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Holly Lisle Claims She Does Not Hate Chains

Holly Lisle has contacted me and accused us of engaging in libel. She has claimed that we have lied and misconstrued her statements in the post that was published last week. We suggest that you readers, if you have any question in your mind about what she said, read her blog posts here, here and here. Dear Author does not believe in succumbing to intimidation and threats. We know that the First Amendment and subsequent case law interpreting the First Amendment protects us from challenges to our right to post our views and opinions. We remain committed to protecting this site from censorship and from any attempts to stifle our legitimate voice.

We did get one fact wrong. In the original post, I stated that Holly Lisle’s career was in danger. Holly Lisle has kindly informed us that she is in no danger of having her career killed at the moment.

Ms. Lisle has emailed me a laundry list of complaints and accusations which I invite her to post on her own blog or I will post them here, if she likes.

EDITED TO ADD: Ms. Lisle did post her reply.

Later today, my OPINIONS of good v. bad marketing.

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

65 Comments

  1. FerfeLaBat
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 09:28:18

    This is a subject I would like to know a LOT more about but few web dwellers discuss it. Laurie Gold blogged about obtaining insurance against lawsuits for AAR. I had never heard about that kind of insurance. Having been sued by someone (details are so ludicrous you wouldn’t believe me if I told you) for a non-author website I also run, I definitely could have used the insurance. I would like to find out more on what they cover and how to get coverage because I seldom filter my blog or websites regarding potential liability.

    I like checking into your blog and I don’t want to see it changed or killed so this one instance I am reversing one of my long standing policies about not offering my opinion and advice unless it is directly solicited.

    A. Revealing the gist of a private email exchange is not a great way to diffuse a potentially actionable dispute and it can be used in court.

    B. Anyone can sue you for any reason at any time in the U.S. Please take this potential threat that has been made seriously. Just because you believe you did nothing wrong does not mean you shouldn’t take steps to head off getting lawyers involved in what should be an agreement to disagree with a polite post to shake hands and clear the air.

    C. Some fights online are a lot of fun to escalate because both parties are just basically bored and batting at each other with no real ammo. THIS one looks like the ammo is locked and loaded and absolutely no one will come out a winner if shots actually get fired.

    Egress. Egress. Egress.

    I would say the same to Holly but I don’t have a WordPress account to comment on her blog.

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  2. Holly Lisle
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 09:42:17

    Here’s the complete, unedited (including typos by both parties) correspondence.

    You’ll notice that in this entire exchange, I have never threatened Ms. Little once. I have never suggested suing or seeking to have her site shut down. I have, in fact, done nothing but ask for a much-deserved apology and a retraction.

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  3. TJ
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 10:20:56

    Wow!

    You sure missed the boat on this one. Holly never once suggested libel or a lawsuit. She simply said you got all the facts wrong, and thought an apology was in order. Your reading comprehension is a little off.

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  4. Nandini
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 11:26:00

    I think you misread Lisle’s post the first time around and thought it referred to romance novel sales and individual booksellers rather than the ordering system used, and that’s the source of the confusion. And I really can’t see why you thought she was going to sue you.

    You make excellent points in your own post, however, so Lisle’s demand of a complete retraction sounds weird… But I do think you owe her a post with the necessary clarifications and an apology. Think about it. To misread is not a big deal, it happens to everyone. The right thing to do is own up and move on.

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  5. Shay
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 11:43:08

    Mmmm…to be honest, I don’t understand the snafu seeing as how I–nor anyone else I assume–saw the Ja(y)nes as calling Lisle a liar: I simple saw them as presenting their POV based on their own knowledge and experience.

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  6. Kat
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 11:43:08

    Ooh, I love a good hissy fit!

    All the rhetoric aside, I thought your original post did a good job of stimulating conversation about readers’ buying habits, which was the more interesting issue for me.

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  7. Carrie
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 11:29:24

    Huh. I don’t even know what to say about this one, other than that the whole thing seems blown woefully out-of-proportion.

    “Actually, there’s a term for what that writer did when claiming I said things I did not say, and it isn’t “idiot,”? and it would best be explored by lawyers.”
    (Taken from Holly’s entry here)

    That statement followed up by the email Holly sent (as she herself revealed in her entry here) would certainly suggest a lawsuit to me. (Though I can’t speak for the authors of this site, of course.)

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  8. Robin
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 14:14:10

    I’ve read all the posts on this, including the reader comments, and I think for me the original disconnect occurs where Lisle characterizes DA’s commentary as “misrepresent[ation]” and “lies.” While it’s clear based on Lisle’s reaction that she really believes that she didn’t express any dislike toward chain booksellers, the words of her several posts don’t make the distinction that she thinks it does. So what clearly amounts to inference and commentary on DA’s part, IMO, seems like misrepresentation to Lisle. Although it’s difficult intellectually for me to grasp how that transition occurs for Lisle, I understand emotionally that it does, because her reaction was/is so strong.

    Even if DA and its readers misinterpreted Lisle’s initial columns such would not rise to the level of “lies,” else no scholar alive would be able to do the work that defines their careers. That Lisle used words liberally like “villain,” “hero,” “kill,” and “slaugtering midlisters’ careers left and right,” I don’t think in any way DA’s take on Lisle’s post was unreasonable; in fact, it strikes me as more difficult to reconcile the concepts of “slaughter” and “kill” with an inanimate computer program. In other words, the metaphors Lisle used expressed — to me and others — a very different set of interpretations and conclusions than those Lisle claims she intended. At the very least, I think there is a conflict between what Lisle intended and what she said.

    So Lisle says she intended something else — that is also clear from Lisle’s statements, and readers can arrive at their own conclusions. That Lisle disagrees — however fervently — with DA’s assessment of her opinions (as that was what Lisle was offering, as well) is clear, but I don’t at all understand the implication of libel here (can you imagine what the op-ed section of a newspaper would look like under such standards?). Although I understand that Lisle is upset, the irony to me in all this is that in regard to Lisle’s professional reputation, the very first paragraph of the piece talks about how well Lisle’s books sell and how highly someone like PBW thinks of her work, as well as kudos from various reader bloggers.

    My own understanding of libel relative to a public figure comes from cases like this one, in which Jerry Falwell sued Hustler magazine. It’s one of the clearest statements on the issue I’ve ever seen the Supreme Court deliver, if anyone’s interested.

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  9. sybil
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 14:28:38

    soooooo I take it she doesn’t know you are a lawyer…

    How are you responsible for her words? If she is upset by the reaction to what she said, she should be a big girl and address it herself. You aren’t her fucking mother.

    Of course it says a lot that a writer can’t seem to get her point across. Or edit. OMG maybe that is why her books don’t sell?

    Either way if readers, authors, publishers, editors so forth and so on learn nothing else here… they should learn never ever email Holly Lisle because she has no issue posting private email in a public forum without the permission of all parties involved. That is beyond shitty. Oh well, if nothing else feel good that you are giving an author some much wanted attention. Maybe she will sell a book.

    You know… as long as they don’t buy it from an evol chain or something….

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  10. Keishon
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 14:34:06

    See, that’s the Internet. Your thoughts, opinions, whatever can be misconstrued. If you don’t want to be misunderstood, then don’t put your thoughts and words out there for public consumption. Simple. As. That. Because to me, it’s fair game. I think this author needs to get over it.

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  11. Robin
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 14:50:21

    2. In response to Holly’s “laundry list of complaints" you completely missed how you said she commented on chain SELLERS. She, in fact, commented on the chain STORES. Last time I checked, they were completely different things.

    I use booksellers and bookstores interchangably, as I think many people do.

    More importantly, though, how can a store, a completely inanimate object, “kill” or otherwise engage in “slaugther” of a writer’s career? It’s like that whole question of whether guns kill people or people kill people. “Stores” by themselves can’t do anything to a writer, only people can. Whether we’re talking about the kid behind the counter or the VP of sales, it still comes down to the people, the sellers behind the stores, doesn’t it?

    As for who raised the legal question first, the relevant quote in Lisle’s later post has already been referenced in this thread by Carrie. And IIRC, a potential claimant in a libel action protects the right to a certain kind of damages by asking for a retraction first. A lawyer would be better able to clarify that, though, as I’m working from a vague memory here.

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  12. FerfeLaBat
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 15:05:26

    Either way if readers, authors, publishers, editors so forth and so on learn nothing else here- they should learn never ever email Holly Lisle because she has no issue posting private email in a public forum without the permission of all parties involved. That is beyond shitty. ~ Sybil

    Ummm. Sybil? Did you see this section of the DearAuthor post?

    Ms. Lisle has emailed me a laundry list of complaints and accusations which I invite her to post on her own blog or I will post them here, if she likes. ~ Jane

    ::Backing away slowly before damaged::

    Carry on ….

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  13. sybil
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 15:05:40

    Well Chassit I disagree. I think whenever someone throws out a quote of law, try to interpret law or implies you better do something cuz a lawyer would make you…. it is a threat. It is meant to strike fear and make the person do what you want. Generally it is an empty threat, where the person doing it is hoping the other person is stupid and will just bow to their wants.

    But hey… that is just me. I could be wrong. I am a cynical bitch like that.

    [quote comment="12772"]See, that’s the Internet. Your thoughts, opinions, whatever can be misconstrued. If you don’t want to be misunderstood, then don’t put your thoughts and words out there for public consumption. Simple. As. That. Because to me, it’s fair game. I think this author needs to get over it.[/quote]

    Hell Keishon that is anything… a conversation, BOOK, article… anything anyone puts out for public consumption takes a risk of being misunderstood.

    At first I figured holly was just full of shit since she was saying ‘I didn’t say that!’ than quoting text where she says what she is crying she didn’t say.

    But she has changed my mind. It is just that she doesn’t know how to express herself in words. But I could be wrong… that is just my opinion, your milage may vary and all that jazz.

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  14. sybil
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 15:09:29

    Yeah I read it Cindy. I agree with you… jane gave us the gist of it. She didn’t post the entire email and she did so in order to comply with the request of the sender of said email.

    She didn’t copy and paste a complete private email without the permission of the sender.

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  15. FerfeLaBat
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 15:20:14

    Yeah I read it Cindy. I agree with you… jane gave us the gist of it. She didn’t post the entire email and she did so in order to comply with the request of the sender of said email.

    She didn’t copy and paste a complete private email without the permission of the sender. ~ Sybil

    I wouldn’t recommend that anyone post someone’s email online ever. And I did say it was a bad idea in my first post. I can’t argue with the sentiments on that score as you expressed them. It looks like Holly is not one to be trifled with on eth double-dog-dare game. Good to know for future reference.

    Both Holly and Jane seem to have taken the gloves off and are settling in for a proper brawl. Gracias for the heads-up that Jane is a lawyer. I’d say it’s a fair match and the rest of us should meet up at the bar and watch it on Pay-per-view before it gets brutal.

    ;-)

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  16. Chassit
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 14:31:14

    I don’t have much to add, because I’e said it before, but I DO have a few points to bring up:

    1. You are the ones that jumped to Supreme Court rulings, laws, and libel, not Holly. You also made the leap to legal action as well.

    2. In response to Holly’s “laundry list of complaints” you completely missed how you said she commented on chain SELLERS. She, in fact, commented on the chain STORES. Last time I checked, they were completely different things.

    2 A. I’d like someone to tell me, please, because it’s a dream of mine: How many books do I have to sell personally before I am classified as a bookSTORE? Or do I have to be as big as one too? Or will it suffice if I get BORDERS tattooed on my head?

    Thank you.

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  17. A Former Bookseller
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 19:38:20

    Regardless, Holly did call the chain stores the “Villians of Bookselling” and the indies (stores and booksellers) the “Heroes of Bookselling”. It’s from her blog post called Selling to the Net. Furthermore, Jane quoted Holly’s posts and made comments on them. I don’t see on Holly’s response to Jane where she quotes Jane and tells her she’s wrong. None. Just stating that Jane lied doesn’t make it true.

    I’ve worked for several big chain stores, and I didn’t meet anyone who worked there who didn’t love books. They read a lot and handsold as much as they could. To imply that only the indies do this (the “Heroes”) is insulting to the chain sellers. When I worked for BN and Waldenbooks way back when, I always handsold authors I loved. Same goes for my BN bookseller friend. She handsold books even in a BN store where she didn’t even work (it wasn’t even in the same region) on her own because she just really loved books and the shopper looked really lost as to what she should buy.

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  18. DR
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 18:42:01

    Here are my two cents and you may take them for what they are worth. I read Holly’s original blog and your original post and quit frankly from what I can see, I think you misinterpreted Holly’s original post. As an avid book buyer as well as a part-time bookseller for one major chains in the U.S. (over 4 years) when I read Holly’s post. I did no become offended nor did I get the feeling that Ms. Lisle regarded chain bookstores / sellers as evil. Per my interpretation I read villain not as ‘evil’ in this context but certainly as impersonal. From what I have seen for years on the book floor as an employee and a consumer coupled with several years experience in corporate purchasing. Ms. Lisle explanation of ‘selling to the net’ fits. I won’t say that it is the gospel truth, since I have never worked as a corporate book buyer but I would certainly use it as a working theorem until proven otherwise. Of course chain stores can order books for their individual stores but the majority of our stock is the responsibility of corporate buyers. That coupled with the fact that publishers pay to have their books displayed down the power selling aisles and prominently in the front of the store (I have read where this practice does not occur in other countries, but it is certainly the norm in major bookstores in the U.S.). It does not surprise me that many midlist authors can and do get lost in the shuffle.

    Ms. Lisle responses to your subsequent post have certainly come on a bit strong. But quit frankly I am a little surprised at your responses. I am not a regular reader of your blog. I just pop in every now and then, but from the outset your characterizations regarding her original post and some of your responses seem a trifle over the top and reminiscent of the exaggerations you see in tabloid journalism, especially this bit “? Dear Author does not believe in succumbing to intimidation and threats.” It’s possible that I missed it, but I don’t recall reading any threats to your site.

    Regards,
    DR

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  19. Jane
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 20:35:56

    In Lisle’s blog post and in her emails, she used words that are key to defamation suits and referenced getting lawyers involved. I wanted it to clear to her and to anyone else, that we would not stand for implied or blatant statements of intimidation. As Ms. Cruciger, ala FerfelaBat, noted earlier, any statement made in an email or on the blog can be used in court. I responded in a way that I thought was fair and protected the blog and its participants, particularly in light of “this potential threat that has been made seriously.”

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  20. Robin
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 19:46:16

    I read Holly’s original blog and your original post and quit frankly from what I can see, I think you misinterpreted Holly’s original post. As an avid book buyer as well as a part-time bookseller for one major chains in the U.S. (over 4 years) when I read Holly’s post.

    Let’s say — for the sake of argument — that what you say is true. The bottom line is that such “misinterpretation” is allowed — heck, it’s what keeps these net conversations turning. All these folks who see only Lisle’s side in this, are you not disturbed at all by the fact that Lisle has called DA “liars” or “idiots” or that which “would best be explored by lawyers” (all Lisle’s words)? Why is all that perfectly okay (and I gotta say, one comment on Lisle’s blog in particular, an author comment, was downright jaw dropping for me)? Given Lisle’s stance on fan fiction, her promise that anyone writing fan fiction — a practice many authors consider completely legal — of her work will be “prosecuted,” I would have found the tone, language, and content of her follow-up blog posts and emails worthy of a legally informed response, as well. There were a number of phrases she used that got me wondering about her intent, like, for example, “clearly with the intent of damaging my livelihood” and “I can carry the burden of proof all damn day.” Also notice that Lisle did not even seem to blink or show surprise or in any way demur in her response when Jane referred to libel law. No protestations there in the way of “I have no intention of suing you; why would you think that.”

    Lisle made the following comment on her blog (quoted under fair use for the purpose of comment):

    And while many people root for and stand up for the underdog, there are as many”as witnessed by the angry chain booksellers currently rubbing their hands gleefully at the prospect of stripping my books, who think if the giant is a giant, it must be because he’s good (and who will hotly defend even the giant’s basest practices, even to the point of lying about those who point them out), and who truly believe if little guys get crushed under his feet, it is the little guy’s own damn fault. And by the readers [same to links, read the comments] who fervently believe that if the writer’s books do not survive, it is because they don’t deserve to.

    Her links to DA supposedly support her contentions here, but I personally think Lisle’s assumptions and assertions are dead wrong. I didn’t see one comment about midlist authors, for example, that was not in sympathy with their position, and in fact, I saw many reasons for their predicament explored. Do I think Lisle’s a liar? Absolutely not. I just think she has certain perceptions that are different from the perceptions of Jane and some readers here, including myself. It woudn’t, in fact, even occur to me to call Lisle a “liar” or an “idiot” or something which would “best be explored by lawyers” for those comments of hers, even though I think they represent a misinsterpretation of what was happening here. Reasonable people can disagree greatly on issues of perception.

    I do, though, think being called a “liar” is a far more potentially damaging thing than anything DA drew from her comments in the original post. As someone who is very much in sympathy with the issues Lisle was bringing up, I was frankly surprised by the tone and content of her comments on the DA thread; I would have expected a different sort of rebuttal, I guess, especially for an author concerned about her public reputation. The whole thing is just really unfortunate, IMO.

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  21. Robin
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 22:07:43

    I am not saying the plea was the right thing to do or quite honestly professional but I will give her points for her passion and the fact that not everyone is willing to almost debase themselves for their art.

    I have no problem with Lisle’s passion or her commitment to her books (or Indie booksellers). But even your own comments here suggest some relationship between chain bookstsores and professional “debasement.” It’s that connection I personally found problematic with Lisle’s original position, and the tremendous generalizations I believe she drew struck me as unnecessarily polarizing, especially for a reader like myself, who felt sort of like I was getting a lecture about why I shouldn’t buy a book from Amazon. Lisle may not have intended any of that, but what you call a “really bad translation” I call a divergent point of view and a fundamental disagreement with Lisle’s argument.

    But, like I said, what really threw me was Lisle’s response here and at her own blog, where she, IMO, lashed out at anyone with a difference of opinion as either too stupid to understand what she said, or a bad, sloppy reader, or a liar. IMO the DA column offered Lisle an opportunity to clarify what was obviously a certain ambiguity in her comments without impugning those who took a different view of her remarks. She didn’t do that, though, and in fact, she didn’t even entertain the possibility that she might not have been clear, which frankly surprised me. I think there was incredible slippage in her blog posts on the chains v. indies, and I think it occurs throughout her comments. I won’t go back over that ground, as I’ve already posted numerous examples of the places where I think Lisle conflated so-called “chain practices” with the people behind those practices. And even if she just meant the practices, her position is a rebuttable, arguable one. It’s her perspective, certainly, but it’s not objective truth on the order of the molecular mass of oxygen.

    With regards that Lisle did not refute the assertions that she was threatening to sue please reference this message I found in the comments above — Holly Lisle replies:
    December 11th, 2006 | Quote
    Here’s the complete, unedited (including typos by both parties) correspondence.

    You’ll notice that in this entire exchange, I have never threatened Ms. Little once. I have never suggested suing or seeking to have her site shut down. I have, in fact, done nothing but ask for a much-deserved apology and a retraction.

    See, this quote doesn’t impress me, because I wouldn’t expect her to say anything else at that point. But as Jane pointed out, her emails and blog posts included a number of phrases that someone familiar with defamation law would recognize (I’m merely a law student and not a lawyer yet, but bells went off in my head as soon as she made her first reference to lawyers in her third blog post). Just the accusation of lying alone struck me as odd, because it’s so outside the normal back and forth of argumentation around issues discussed in blogland. I wouldn’t bet that she actually intended to sue DA, but I think that most legally-oriented folks would have gone on sensory alert upon reading Lisle’s response to DA, both on her blog and in her emails.

    More generally, though, I also think that there are regular readers of Lisle’s blog that are familiar with her perspective and her style, just as there are regular readers of DA who are familiar with their perspective and style, and that those differences are showing here. To an “insider,” a certain view can appear much clearer than it might to an “outsider.” So Lisle’s loyal readers might feel that DA is overreacting while DA’s readers might feel that Lisle is overreacting. One more reason, IMO, that the difference of opinion between DA and Lisle should have been let go far before this point.

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  22. DR
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 21:16:43

    This all began with an author’s impassioned plea to encourage book sales. To enable said author to continue to work in a world she has created and come to love. I am not saying the plea was the right thing to do or quite honestly professional but I will give her points for her passion and the fact that not everyone is willing to almost debase themselves for their art.

    It all snowballed from there and then Dear Author steps in with a really bad translation of Ms. Lisle’s blog. I mean where did this — “Gandalf’s minions, the Hobbits, cheerfully handsell all books. They never scoff at a romance readers inquiry about midlist authors like Caroline Linden or Carla Kelly. They never deem romance books as trash; instead the Hobbits value all the book readers the same.”? — come from. Even the title of the DA original post ” Holly Lisle Hates Chains (and after reading her ran, Chains may hate her)”? was a gross exaggeration. I can see the DA side but since I feel it is based on a misunderstanding / misinterpretation I cannot support their argument.

    Ms Lisle is comparing corporate policies to examples of certain indie store practices. It goes with out saying that she cannot speak for all indie stores simply based on the nature of their business / individuality (hence their classification). But a corporate policy affects every store owned by that corporation so it is easier to make blanket statements. In this analogy the corporate chain store policy is the giant and the midlist author is the ant. While getting from A to B the giant may step on the ant. It wasn’t the giant’s intent, purpose or goal to hurt anything but that doesn’t help the ant. Nor does this make the giant evil but once again this does not help the ant’s situation

    With regards that Lisle did not refute the assertions that she was threatening to sue please reference this message I found in the comments above — Holly Lisle replies:
    December 11th, 2006 | Quote
    Here’s the complete, unedited (including typos by both parties) correspondence.

    You’ll notice that in this entire exchange, I have never threatened Ms. Little once. I have never suggested suing or seeking to have her site shut down. I have, in fact, done nothing but ask for a much-deserved apology and a retraction.

    Regards,
    DR

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  23. Sybil
    Dec 11, 2006 @ 23:23:18

    When did Jane’s words, posts or opinions become the end all be all? She isn’t lying and stating anything as fact. She linked to holly’s own words.

    If someone, anyone, doesn’t agree with Jane’s take or understanding of Holly’s own words – okay. Then they can form their own opinion for Holly to agree with or you know… call them a liar. There isn’t any guessing here – everything is in black and white.

    The sky isn’t going to fall. Life as we know it will not be over. Holly Lisle will still be able to write books, post blogs and whatever else regardless of if she can or can not get her point across. And if she can’t – that would be the fault of her actions, writing and the way she presents herself. Jane can’t make an author look like an ass, only the author has that power.

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  24. Keishon
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 00:08:52

    When did Jane’s words, posts or opinions become the end all be all?

    Shit, ain’t that the truth?
    Leave it to Sybil to give a reality check here. Just got in from work. Must work on review. Bye.

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  25. CindyS
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 06:15:31

    I don’t think Holly Lisle knows what the word ‘lie’ means. She would state something quoted by DA, call it a lie and then quote what she said which invariably was exactly what DA quoted. *shrug*

    CindyS

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  26. Tara Marie
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 10:20:32

    I’m not on line for a couple of days and all heck breaks loose–LOL.

    Definition of libel per encarta:

    1. defamation: a false and malicious published statement that damages somebody’s reputation. Libel can include pictures and any other representations that have public or permanent form.

    2. attacking of somebody’s reputation: the making of false and damaging statements about somebody

    3. written statement: the plaintiff’s written statement in a case under admiralty law or in an ecclesiastical court

    It seems to me that using the word “libel” probably pushed all of Jane’s “lawyer” buttons. Jane never misquoted Ms. Lisle. She voiced her opinions. Can opinions be libelous?

    I’m with Sybil…

    The sky isn’t going to fall. Life as we know it will not be over. Holly Lisle will still be able to write books, post blogs and whatever else regardless of if she can or can not get her point across.

    Mountains and molehills.

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  27. FingerNinja
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 10:30:27

    This is idiotic. You misconstrued what Ms. Lisle said, and she therefore has the right to sue you for all you’ve got, since she has a career that depends so much on reputation. But she doesn’t want to. All she wants is an apology, and you owe it to her, not because of the law, but because of common decency. If you don’t do this, you might not be liable according to the law, but you will be a horrible person. Have a nice day. :)

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  28. Bev (BB)
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 10:56:45

    [quote comment="13138"]This is idiotic. [/quote]

    Yeah, you’re right, honey. Can’t argue with you there.

    (Really wish there were some emoticons here because I need the eye rolling one big time.)

    I’m with Tara Marie. Had company this weekend and wasn’t online much then come back to this. Wow. Another day and I’d’ve missed it completely.

    I also refuse to get all worked up over something I can’t even make heads or tails over, either. And this is after following and reading some of the links. Oh, well. Back to obliviousness. (Uh, is that actually a word? ;p)

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  29. Robin
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 11:06:08

    since she has a career that depends so much on reputation.

    NOTHING in what DA wrote about Lisle gave me a negative impression of her or her work. It was only when Lisle spoke here and on her blog, IMO insulting readers (other than her loyal fans, I guess), calling Jane a “liar,” and, IMO, issuing only marginally oblique threats directed at DA that I had anything less than a neutral impression of her. To me, anyway, this comment from her blog sums up a lot: “Can’t help but hope the next writer they tell lies about is nastier than I am, though.”

    The only person who has damaged Lisle’s reputation in my eyes is Lisle herself. And what’s so sad about it all is that DA’s column actually made me interested in reading Lisle’s work — at least until she started posting about “sloppy readers,” “idiots,” and “lying” commentators.

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  30. FingerNinja
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 18:50:18

    Ja(y)ne, get off your high horse and stop pretending that Holly really cares that much about your blog. She doesn’t want to shut you down or sue you; she just wants an apology. Get over yourself.

    Same with you, Robin. I didn’t imply that anyone cared about your opinion of her; I was talking about the chain bookstores that she supposedly hates, but needs the support of for any sort of career in writing.

    Let me spell it out, plain and simple: Ja(y)ne said Holly hated chain bookstores. That is damaging to her career. She could have sued. She didn’t. She just wants an apology. Give it up already.

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  31. Bev (BB)
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 19:03:01

    It boggles the mind. It truly boggles the mind. Blink. Blink.

    ReplyReply

  32. Taekduu
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 19:37:18

    uhm, sorry to come late to the discussion. Everyone has pretty much made the same comments I would have. I don’t understand Ms. Lisle’s comments at all and I don’t understand villification of the chain bookstores. You do end up talking about the people. And as I recall, someone mentioned to me at a sci-fi convention once that the reason why it had suddenly become difficult to pick up books from Baen was because Jim Baen had made comments that pissed off the buyers from Borders and B&N.

    Next, Ms. Lisle’s comments are freely open to interpretation, as such, we can read them and take away our own opinions and read into them as much as we want. I am confused as to why she is giving you so much credit when you simply made a comment, especially as a reader with an opinion. I don’t think anyone had an effect on her career except her because she posted the original comments which sparked a discussion.

    I am even more confused as per the e-mail she sent to you (as posted on her blog) as someone who is neither a lawyer or a law student it screams of either I am petty or I will sue you. I don’t think you overreacted because you made your position clear (also making it clear to anyone who might in the future get their panties in a knot).

    Also, who is FingerNinja because I am confused about the attempted inflammatory comments or are just ignoring him/her/it?

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  33. Karen Scott
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 19:48:54

    Wow, how did I miss this little contretemps? I now feel compelled to add Lisle to my ABB wall of shame and blame, just cuz I can. So sue me. (g)

    ReplyReply

  34. Robin
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 19:59:24

    FingerNinja, if you are earnestly concerned about Lisle’s reputation, I would hope that you are trying to protect her from herself vis a vis the increasingly ugly and very public comments she keeps making on her own blog. They’re self-revelatory, certainly, but not in a flattering (to her) or good way, IMO.

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  35. writewize
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 20:18:21

    Wow,
    I have a tendency to blurt things out. I guess I’ll have to watch what I say when I finally begin publishing my novels. I wouldn’t want to be misquoted by a website that hides behind free speech and refuses to correct their own potentially libelous posts.
    Yikes.

    ReplyReply

  36. Karen Scott
    Dec 12, 2006 @ 20:35:46

    I have a tendency to blurt things out. I guess I’ll have to watch what I say when I finally begin publishing my novels. I wouldn’t want to be misquoted by a website that hides behind free speech and refuses to correct their own potentially libelous posts.

    Oh belt up for God’s sake.

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  37. Carrie
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 03:18:21

    Let me spell it out, plain and simple: Ja(y)ne said Holly hated chain bookstores. That is damaging to her career.
    Maybe the fact that Holly said chain bookstores are villains who slaughter careers, kill books, and employ buyers who don’t read the books and look at them as no more than cans of tuna, damaged her career more so than anything else? Especially since she really kind of needs those buyers to enjoy her brand of tuna, so to speak.

    I work at an Indie bookstore, and will have trouble handselling her books after this little snit fit. I didn’t think anything bad about Holly after reading the post here at Dear Author–my opinion DID drop after reading her subsequent rants in reply. Which is more damaging?

    And sloppy reading? Horse patootie. You can’t tell me Holly Lisle, as fabulous a writer as she is, doesn’t have the capability to understand the effect that using words like villains, slaughter, kill, etc., will have on readers.

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  38. Carrie
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 03:22:55

    I meant to add: I might have trouble handselling Holly’s books after this, but I still will. Because Talyn is a beautiful, lyrical, haunting book. Don’t let her actions in this instance keep you from reading it.

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  39. Sybil
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 07:59:41

    [quote comment="13200"]Ja(y)ne, get off your high horse and stop pretending that Holly really cares that much about your blog.[/quote]

    Yay jane! What the hell? Just because she has posted 5 or so posts about this doesn’t mean she cares. What the hell are you smoking?

    [quote comment="13200"]Let me spell it out, plain and simple: Ja(y)ne said Holly hated chain bookstores. That is damaging to her career. She could have sued. She didn’t. She just wants an apology. Give it up already.[/quote]

    Let me spell it out, plain and simple for you, with small words: If Holly did not want her words to damage her career, she should not have posted them.

    You are right though, an apology is due. But not to Holly.

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  40. Bev (BB)
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 10:19:56

    No matter how many time I see it happen, it always amazes me when individuals act like complete newbies not just to the web but to communication in general and get irate just because someone disagrees with them. Not necessarily with the content of the disagreement, which is always telling. In some ways, it’s just weird because one really doesn’t know how to respond. There is a distinct lack of communication going on. Whatever

    I even went back and reread something on Lisle’s blog that had mystified me the first time just to see if it made more sense now that I’d gotten some rest. I still don’t know what the devil she means by “bookseller” instead of “bookstore”. What exactly is a bookseller? And her books are fantasy so they’re not sold by Walmart? Huh? Last time I checked I’ve picked up several fantasy and fantasy romance books at Walmart. Weird distibribution lapse if so.

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  41. TeddyPig
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 11:20:38

    Oh lord, well at least Holly’s little melt down did not include tent pegs turning men gay. Anne McCaffrey got upset at me when I quoted her stupid ass even though she was the fool that said it.

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  42. Ana / Annie Dean
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 15:01:41

    I read that original article and I didn’t have a bad reaction. Perhaps I’m mistaken in thinking so, but it seems like indie booksellers (stores?) whatever might have more freedom in what they stock.

    Talk about a tempest in a teacup.

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  43. Chris
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 20:23:27

    I strongly suspect that Holly’s main problem with ABB started with this statement:

    the white hats are the Indie Booksellers and the black hats are the Chain Booksellers

    equating her (entirely accurate) statements about the chain’s corporate-level ordering policies with her feelings toward individual store-level booksellers, many of whom (as they have so ardently stated, here and elsewhere) are passionate book lovers, supporters of genre fiction of every stripe, and who were thus offended that Lisle would paint them as the villains of this little story.

    The problem is, it’s not at all what she said. While the language of her original post was, indeed, quite strong (see: hyperbole, or better yet, see some of ABB’s own language in response), the only thing she was writing about was the chain’s policy of ordering to the net. That was the target of her rant, but because her language was over the top, folks chose to respond to the heated tone of her initial post, rather than to its content.

    As a (former) bookseller for more than 20 years, both at the chains (Waldenbooks for more than 12 years, Barnes & Noble for another 5 or so, plus a couple of years at two local and regional independents), I can say unequivocally that Lisle’s contention is true. I can also say that, yes, individual booksellers at the major chains do have some leeway to order titles at the store level that the corporate buyer has underordered or not ordered. On many occasions, I had to reorder the first book of a series and order more copies of the second or third, when new titles were released.

    The problem is *no one* (not even me, and I read voraciously, across three genres, as well as a lot of the less-arty stuff that was shelved in with mainstream fiction) can catch *everything* that gets dropped by the chain’s corporate-level system of ordering to the net. The best I was ever able to do was to handsell and manually reorder four or five dozen authors that I followed most closely. My best efforts, would still only have a positive effect on an author’s numbers at the corporate level if enough other booksellers throughout the chain happened to be closely following the *same* authors.

    And I’ve seen authors drop away over the years, including some authors that I hand-sold like crazy. I know from experience, the experience of a 20-year career spent mostly in chain bookstores, both at the bookseller and the management level, that the system is flawed.

    Unfortunately, it’s flawed in a way that only hurts the *authors* — the chains themselves, and for the most part, the publishers, are not affected. Because there’s always someone else coming along, hoping that *their* story will end differently, and three (or, if they’re lucky, six) books later, yet another hopeful author will come along to take their place, too. There will always be more authors dreaming of making it than the publishers and the chains need to keep the shelves stocked with “product”. And it will always be more “efficient”, at least at the corporate level, to let a computer make 90% of the ordering decisions.

    If you seriously believe that pointing out the painful realities that face any writer of commercial fiction who’s not lucky enough to make it into the ranks of the bestsellers is behaving badly, then I suppose you’re entitled to that opinion. But pretending to hold some mythical moral high ground when your decision to sit in judgment of Lisle’s behavior is what started this whole bruhaha is behaving at least as badly, if not worse.

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  44. TeddyPig
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 20:36:02

    I strongly suspect that Holly’s real problem was abusing the term “libel” and “lashing out”.

    But funny that’s in writing, why do people insist on “strongly suspecting”? when things are in black and white and easy to copy and paste?

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  45. Robin
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 22:02:23

    I know I should leave this alone, but I need to work off the stress of my Corporations exam tomorrow morning.

    The problem is, it’s not at all what she said. While the language of her original post was, indeed, quite strong (see: hyperbole, or better yet, see some of ABB’s own language in response), the only thing she was writing about was the chain’s policy of ordering to the net. That was the target of her rant, but because her language was over the top, folks chose to respond to the heated tone of her initial post, rather than to its content.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t agree at all. Let’s say that everything you say about what she was trying to say was what Holly intended to say. That her intention may have communicated itself to you clearly doesn’t mean she expressed herself clearly. You comment that her language was “over the top” — absolutely. And not just at the beginning where she uses those designations of “villains” and “heroes,” but all throughout her piece. What about when she refers to the Corporate Buyer as uneducated about and uninterested in the books he/she is ordering (“looks at the books as no different than Cans of Tuna, Brand A”)? What about when she indicates that only a “miracle” will “force corporate bean counters to take notice” of a midlster’s book? Or how “[u]nless indies have handsold the books in mad numbers, Midlist Writer’s editor will look at the Midlist Writer Death Spiral” and if said writer is “unlucky,” then “Midlist writer will then have to go out into the world to find a new publisher, and every potential new publisher will look at Midlist Writers last numbers and say, ‘No, thanks.”

    In Lisle’s hands, it all sounds like “A Midlist Witer’s Christmas Carol,” not like a nuanced treatment of corporate bookselling practices. And while it may be the indisputable truth to Lisle, it’s not the indisputable truth in any empirical sense. It’s *arguable* as a position. As for the prose, it doesn’t appear at all neutral toward chain bookstores or chain booksellers; rather, all that hyperbole suggests to me that Lisle has a strong dislike for corporate bookstores and booksellers and a strong affection for indie bookstores and booksellers. The prose is *emotional* because it’s obvious that the *topic* is emotional for Lisle. And that emotion *infuses* the content, even *shapes* the content.

    But even if Lisle was crystal clear in her essay and everyone here is woefully misinterpreting her, what no one has really addressed was why any writer who later proclaims to be so interested in the “goodwill” of readers would arrive at this site and post on her own site that anyone who (in her mind) misreads her piece is a sloppy reader, an idiot, or a liar. Why wouldn’t she want to impress said readers with a polite and patient explanation of her (in her mind) *real* point and thus open up a discussion here about said point?

    Now it may be the case that Lisle is simply prone to “over the top” language, and that she underestimates the aggression in her own prose. Maybe that is an asset to her in her fiction writing, even. And it may just be that she took the whole thing wayyyyy to personally, as her “behavior” was never in question until she started tossing out accusations like this:

    It would be lovely if people would learn to read what was written, or would perhaps not so closely identify themselves with their jobs that they believe a hostile comment about a bad corporate business practice was a hostile comment about themselves.

    For the record, then, to those of you who are chain booksellers:

    Read what I wrote, dammit, and not what other sloppy readers tell you I wrote. Someone actually had the balls to state that I hate chains, putting words into my mouth that were never there. Idiot. And to state baldly that I said chain booksellers are evil, which I never have and never will. (Actually, there’s a term for what that writer did when claiming I said things I did not say, and it isn’t “idiot”? and it would best be explored by lawyers.)

    I actually think Lisle has a good point about not so closely identifying oneself with one’s work that another’s comment about said work (writing) is taken as an attack on oneself.

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  46. Chris
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 03:37:32

    Since you complain about Holly’s strong language towards what she refers to as “sloppy readers”, perhaps you should read more carefully. You say:

    What about when she refers to the Corporate Buyer as uneducated about and uninterested in the books he/she is ordering (“looks at the books as no different than Cans of Tuna, Brand A”)?

    but Lisle never said the Corporate Buyer was uneducated about and uninterested in the books he/she was ordering — what she said was:

    who almost certainly hasn’t read the book, hasn’t talked to a single reader about the book, and looks at the book as no different than Cans of Tuna, Brand A,

    Now you can infer that Lisle means the buyer is uneducated and uninterested from that, if you like, but it’s *your* inference. I wouldn’t think that Holly would have to baldly state the obvious fact that no one, no single human being on Earth could *possibly* read every single book published in a year, even in one genre, unless they were a) a prodigious speed-reader, and b) had nothing else to do with their time.

    Certainly the corporate buyers for the largest bookstore chains in the country can’t, not and still have time to discharge any of the duties of his or her position. As far as I know, the closest any chain buyer has come to such a feat was when Stephen Pagels was the buyer for SF/Fantasy at B. Dalton, and he was soon replaced by someone who ordered by the numbers.

    As to your second point:

    What about when she indicates that only a “miracle” will “force corporate bean counters to take notice” of a midlster’s book? Or how “co[u]nless indies have handsold the books in mad numbers, Midlist Writer’s editor will look at the Midlist Writer Death Spiral” and if said writer is “unlucky,” then “Midlist writer will then have to go out into the world to find a new publisher, and every potential new publisher will look at Midlist Writers last numbers and say, “No, thanks.”

    Holly is only stating what happened in her career and the careers of a fair number of other midlist writers of her acquaintance, as well as what she was told by her editors at the time. Maybe “it’s not the indisputable truth in any empirical sense”, as you state later on, but if it’s the experience of enough midlist authors that a clear and obvious trend shows up, and if a number of professional editors have stated to those authors that this is what happened, and why, then I’m willing to their word for it, until someone can show me some evidence that disproves it.

    You ask:

    Why wouldn’t she want to impress said readers with a polite and patient explanation of her (in her mind) *real* point and thus open up a discussion here about said point?

    to which I can only reply, why should Lisle be the only one in this brouhaha who’s expected to be polite and patient. Ms. Little’s opening salvo here was at least as over the top as anything Ms. Lisle posted, but here the hyperbole and half-truth was cheered. Do you always respond to what you see as harsh treatment by being polite and patient? If so, you’re an exception, especially on the internet, where blatant rudeness is more the rule than the exception.

    And as to the fabulously ridiculous statement

    her “behavior” was never in question until she started tossing out accusations

    can you seriously be saying that you believe that Ms. Little writing about Lisle in a blog post under the heading “Authors Behaving Badly” is somehow not calling Holly’s behavior into question?

    To make matters worse, when Lisle responds on her blog to the content of Little’s post, the readers of this blog pile on here as though Holly’s comments were directed at *them*, not at DA. Is it *really* possible that Lisle is the first author to feel justified in defending their position when accused by the high and mighty Ja(y)nes of “behaving badly”?

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  47. TeddyPig
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 09:42:34

    the hyperbole and half-truth was cheered

    Oh that is good, you would think we (the ignorant readers) did not follow the links and actually read anything. Next time just stick your tongue out Chris it saves space.

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  48. Jane
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 10:04:13

    I’ve been not commenting because I feel the posts stand for itself, but Teddy Pig and others bring up a good point which seems to have been missed and that is, as Sybil pointed out, these are my opinions and my comments only. Each reader, who I presume to be intelligent unless otherwise proven, can read and form their own opinions. I did not respond to the two posts that Lisle made that was filled with perjoratives because she’s entitled to her opinion and her response.

    I only felt it necessary to respond because she was asking for action to be takend in her emails. I complied with a retraction of the one “fact” I believe I did get in error. But, I did not issue an apology or retraction of the remainder of my comments because I believe them to be true even today.

    Anyone is free to disagree and that is the purpose of the comments section. we have never deleted a comment, unless it is spam, and we would never do that. If a commenter wants to use perjoratives, ad hominem attacks or anything, even that is permissible because discourse without disagreement often leads to a deadening of the intellect.

    I truly believe that every reader of this blog is intelligent enough and independent enough to form their own opinions. To suggest that the readers are sheep, bound only by my opinion, is not only insulting to the readers but also untrue.

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  49. Chassit
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 10:33:15

    [quote comment="13773"]

    the hyperbole and half-truth was cheered

    Oh that is good, you would think we (the ignorant readers) did not follow the links and actually read anything. Next time just stick your tongue out Chris it saves space.[/quote]

    No, TeddyPig, I’m think Chris had it dead on. He’s absolutely right.

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  50. TeddyPig
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 11:18:12

    Thanks Jane,

    Being a fellow “sloppy reader” I figured I was the only one who “thought” (Oh my, I can’t think for myself either right?) the whole counter arguement being spun up here was resting on my fine woolly features.

    BAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Where’s the manger?

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  51. Sara Dennis
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 11:33:21

    Well, I was going to leave this comment over on Ms. Lisle’s page, but since I can’t log in with my wordpress account to do so (though it works elsewhere, so I’m not really sure why not on her blog), I’ll make it here.

    Given the number of people who have “misinterpreted” Holly’s initial post, clearly there’s something in the way it was written that did not come across the way she intended.

    In any online debate/arguement/whathaveyou, intent is extremely hard to communicate. What you mean really doesn’t matter if you communicate it poorly. So regardless of whether she meant corporate buying policies or not, using emotionally charged language like “villain” and “kill” and “slaughter” made people believe that she was on the attack. She made the good vs. evil analogy with her white vs. black hats thing. When one starts throwing around absolutes, people tend to take sides.

    But it is her opinion and she is entitled to that opinion.

    The thing that gets me about this whole issue is not the fact that she appears to be throwing a fit over people misunderstanding her. It’s understandable. Who likes to be misunderstood? No, it’s the way she’s handled it.

    If she’s truly been misunderstood, why is it not acceptable to simply *say* that, and let it go. “You’ve misunderstood what I intended. Here’s my explanation.” She’s gone steps beyond that and said that those who didn’t get the gist of her rant are sloppy readers and implied that they are too stupid to understand. She also believes, apparently, that those who misread her post in the same way (which seems to be quite a few of us) are all being encouraged to do so by Jane and this website. Her loyal fans continue to pound on this point, as if none of us have the ability to think or rationalize for ourselves, but must be led by the nose.

    I have to say, I was in a chain bookstore. I saw Ms. Lisle’s book, which admittedly sounds like it would be my thing, and I didn’t buy it, specifically because of this whole battle. Not because of her opinion on the corporate buying policies of chains, but because she has so little respect for her potential audience.

    If anyone’s damaging Ms. Lisle’s career over this, it’s her, in my opinion. And her more ardent fans. I mean, come on. The Al Qaeda of the blog world?

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  52. Karen Scott
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 13:51:29

    why should Lisle be the only one in this brouhaha who’s expected to be polite and patient.

    Erm, cuz she has books to sell, and the Ja(y)nes don’t?

    Just sayin.

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  53. Keishon
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 18:21:27

    [quote comment="13812"]

    why should Lisle be the only one in this brouhaha who’s expected to be polite and patient.

    Erm, cuz she has books to sell, and the Ja(y)nes don’t?

    Just sayin.[/quote]

    Word.

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  54. monkeys on typewriters
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 20:24:54

  55. Chassit
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 20:36:03

    [quote comment="13812"]

    why should Lisle be the only one in this brouhaha who’s expected to be polite and patient.

    Erm, cuz she has books to sell, and the Ja(y)nes don’t?

    Just sayin.[/quote]

    Okay, without being rude, that post doesn’t make any sense. Are you saying that one is only supposed to be nice and kind if one has something to gain? Because that is what it sounds like. So no matter how the Ja(y)nes act, Holly is supposed to be polite, patient and be completely perfect? That totally goes against everything I was ever taught by my parents, and it goes against everything that this time of year stands for.

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  56. Jane
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 21:10:36

    It took 55 messages before the mother card was brought out. Usually the momma card gets played earlier on and usually it is only my mother who gets blamed, but today, my dad rightly gets his share of the responsibility for failing to raise me right. Curse you, parents. If only you had raised me better. ::shakes fist to the north:: note to self: install emoticons

    As for the holidays – I was right cheerful for three Mondays and two weeks in November. You just missed it. I totally prematurely ejaculated my “good will toward men” in the month of November instead of saving it up for “this time of year.” It will part of my New Year resolution – save up good cheer for December.

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  57. Sybil
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 21:31:41

    Jane makes baby jesus cry.

    it is so sad…

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  58. Kat
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 21:38:15

    Hah! I was also wondering how long it would take.

    Are you saying that one is only supposed to be nice and kind if one has something to gain?

    One doesn’t have to be nice at all, but I think Karen was saying that Lisle had more to lose in this exchange.

    About those emoticons…can we have ones with bloodshed and straightjackets? And maybe one that moons?

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  59. Keishon
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 22:31:54

    So no matter how the Ja(y)nes act, Holly is supposed to be polite, patient and be completely perfect? That totally goes against everything I was ever taught by my parents, and it goes against everything that this time of year stands for.

    :::blink,blink:::
    *hand clap* You almost had me. I was thisclose to feeling guilty about my upbringing but common sense reared it’s ugly head yet again.

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  60. Chassit
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 23:00:15

    Okay, I admit my wording was off, ha ha. I only meant that it sounded kinda one sided. That’s all.

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  61. Jane
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 23:19:46

    Chassit – I knew what you meant. You are big to apologize. It’s not an uncommon response and occurs alot! It’s a sad truth that authors or anyone that is a public figure is held to a different standard. You’re a fan and it’s reasonable for you to want to stick up for your girl. I would want to stick up for my girls as well. Human nature and all.

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  62. TeddyPig
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 23:31:18

    I totally prematurely ejaculated my “good will toward men" in the month of November instead of saving it up for “this time of year."

    Oh man, I think I like this lady more and more already.

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  63. Robin
    Dec 15, 2006 @ 01:26:23

    Oh good; more stress to work off before the Bankruptcy final.

    Now you can infer that Lisle means the buyer is uneducated and uninterested from that, if you like, but it’s *your* inference.

    Of course that’s an inference. But here’s the thing, Chris: Lisle’s statement was an inference, too. As was yours.

    That’s been my whole point; Lisle’s statement was itself interpretive and conclusory. It wasn’t suggestive (“perhaps Corporate Buyers . . . “), it wasn’t speculative (“I wonder if Corporate Buyers . . . “), it wasn’t qualified (“In my personal experience . . .”). It may be a conclusion drawn from Lisle’s experience, and she is absolutely entitled to her opinion. But the fact remains that it was an opinion presented in the guise of a fact (and yes I’m aware that’s an inference). The entire post, in fact, is stated as a foregone conclusion, which Lisle obviously believes to be the case. But just because she believes it doesn’t make it a) true for everyone, and b) expressed in a way that makes her universally understood.

    I wouldn’t think that Holly would have to baldly state the obvious fact that no one, no single human being on Earth could *possibly* read every single book published in a year, even in one genre, unless they were a) a prodigious speed-reader, and b) had nothing else to do with their time.

    But why would a corporate buyer have to read every single book in order to look at said books as more than cans of tuna. I haven’t read every book in a bookstore, but I certainly don’t look at books as the equivalent of canned tuna. She made a judgment call there. Again, a chain of inferences, beginning with Lisle’s.

    but if it’s the experience of enough midlist authors that a clear and obvious trend shows up, and if a number of professional editors have stated to those authors that this is what happened, and why, then I’m willing to their word for it, until someone can show me some evidence that disproves it.

    The key is that you “have to take [her] word for it” — but not everyone does. In the same way that not everyone, including you or Lisle, have to agree with the way I read her piece. I just don’t appreciate being referred to (however indirectly) as sloppy or stupid in my reading skills, or willfully misrepresentative in my inferences.

    can you seriously be saying that you believe that Ms. Little writing about Lisle in a blog post under the heading “Authors Behaving Badly" is somehow not calling Holly’s behavior into question?

    To be honest, I didn’t even notice that, as it was printed in such small font. I read Jane’s reaction to Lisle’s rant as one aimed entirely at her rhetoric and her points. All I can do is speak for myself and say that I didn’t consider the issue one of behavior until Lisle came over here and started calling those of us who read her piece a certain way “sloppy readers” — and yes, I absolutely think that was directed at me or anyone else who read Lisle’s blog post in a differing way. We were considered either under the influence of the Ja(y)nes or we just couldn’t read right. If Lisle didn’t intend THAT to cause offense, her sense of reality is irreconcilably different than mine.

    I won’t suggest that Jane’s post wasn’t provocative and strongly worded itself. I won’t suggest that Lisle should have been thrilled to read it or that she shouldn’t have responded in whatever way felt comfortable to her. I’ve been spoken of badly and in ways I think are completely unfair on the Internet, and I’ve had more than one scuffle with an author who didn’t like what I had to say about her work. We all can react defensively when we feel we aren’t being understood, and I’m willing to cut an author a good deal of slack in those circumstances. One of my favorite authors has come off, IMO, as oversensitive and defensive on occasion, and while I wince a little when I see it, I figure the upside of that oversensivity is a wonderfully written, empathetic book. I’ve responded defensively in certain situations, as well.

    But I’m not here complaining about how I’m losing the goodwill of readers because of the opinion of one blog commentator. Lisle certainly has the right to be a complete raving bitch if she wants, and she can feel justified six ways to Saturday while she rants on and on. My point is fundamentally that for me, if anyone alienates me from Lisle’s fiction, it is going to be Lisle herself if she keeps on, not the Ja(y)nes. All Jane’s original post did was get me over to Lisle’s site and pique my interest in Talyn. Ironic, huh?

    ReplyReply

  64. Karen Scott
    Dec 15, 2006 @ 02:49:14

    Erm..What Robin said.

    ReplyReply

  65. Barnaby Rustin
    Dec 29, 2006 @ 21:29:47

    Dear Author’s Jane Hates Holly Lisle based on what I have read, no word of a lie.

    ReplyReply

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