offered in a public space are gonig to get public review and comment. Opinions offered on a reader board are especially going to get reader opinion. As to whether it is or isn’t a reader’s business? My answer depends on whether you mean “it’s none of your business” or “this is part of the relationship between author and publisher and they are the ones who count.” If you mean the first, then I’d say as soon as you complain to readers you make it their business. If you mean the second, I’d say that I agree with you and that ultimately it’s between Stuart and Mira as to how each is handling and being handled in that relationship. Either way, though, Stuart’s comments were offered in such a blatantly public way that reader comments are not only inevitable, but IMO invited in this situation. So wheher or not we’re involved, IMO readers have become interested as both witnesses to Stuart’s remarks and targets of the publishing industry.

  21. Nora Roberts
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 14:06:15

    ~As to whether it is or isn’t a reader’s business? My answer depends on whether you mean “it’s none of your business" or “this is part of the relationship between author and publisher and they are the ones who count." If you mean the first, then I’d say as soon as you complain to readers you make it their business. If you mean the second, I’d say that I agree with you and that ultimately it’s between Stuart and Mira as to how each is handling and being handled in that relationship. ~

    I absolutely agree. If I complain to readers, I’ve made it the readers’ business. Because I’m unlikely to do this, I’m speaking of the second.

    I also agree that once the statement or complaint was made on a reader board, reader comment was inevitable–and justified.

  22. Jane
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 15:57:07

    TM – I think part of the reason I wasn’t outraged or even surprised by Anne Stuart’s comments were because I think she is just echoing what I have perceived for a while that publishing is less about the book and more about a commodity. One of the authors over at Snark’s blog stated that he felt his book was like a box of cereal. “Marketing has more in common with selling groceries than promoting the author’s neat turn of phrase.”

    It’s a little different riff than Laura Kinsale’s belief that books should be treated like art. I don’t know where I fall amonst those beliefs.

    I hear ya on the Joyce thing. ;) Dunno what was going on with the contact button. Thanks for trying though.

    Nora Roberts – I know that saying “shut up and write” is provocative. But at times, that’s how readers feel. Perhaps it is a better thing to say “wow, those are interesting comments, but I really wish you would spend time writing your great books.” Not the same impact, though.

    Maybe MIRA needs a shake up and that was Stuart’s point. Or maybe she just is indiscreet. She’s been in the biz for so long, though, I don’t see her being indiscreet for no reason or maybe she feels that she doesn’t care what happens.

    Nonny – I wonder if it is different because Stuart has such a large body of work and she is a decent seller (at least she seems like a decent seller). I can’t believe that no publisher would pick her up if she was difficult so long as she sold. Because when it comes down to it, doesn’t money talk?

    DebR – I admired her honesty too. I’m really trying to balance that against how I feel when I read MJD’s comments or PC Cast’s comments this summer or even Lilith Saintcrow’s and I felt like it came down to who the honesty was being aimed at.

    May – so you aren’t going to add this to your repertoire of dos? I don’t really want authors to shut and and write all the time either. I would have nothing to blog about then.

    Angie W – I figured that Anne Stuart may have been looking for sympathy. And she gets it from the readers. Affirmation, baby, Affirmation. (which is what Tony Cornheiser would say on his radio show all the time).

    Robin – I disagree with you on the second paragraph of your post re: authors clarifying points in their book. My opinion is that if it is not clearly defined in the book to the extent that some readers don’t get it, the author failed for those readers. Readers shouldn’t have to read an author’s subsequent blog post to understand the book. Those types of posts make the reader feel stupid. That’s how I felt with Eloisa James’ spoiler trail and that is how Tara Marie felt with Lydia Joyce’s “You are seeing things that weren’t in the book” post.

    Southern Writer – yep, I do think that your post about taking Anne Stuart’s publishing spot was distasteful, but that’s just my opinion.

    Mailyn – You are still not getting it. Lilith Saintcrow says that the great truth is facing the bad things that are happening in the world. Just admit you like the saccharine Hallmark abominations and get on with life, you ostrich, you.

    Nancy – I don’t see the same analogy (although its been made before) between author/publisher and employee/employer because the shameful remarks by other authors toward readers (cursing and calling them names) seem to be greater grounds for “dismissal” than saying “I’m disappointed in my publisher’s efforts.” No apologies are necessary.

    LinM – I admitted to my bias too. I think what frames our view affects our viewpoints.

    And as for whether its the readers business? Probably not, but I am not going to lie and pretend like I am not avidly curious about all these things. Maybe that’s part of my bias too.

  23. Alison Kent
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 16:21:05

    [quote comment="6638"] My opinion is that if it is not clearly defined in the book to the extent that some readers don’t get it, the author failed for those readers. Readers shouldn’t have to read an author’s subsequent blog post to understand the book. Those types of posts make the reader feel stupid. [/quote]

    This makes me think of the tv show LOST. The average viewer (that would be me) never picks up half the subtleties in the show. There is subtext, and there are hints, and there are connections that are discussed on message boards that blow me away – and, yeah. Make me feel stupid for not getting it.

    Does that mean the show failed? I don’t think so. Does it mean I *am* stupid? I don’t think so. :) Do I hate that I don’t get it when viewing through the first time and have to have it pointed out to me by those who fanatically check the online discussions? Oh yeah. But it’s not going to make me stop watching!

  24. Monica
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 16:38:12

    I think Stuart’s public remarks were unwise only because she disses folks who can actually hurt her.

    If I talk about readers who don’t read the sort of work I write, and never will because of their inherent bias, no matter how much they sputter and fume, so frickin’ what? They never were going to read my work in the first place and wouldn’t buy any author who resembles me anyway. So now they know my name and can selectively avoid my work, whilst before they’d ignore me just because. Ha! I feel pretty free dissing those folk. They have no relation to my bottom line or to my success.

    My readers? They are gorgeous, savvy, bloomin’ geniuses with impeccable taste. Super nice, they have great manners and always smell good too.

  25. Jane
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 16:45:52

    Lin M – thanks for the heads up re: the Anne Stuart blog post at Story Broads. Am I the only one who thinks the pairing of “I hate George Dubya” Stuart and “I am the leader of the 2005 RWA debacle” Quinn is so odd as to seem improbable?

    And she is now No. 33 on the NYT bestseller list for Cold as Ice.

  26. Robin
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 16:55:52

    My opinion is that if it is not clearly defined in the book to the extent that some readers don’t get it, the author failed for those readers. Readers shouldn’t have to read an author’s subsequent blog post to understand the book. Those types of posts make the reader feel stupid. That’s how I felt with Eloisa James’ spoiler trail and that is how Tara Marie felt with Lydia Joyce’s “You are seeing things that weren’t in the book" post

    I almost put a sentence at the end of that paragraph indicating that I wasn’t talking about episodes like the Eloisa James or Lydia Joyce situations. You may still disagree with me on this one, but I was thinking more like when a reader says, “hey, you can’t have a heroine who’s a lawyer at this time and place,” and the author clarfies that yes, her research found that there were, indeed lawyers around in such a time and place, or, no she took total license there. Or when a reader directly asks a question about a character’s background — was such and such possible, did stuff like that really exist? The reason I like that stuff is that it provides me with a sense that the author really did (or didn’t!) do the research, and sometimes I learn something new. But that’s probably because I really take the history seriously in historical Romance. I don’t read Eloisa James, but I think that whole deal probably would have frustrated me as it did other readers. And having read Lydia Joyce’s “defense” it felt pretty defensive to me, as well. I agree with you there, for sure.

  27. Miki S
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 18:40:11

    Two thoughts on this discussion:

    First, maybe I’m missing something, but given the tongue-in-cheek tone of Stuart’s comments, I just didn’t seem them as being as negative as some other have here. Her comments seemed more ironic – like when I tell people not to get in line behind me at a check-out counter but it’s almost a guarantee that someone in front of me will need a price-check or something!

    Second, about an author giving clarification on a point. I’ve actually emailed more than one author for clarification. There have been points that I thought were poorly made – the author was too aware of the backstory and didn’t share enough. And after reading their justifications or explanations, I still think the writing was weak in those instances.

    But there were also points where I must have been skimming, or just “boneheaded” myself! When the author pointed out sections I’d obviously missed that made a character’s choices make sense, well, I just had to say “doh! how did I miss that?!”

    So I don’t mind a bit of clarification – however, while I’m allowed to call myself a “bonehead”, I’d really prefer the author doesn’t – at least, not in public!

  28. Lydia Joyce
    Nov 06, 2006 @ 22:56:44

    Um. No. I’m saying, “You’re bringing something from the outside into my book.” And they were–they were reading things that simply weren’t there. There’s a WORLD of difference between saying that and stating that you’re too stupid to understand what I wrote. If I meant that, I’d say it–or rather, I’d just ignore you. But I didn’t mean that, and so I didn’t say it. You also forget that it was a PUBLISHED REVIEW. This is held to a different standard than the comment of a general reader who simply had some sort of problem with the book. I respond much less frequently to the second (including praise), even when I DO respect the individual giving a well-considered opinion. Why? For the same reason that it wouldn’t be fair to treat a published novel and someone’s webpage of fanfic the same way. A novel’s fair game. And so is a major review source.

    What do I mean about reading things into a book? Lessee…someone has already declared that he will lock you up for the rest of your natural life rather than let you (and your money) leave, and so when you find out that he’s planning on stealing more of your money, you…yell at him? Because that will make him NOT lock you up?

    Yes, if this were a typical romance, Alcy could argue with Dumitru, because in typical romances, there IS NO REAL RISK. It’s all an illusion. Really, the hero is a good, sweet guy, and he wouldn’t actually sleep around or lock someone up or whatever. Faux ho! Fake rake! It’s all tissue paper costumes and tin foil swords!

    But guess what? If you go in with those kind of expectations, you’re going to be disappointed in my books EVERY SINGLE TIME. I don’t write that way. I refuse to.

    In my books, there is a real risk. Alcy COULD have been locked up for a year or longer. Sarah MIGHT have ended up at a half-starved whore on the streets of Venice–or, hell, she could have drowned in a canal. Victoria COULD have ended up a cripple or could have just turned back to her old life, leaving Byron and everything at Raeburn behind her. Very, very nasty things can–and often enough do–happen to my characters. It isn’t some sort of pretence of risk. It’s not a GAME–there’s no bluff to call. The characters are gambling with their futures, and just because it IS a romance and it will end happily doesn’t mean such an ending is foreordained no matter what path they choose. It’s about not selling the reader short.

    Yes, there are some people who are “too stupid” to understand my books. But they don’t bring up a particular plot point they don’t like. They complain that none of it makes sense and that there are so many big, confusing words that the books are IMPOSSIBLE to understand. These people just aren’t my readers. I’m destined to piss them off just by having “big words” in a book.

    At some point, EVERY writer must decide who her audience is, whether she’s deciding that she doesn’t care about people who are anal about history or she doesn’t care about people who like a fairly basic vocabulary. I could stand around and simper about how “my books are for everyone,” but if I did that, I’d be a liar. No one’s books are for everyone, and there’s not an author alive who truly believes that they are.

    My books aren’t for people who don’t like dark romances. They aren’t for people who can’t believe in love. They aren’t for people who demand that their heroines always be nice. They aren’t for a great number of people. If honesty about the writing process and writing choices are a problem for you, you can find someone who will lie through her teeth and smile and hand out peppermints with pictures of her book cover on them in a desperate hope that you’ll like them, as if life were a popularity contest. I’m not like that. I don’t do the sugary crap. It turns my stomach. I respect my readers too much to treat them like that.

    As far as “stupid” readers go–those people I ignore publicly. Why would I waste my breath talking about people who aren’t even in my audience? Why would I want to, when what I really want is to snatch my book out of their hands and forbid them from ever coming within 100 yards of another one?

    If I address something publicly, it’s because I respect a person’s opinion enough talk about it. I am frank about things actually I mess up or don’t portray clearly–I loathe the epilogue to MUSIC OF THE NIGHT, and I am horribly frustrated that I left out something really important from the book in the edits. (Amusingly enough, there is a big logistical “error” in one of my books that I’m waiting for someone to catch, but no one’s mentioned it anywhere. I knew it didn’t work physically when I wrote it, but it worked too well for the story to remove, and so I said to hell with physics and left it in.) I hardly think I’m flawless. But readers can be mistaken sometimes, too-believe it or not.

    Was I unrealistic because I didn’t not pound in the realities of Alcy’s situation, assuming that readers would take my book as I had written it, without hauling in the baggage of their past experiences in the genre? Maybe. But I cannot change the way I approach my books because of fear that a few readers—yes, a few of *my* readers, my target audience–might misunderstand part of my book part of the time. That would turn my books into everything *I* hate as a reader–constant repetition, unceasing over-explanation, and overall, a condescending, wearisome tone.

    Even the readers who misunderstand ONE element in ONE particular book would find such a change frustrating because just because the reader didn’t “get” ONE element doesn’t mean that she didn’t get ten others without them being beaten into the ground, and each person who misunderstands something will likely misunderstand something different.

    I don’t expect my readers to be brilliant. They are, however, not stupid. My attitude isn’t about arrogance. It’s about respect. I can either treat people like idiots and write to them like babies, or I can treat them like reasonably intelligent people and risk occasionally confusing an intelligent person as a result–particularly an intelligent person who’s used to being treated like a baby most of the time, anyway.

    Yeah, I’m smart, and I got sick to death of hiding it along time ago. I refuse to do it anymore because it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of or hated for, and I hope that my standing up will help others who have faced discrimination, too. (I guess I’m still too much of a hypocrite to post my IQ range, but I can still hope that the day will come when it won’t be any different than dress or shoe size.) There is nothing in the world wrong with being smart any more than there’s something wrong with having blue eyes or brown skin, and it is NOT “showing off" to refrain from talking down to people any more than it is showing off for a tall person not to stoop. I’m 5’6″, too, and 128lbs! So frigging what? My height doesn’t make you any taller or shorter, nor does my intelligence make you any smarter or dumber. If I were 6′ tall, a 5’8″ woman would still be pretty tall, even if I were still taller. If I were 5′ tall, a 5’4″ woman would still be pretty short, even if I were still shorter. Same for weight. Same for intelligence. But this has almost nothing to do with my writing. I write ROMANCE, not self-absorbed navel-gazing “literary" fiction designed to glorify my own ego. I write for other people—a large audience of other people. Not for all other people, true, but I still write for *most* romance readers, even throwing in my not-nice heroines and my dark romances.

    I’m not trying to write books that trick people. Sure, you have to be “this tall to ride,” but that’s only because teacup-and-saucer rides just aren’t that exciting to many readers after a while–including me, and I’m not going to write books I wouldn’t want to read! There are difficulties, of course. If you’re used to mostly teacup-and-saucer rides, there might be some things on a roller coaster that don’t seem to make much sense at first (why isn’t it going around and around?), and since I’m trying to build a roller coaster, which is harder to do, there might also be a jagged turn here or there that isn’t done as smoothly as it should be when a teacup-and-saucer ride done with the same level of skill would be seamless. Any exclusionary steps I might take aren’t as a result of my hating “short” people but because, overall, I want to give a more exciting ride, even if it does leave a few people out. And I’m just not pretending that teacups-and-saucers will cut it for everyone.

    The bottom line is that I talk about certain reviewers and about certain reviewers’ problems with my books because I assume that they’re intelligent, level-headed, generally sensible people. I talk because I respect them enough to do so. You’ll know if I think you’re an idiot–because I just won’t speak about anything you say.

    And, BTW, even though I wouldn’t do what Krissie did, I still like her immensely for it. I can’t help but find someone honest incredibly refreshing.

  29. Lydia Joyce
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 00:00:25

    BTW, when I made that post, I was honestly and utterly mystified by Cheryl’s insistence that my characters should talk it out because it made as much sense to me as if she’d said that two people trapped in a cave surrounded by rabid wolves should “just walk out.” My attitude was complete confusion, not defensiveness. It was a couple of weeks before I thought about other stories in which one person or another runs away, and I realized what pattern she was applying to my book. *shrugs* Still, doesn’t make it make one lick more sense in the context of the story. And what sins other writers may or may not have committed aren’t going to make me bastardize a story that works at it is, though it would have been better if I had anticipated that kind of projection.

    There is ALWAYS a chance of being misunderstood, but I’d rather be misunderstood by a reader than beat a reader over the head with everything. If the book doesn’t work for a few people for that reason, then, oh, well. Every choice has consequences, and maybe they’ll like the next one better, and I won’t alienate my other readers by being so HEAVY-HANDED about everything.

    Again, it’s a taste issue. I can’t stand heavy-handed books. To me, that’s a far worse problem than confusing a few readers. So it’s not a choice that I’m going to change in the future.

  30. Jane
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 00:23:59

    Ms. Joyce, I am tired and about to go to bed so I am not going to respond to everything you said tonight. I will try to work up a cogent reply tomorrow. I want you to know that I like your books. I think you are a valuable addition to the current romance genre. But I do think that, intentionally or not, you are insulting readers when you say things like this:

    Yes, if this were a typical romance, Alcy could argue with Dumitru, because in typical romances, there IS NO REAL RISK. It’s all an illusion. Really, the hero is a good, sweet guy, and he wouldn’t actually sleep around or lock someone up or whatever. Faux ho! Fake rake! It’s all tissue paper costumes and tin foil swords!

    But guess what? If you go in with those kind of expectations, you’re going to be disappointed in my books EVERY SINGLE TIME. I don’t write that way. I refuse to.

    What I hear you say or understand you to say is that when a reader is disappointed with what you say, its because our expectations are so limited in scope and that we require/desire only rote responses from the characters in the books we read. Most of your post reads to me that you are not only smarter than everyone, but also a better writer than most everyone because your stuff is challenging and dark and wonderful and whatever. And those who don’t like your books just don’t like challenging and dark and wonderful books. It is possible, with my diminished nighttime brain power and my tired eyes, that I do not get your post.

    And I have to say, since when are smart people discriminated against? I didn’t realize that smart people were being disenfrachised. Speaking of voting, go vote tomorrow people.

  31. illyria
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 01:12:30

    …in typical romances, there IS NO REAL RISK. It’s all an illusion. Really, the hero is a good, sweet guy, and he wouldn’t actually sleep around or lock someone up or whatever. Faux ho! Fake rake! It’s all tissue paper costumes and tin foil swords!

    But guess what? If you go in with those kind of expectations, you’re going to be disappointed in my books EVERY SINGLE TIME. I don’t write that way. I refuse to.

    …and just because it IS a romance and it will end happily doesn’t mean such an ending is foreordained no matter what path they choose. It’s about not selling the reader short.

    I think unless you pull a Joss Whedon or don’t end with a HEA, there wouldn’t be much risk either with your books; it’s still an illusion. There have been very few romance novels where I wonder as I’m reading how the author is going to pull off a HEA and make it feel right. (And it’s different from wanting to throw the book against a wall because whatever’s keeping the h/h apart seems so artificial or manipulative of the reader’s/my emotions.)

    If a HEA is required of the genre (and it seems to me that it is, or the book wouldn’t be considered a romance novel), then the reader knows that no matter what happens there will still be a happy ending. All that’s left is how one gets there – and to wrap up an extremely dark character with a HEA I would think wouldn’t really ring true. Also, how dark or risky can a story or character (who’s not evil) get if there has to be a HEA (that fits the story)?

    But then I’ve only read “The Music of the Night”. Maybe the other ones end without a HEA or with more ambiguity.

  32. Robin
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 01:27:53

    My attitude was complete confusion, not defensiveness. It was a couple of weeks before I thought about other stories in which one person or another runs away, and I realized what pattern she was applying to my book. *shrugs* Still, doesn’t make it make one lick more sense in the context of the story. And what sins other writers may or may not have committed aren’t going to make me bastardize a story that works at it is, though it would have been better if I had anticipated that kind of projection.

    FWIW, this is the kind of statement that sets my teeth on edge as a reader. Because what it says *to me* is that you realize you need to make allowances for readers who just don’t get your incredibly perfect vision for your book. And really, I understand this sentiment — when someone interprets something I write differently than I meant it, I often think that person is just dead wrong. Such is the nature of being an author and having a strong vision. I love that you have such a strong vision of your work and a passionate belief in its integrity, and I wish more authors saw themselves as primarily *writers*. But in the same way that you perhaps feel that I or others have misinterpreted your tone in responding to Cheryl’s review, I would submit that what you are arguing about with her review ultimately boils down to a question of interpretation, not projection (except in so far as *all* interpretation entails some element of projection). You see what you wrote clearly and in one way; you don’t understand how someone could see it differently. I think all readers can share this sensibility. When, for example, I see readers express their disdain for Rachel’s behavior toward Gabriel in the second half of Sharon Shinn’s Archangel, I think, “you fools — don’t you see that she was a slave, that she lost everything, that it’s so much more realistic to have her be scared and brittle?” So that book has a certain truth for me, and a very different truth to other readers, who, I’m sure, feel just as strongly that their vision of the characters is absolutely clear and indisputable. Yes any of us may be able to understand that others can see something differently, but we may not be able to wrap our own minds around how they arrived as such and such a conclusion.

    I’ve read everything you wrote about this here and one your website in that one post Jane linked to from here, and for the most part, unless Cheryl had suggested that you bring in those animatronic monkeys you surely stashed off page to settle the problems like any rational animatronic monkeys would, I really think you’re addressing a legitimate difference of opinion. I understand that you are asserting that the way you’ve drawn the characters makes it impossible for her to see it that way, and maybe 99 out of 100 readers agree with you. Maybe you’re “right” — for whatever that’s worth when it comes to people liking and buying your books. But it’s fiction, and it’s a story, and the pieces can come together slightly different for different readers, IMO, without it being a clear case of projection. Frankly, there isn’t enough in Cheryl’s review for me to see the importation so clearly; in fact, she sees the characters constructed in such a way as to support her point. If she had said something like “real people act this way,” then I’d be on board with the pure projection assertion. But again, even if you think she’s dead wrong, to say it must be projection does, IMO, create the perception of a subordinated position for that reader, even if that perception is ultimately an “illusion” based on your intentions in making the points you did.

  33. Keishon
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 01:58:38

    Yes, there are some people who are “too stupid" to understand my books. But they don’t bring up a particular plot point they don’t like. They complain that none of it makes sense and that there are so many big, confusing words that the books are IMPOSSIBLE to understand. These people just aren’t my readers. I’m destined to piss them off just by having “big words" in a book.

    Insulting readers left and right. Way to go.

  34. Alison Kent
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 05:55:06

    [quote comment="6689"] I wish more authors saw themselves as primarily *writers*. [/quote]

    Robin – Would you explain more of what you mean by this?

  35. Shannon
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 09:42:05

    [quote comment="6699"]
    Insulting readers left and right. Way to go.[/quote]

    And her peers, as well. Although, Ms. Joyce doesn’t seem to consider her fellow romance authors her “peers”, now does she? Maybe the air’s thinner up in that tower.

    Perhaps more of us should shut up and write. Gotta keep that sugary crap flowing, you know.

  36. Monica
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 09:46:15

  37. Jane
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 10:00:33

    Ms. Joyce – I re read your comments this morning and decided that you just aren’t worth the effort to respond. Your comments speak volumes for themselves. Given the immense brain power you have, you must realize that the comment you made yesterday was one that insulted, oh, virtually every corner of the online romance world.

  38. Tara Marie
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 11:10:12

    My first reaction to Ms. Joyce’s comments was something incredibly sarcastic and probably not very nice, but when left to think things over, Ms. Joyce has managed to completely prove Jane’s point.

  39. sybil
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 14:30:22

    Yes I would love to tell some authors to shut up and write but at the same time I am sure some authors would love to tell us to shut up and read.

    And we would both be right *g*.

    I ADORE Anne Stuart. And have only read one book by her. I think Nora Roberts is beyond fab and have never read a book by her. I think Lydia Joyce needs to have her internet connection taken away from her and I liked her first book.

    All those opinions were formed from things I have read by each of those authors online. Does that mean I would never read Joyce again? No not really, or at least not yet. I have all her books. Of course I haven’t paid for the last two. And I would never buy her again new.

    In the case of Stuart… isn’t this pretty normal for her? I don’t think she has done something new or different with this interview. And omg I was so in shock when I saw who was on that blog. LOL I think I posted something long the lines of ‘one of these things does not belong’ *g*.

  40. Bev (BB)
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 14:39:14

    First there’s this:

    [quote comment="6677"]As far as “stupid” readers go–those people I ignore publicly. Why would I waste my breath talking about people who aren’t even in my audience? [/quote]

    And then there’s this:

    I don’t expect my readers to be brilliant. They are, however, not stupid.

    And I can’t help wondering if it somehow messes up the rules of the universe if the roles get reversed and a smart person decides not to read the books either. Whatever.

    And how does one figure out just how smart people are if one ignores them on principle. Another puzzle for the ages. Oh, well.

    My attitude isn’t about arrogance. It’s about respect. I can either treat people like idiots and write to them like babies, or I can treat them like reasonably intelligent people and risk occasionally confusing an intelligent person as a result-particularly an intelligent person who’s used to being treated like a baby most of the time, anyway.

    Hmmm, seems to me it might not be enough to treat people with this “respect” within one’s books. One might also consider doing it elsewhere in other communication. Just to keep from confusing anyone and everyone.

  41. Robin
    Nov 07, 2006 @ 20:56:10

    I wish more authors saw themselves as primarily *writers*.

    Robin – Would you explain more of what you mean by this?

    All I mean, Alison, is that I think there’s a substantive difference between someone who sees themselves as writing books and someone who thinks of themselves as a writer. The first is something you do, but the second is something you are. Anyone, IMO, can author something (I’m not commenting on quality here, just the act of placing one’s name on work one has done), but when someone thinks of themselves as a writer, when writing is literally part of their sense of personal identity, I think the work is informed from somewhere deeper, somewhere more personal and personally authentic. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that any writer is a *good* writer, but I think it does communicate a certain passion that comes from the place where one feels *compelled* to write. It doesn’t have to be all flowery or sentimental; IMO a writer can still see their work in a business-oriented or professional light. But I tend to enjoy books that have a strong voice, and IMO that voice comes from a strong sense of identification with the act of writing even more than the actual piece being produced. I know I’m rambling a little, but I’m tired and have a cold (and I have to leave for Mexico in less than 48 hours, so I’m crazed with getting ready to go), so hopefully there is at least one coherent sentence here.

  42. Maggie Robinson
    Nov 12, 2006 @ 11:08:20

    “Diplomacy consists in thinking twice before saying nothing.”

    If only we could all keep that in mind…

  43. kyahgirl
    Nov 13, 2006 @ 10:03:12

    Hiya, I’m just dropping in from Mailyn’s blog.
    This is an interesting and kind of tricky topic. The Internet has opened up a whole big world of interaction that just wasn’t there in the past. In order to pubicly state your opinion in the gool ol’ days you’d have to go to the trouble to write a letter to a newspaper or journal. Now, its a free for all.

    I don’t think anyone should tell author’s to ‘shut up and write’ because they are people too and have the same rights as the rest of us to blog, or comment, or state their opinions. On the other hand, I think everyone should behave like a professional with respect to their livelihood. That includes Authors.

    what makes it tough is that by being a writer, you’re putting ‘yourself’ and your work out there on the line. I think that makes author’s vulnerable and people should be tactful and thoughtful when and if they comment on the writing. No one except my colleagues (all 45,000) has access to my work but I’d feel pretty bad if any Tom, Dick, or Harry starting slinging crap at me based on it.

    My approach to authors has to take advantage of their e-mail address they always give in their books and write to them if I want to comment to them. I’ve been suprised by the few times I’ve done it and the fact that they usually reply.

  44. SandyC
    Nov 18, 2006 @ 02:09:54

    I don’t think Stuart’s comments were out of line. From other authors I have heard the same thing she is saying in this interview, so I can’t understand what the big deal is here. She is speaking about something we have all known about for a while now. More importantly, many fellow readers I have talked to feel the results of what she talked about.

    She wasn’t saying that the publisher was screwing her,cheating her or any other such MAJOR accusation. She simply said that sometimes she feels like the publisher simply treats her like a number. It was discouraging to her and I can see how it would be.

    Readers are interested in this industry. Some readers, like me, feel that the midlist industry is all about formula’s. Rarely do I find an author willing AND ALLOWED to take a chance and be truly creative.

    I see Stuart’s comments as another indication that there are some major problems with the industry today. As a reader, I know there are. Most of my fav authors, with the exclusion of Ms. Roberts, are only putting out 1 book a year. And many like Katherine Sutcliffe are simply disappearing from the scene altogether. My autobuy list has dwindled to almost nothing. I buy approximately 50% less books today than I did 5 years ago.

    Oh, for major bestselling authors who truly have power at this point, this would not be a problem. But authors that are still on that level for which ms. Stuart represents, and she actually feels this way, how do the midlist or new authors feel?

    Do I think she is going to be “dressed down” for making those comments. I doubt it. Because the industry is truly about the numbers. As long as she is selling, I doubt seriously if anything will be done.

    I am more concerned with the comments from the fringe of the industry, fellow authors, agents etc. It smacks of “don’t let on how the industry operates” “don’t reveal the problems the industry has”. That bothers me because as a reader, how is it ever going to get better if someone is always trying to shut up those that are willing to talk about its problems openly and in good form.

  45. Rebecca Donna Tricolli
    Nov 20, 2006 @ 11:38:42

    This stuff is unbelievable. Miss Snark is definitely not an agent. She has WAY too much time on her hands. Who the hell’s supposed to be on her client roster? Stephen King? Even then she should be too busy handling his business to blog all day everyday.

    The way these idiots are ripping into Anne is much the way people like Ed Champion are ripping into Millenia Black for speaking out and for suing her publisher. It’s outrageous. And when Monica Jackson jumped in (one of the few to openly speak up in defense of MB) they started attacking her too. These people really need more fearless souls to put them in their place.

    Poor Anne and Millenia.

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  47. ‘The difference between a person who writes and a person who thinks of themself as a writer » A novel idea
    May 08, 2011 @ 05:26:36

    […] read a blog post over at Dear Author recently. The post was called “Should Authors Shut Up and Write“ —interesting enough in itself, but one of the comments in reply to the post reminded […]

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