You are not entitled. . . . – A Guest Post By Amanda Green

*For those not accustomed to this blog, in order that Sarah actually gets at least some writing time, and some relief from feeding the blog, Mondays are taken by one of my four friends.  Since fans of this blog/my writing call themselves Hoyt’s Huns, these four are the Raiding Party.  This week there might be a couple more guest posts, simply because I’m recovering from very bad flu/bronchitis/heaven alone knows what.  So, please be patient with me.*

 You are not entitled. . . . – A Guest Post By Amanda Green- Raiding Party Member

There are times I really wonder about folks. We apparently have an entire generation with a number of its members thinking they are entitled to do or have whatever they want. They haven’t been taught what it means to have to face consequences for their actions or inactions. Our schools don’t help. How can they when more and more of them are doing away with pesky little things like homework or take a test one time and learn to live with your score? Then there are the parents who don’t discipline their kids because it might damage their widdle psyches. It’s gotten so bad that there is now the pseudo-defense of affluenza that has been used to successfully keep a young man from serving time for killing several people in a drunk driving accident. Instead, he gets to go to a cushy rehab facility until he is better. Oh, his so-called punishment? He can’t see his parents during that time.

This sense of entitlement seems to have invaded every aspect of our lives. This was driven home to me yesterday when I read this article. I should have realized it was one of those articles that would drive my blood pressure up when I saw the title – If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It.

Take a moment to consider what the title says. Now, look at who the author of the post is and read her byline. Lynn Shepherd. Author and copywriter.

Author.

And she’s telling Rowling to quit if she cares about writing.

Now consider that this is someone who admits to never having read a word of the Harry Potter books or having seen a minute of the movies. She really didn’t mind Rowling so much when she was “Pottering about” but she just didn’t understand why so many adults were reading the books. After all, according to Shepherd, she was bothered “because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.” How do you make a judgment like that without first at least trying to read the books you are dissing? Oh, I know. You make assumptions and, like so many of the ones calling for the older writers in SFWA to move aside because they are no longer “relevant”, you want message novels and not plots readers actually want to read.

Okay, she does say she guesses any reading is better than no reading. That’s mighty generous of her.

However, any generosity she might have felt toward Rowling disappeared when – gasp – Rowling decided to branch out into adult books. How dare she? How dare she do something like that when she should have known her books would sell on the basis of her name alone and not on how well they were written? The horror, the horror.

The book [Cuckoo’s Calling] dominated crime lists, and crime reviews in newspapers, and crime sections in bookshops, making it even more difficult than it already was for other books – just as well-written, and just as well-received – to get a look in.

Now, I will admit upfront, I haven’t read Cuckoo’s Calling. However, the audacity of saying that Rowling shouldn’t have written the book and taken up a publishing slot other, lesser known writers could have filled – much less review slots and bookshop placement – makes me want to scream. Why not say the same thing to King or Roberts or Dan Brown or George R. R. Martin? After all, they are taking publication slots and bookshop placement from lesser known authors.

Rowling has no need of either the shelf space or the column inches, but other writers desperately do.

Excuse me while I laugh hysterically. Every author who wants to sell books under to the traditional model needs shelf space. How in hell are they supposed to sell their hard copy books in stores without it? As for needing column inches, I hate to tell the precious little darling that even if Rowling wasn’t getting the reviews, it is doubtful she would. Reviewers tend to review books by well-known authors or authors who are local products or who are being pushed by their publishers. If she was being pushed by her publisher, she’d be getting reviews as well.

By all means keep writing for kids, or for your personal pleasure – I would never deny anyone that – but when it comes to the adult market you’ve had your turn. Enjoy your vast fortune and the good you’re doing with it, luxuriate in the love of your legions of fans, and good luck to you on both counts. But it’s time to give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe.

How magnanimous of her. Write in one market and one genre only or for your own pleasure. But don’t you dare come intruding on what I see as my territory. If you do, I’ll hold my breath until I turn blue because you’re just a big meanie.

This sense of entitlement, that you get to tell someone who has actually made it in the business that they need to step aside and let you have your turn even though you haven’t earned it, is beyond me. It is the same sense of entitlement I’ve been seeing with SFWA. Those who are pushing for “diversity” sure aren’t practicing what they preach. If they were, they wouldn’t be telling writers who have earned their stripes, who have been in the trenches for years and who have supported SFWA through other internal battles that they were dinosaurs who just need to go away and die. That smacks of ageism, if nothing else, and flies in the face of a “diverse” membership.

What’s worse, many of the authors they are attacking have long written characters of color and of non-heterosexual preferences. But because they don’t necessarily speak the right-speak, they have to go.

But it goes beyond SFWA. You have “Con or Bust” that Jason Cordova wrote about over at Mad Genius Club last Friday. I applaud the desire to help those who can’t afford to go to cons but who want to attend. However, I wouldn’t qualify no matter how poor I might be or how badly I wanted to go to a con. I’m white, I’m over a certain age and I’m happily heterosexual. But it’s to help build diversity.

Then there is the amendment to Tor.com’s submission guidelines:

“We want our stories to represent the full diversity of speculative fiction, and encourage submissions by writers from underrepresented populations. This includes but is not limited to writers of any race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class and ability, as well as characters and settings that reflect these experiences.”

While I agree submissions should be open to everyone, what gets me with the above statement is that it puts the emphasis on wanting a diversity of authors. Diversity in story content comes second. I’d like to think it’s because the powers-that-be recognize that there has been diversity in “characters and settings” in the genre from the very beginning. But I doubt it.

Instead of worrying about how they are entitled to their time in the limelight and their shelf space and their review column inches, these little darlings who are so sure of their entitlement ought to be worrying about writing stories readers actually want to pay money for. I know it’s crass, at least in their lexicon, to worry about such mundane things as money.

Unfortunately, too many of these entitlement darlings think they know better than the readers when it comes to what they ought to be reading. They forget that most people read for entertainment – especially if they are reading fiction. But if they allowed themselves to really consider this, they’d realize they can’t keep writing their politically correct books without a plot readers are interested in.

You want diversity in your books? Cool. Just don’t make diversity a preaching point and your story the rock you are beating the reader over the head with. You are not entitled to preach at your readers any more than they are entitled to throwing your book at your face.

This is a land of opportunity, or it is supposed to be. Look up the definition. I guarantee it is the polar opposite of entitlement. You want readers to buy your book then write the best damned book you can. You want to show readers that characters who aren’t of a traditional gender can be main characters? Then write a story with a character or characters like that. But don’t make their gender the main point of the story. It is part of who your character is but there has to be a plot, a story the reader wants to read. You are not entitled to force him to read it if he doesn’t want to.

Grow up. Learn your craft. Realize that publishing is changing. There are fewer slots than ever before in traditional publishing. So publishers are going to go with authors who they know are “best sellers” over the new author. That’s especially true when it comes promotion monies.

So, instead of bitching and moaning about how authors who have already made their mark on the industry should step aside and let your entitled little butt have the spotlight now, why don’t you take a moment to try to figure out what they’ve done over the years to get to where they are? Oh, wait, they worked hard to get where they are. They had to fight their way to the so-called top because they didn’t think they were entitled and the little darlings of today aren’t about to actually have to rely on their talent to win over readers. It’s so much easier to get an audience when you shove the others out.

The only problem with that is the audience, on the whole, won’t follow them. They don’t want to read about entitled darlings. They want to read about characters who fought the good fight. Sometimes those characters win and sometimes they lose. But they are characters the reader can identify with – no matter what their race, sexual preference, gender identification, religion, age, whatever – but who are part of plots the reader is interested in.

Entitlement is your enemy. Crush it in yourselves and get to work.

315 responses to “You are not entitled. . . . – A Guest Post By Amanda Green

  1. Two words.
    FREE.
    MARKET.
    Seriously, JK can’t write adult fiction because she’s had her turn?
    That’s an argument so banal, so fallacious, it’s not even worth the effort to hoist my middle fingers over it.

  2. Amanda, I confess – I followed the link and read that article. <>
    I wouldn’t put that stuff in my garden, it’s poisonous!
    The sheeple is treating the market as though it’s a closed system. And perhaps it is to a point. Readers only have so much money. But for that reason alone they are going to push for the biggest bang for their buck. And if she’s so concerned readers aren’t going to want to spend their money for her unproven writing, perhaps she should push her publisher to consider a free library after the example of Baens. Then people can check it out, and if they like it, they’ll buy.
    But her core argument is one we’re all too familiar with: she’s had her turn, at a certain point people have made enough money, level the playing field.

    Incompetence always claims unfairness. But it’s hard to fool the paying public very often. And given the choice between predigested pap and a juicy steak – or even meatloaf! – people will choose the flavor every time.

    Hoping and praying Sarah gets better fast (no slurs intended to you). I think I’ve gotten the same crud she has. Darn! We’re 800 miles apart and I still got it?!?

    • Doug,
      I don’t think it’s that readers only have so much money, as it is that readers have only so much time. Time is the limited factor. We all only have so much time, then we die. Some books I wouldn’t spend my time reading, even if they were free. And preachy, PC books head the list.

      Waidmann

      • For me it is both money and time, but time is the most limiting factor.

      • Amen, hallelujah. My problem is not lack of money for books, but lack of time for books. Where will I find time to argue with anonymous stangers on the Internet? ;)

      • I’m retired, on a fixed income. Got the time, don’t got the money.

        • mikeweatherford

          Doug, I’m in the same boat (retired, fixed income, too much outgo for that income), but still don’t have all the time I want to read. Housekeeping takes FOREVER when you can only work ten minutes at a time, with 30-90 minutes between sessions. Of course, I DO use the forced down-time for reading. I have a Nook, and my wife and grandson have Kindles. There are LOADS of free books for both. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, don’t worry — you can get one free from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Adobe, Microsoft — or you can download Calibre (ebook management software that also has a built-in e-reader). I’ve found quite a few of my old favorites free online (almost 1500 titles), and I buy new books now and then when I get a bit of extra spending money.

          • A good way to support your favorite authors when you’re almost broke: Request their books for your local library. Most librarians are happy to take requests, because they can’t read EVERYTHING and they want to make local genre fans happy.

            And libraries have ebooks now too. (Mostly through Overdrive), so if you have an ereader, you don’t even need to leave the house, and you can avoid overdue fees! Some libraries also have a door-to-door service for shut-ins.

            You pay for your library through property taxes. It’s yours. USE IT.
            (This message brought to you by a librarian’s wife.)

    • No, it’s not that readers only have so much money. A lot of us are reading a lot less new and have been and avoiding certain genres. Yes, people are broke, but heck, as someone who’s gone without dinner to buy a book… there’s a lot more give in the market.

      • Yup. And books, being entertainment, are in competition with other forms of entertainment. Dollar for dollar, a good book’s the best value I’ve found.

        I’ve gone without dinner to buy a book, too. *grin* And it was very, very worth it.

      • Yes. After awhile I started noticing that a lot of what the industry’s editors favored was not at all fun to read–endless ‘progressive’ political messages, inferior story-telling promoted because the writer had the correct opinions, favorable blurbs given just because the writers were friends, and so on.

    • Gah, I read it too. I am so fluffin’ tired of zero-sum economics. “There are too many books out there, don’t add yours.” Bless her heart, I’m sure she means well. But I know of open niches for 1) local historical fiction, 2) non-preachy religious fiction of all genres [romance, sci-fi/fantasy, mystery, adventure], 3) urban fantasy minus the black leather [a la early Charles de Lint]. I’m sure there are more that I have not heard people asking about.

      • There are roughly 237 million adults in the United States (give or take a few million). in 2007, its release year, the seventh Harry Potter book only sold 44 million copies… worldwide.

        There’s a pie chart up on Hugh Howie’s author earnings site that shows hoe the ebook market is presently divided, but it’s the space outside the pie, all the people who could be readers if they found a book that was more entertaining than netflix or videogames, that still dwarfs the current market.

        • Dorothy, you know better than to use things like facts and logic to deal with that sort of attitude. E-books are probably below her. As for writing something more entertaining than netflix or videogames, wouldn’t that mean she’d have to give up her literary pretentious?

          • mikeweatherford

            Amanda, I checked out her “author page” on Amazon. She sells ebooks and audiobooks as well as dead-tree. Five of her books (all I checked out) had less than three stars, and two of them didn’t have even one. The problem isn’t that there’s too many books, it’s that the competition is more than she can take. The article was just a way to slam JK Rawlings without being accountable. That not being accountable seems to be a “progressive” character trait they can’t (or don’t want to) overcome.

            • There is no such thing as bad publicity so long as they spell your name right.

              In three months many more people will recognize her name than did one week ago, and most of them won’t remember why. Her hope is that enough of them will act on that recognition to buy a book with her name on it.

            • You shouldn’t try to be a writer if you’re thin skinned.

              • My dad, before he became a diplomat, used to be a journalist. The editors at the newspapers he worked at, according to his fellow journalists, were terrors who damned well whipped you to shape. By tearing up your paper in front of you AFTER taking apart everything you did wrong there.

      • Cozies. I read them. There are almost none, so you have to search for the ones you can read.

        • Carolyn Hart actually has some good cosy mysteries. And James Anderson (39 cufflinks, et. al.) … Who else do you read? I like cosy mysteries, so I’d like a list, if you don’t mind! (I don’t read them all the time, but when I;m in the mood for one? They can be hard to find. I tried reading the (not cosy at all) Charlane Harris mysteries, but while the mysteries were fun, there was wayyyyy too much vampire sex. Like I would flip through looking for the daytime chapters so I could get back to plot!

          • I can compile a list for a post this weekend…

          • *waves a hand* I read them too, especially during winter, so recommendations are most welcome.

            BTW, do either of you know of any good series where there is romance in the beginning, and in the next books marriage and family while mom and dad keep solving mysteries? That is something I have been looking for. Usually, if there is romance, all you get is the tease for most of a series, they meet, circle around each other, get separated, reconcile, again just date, maybe there is a second big misunderstanding… would be nice to find something in which that part of the story actually proceeds instead of getting stuck in the same rut.

            • When I want to read a sweet romance with a story– it is Debora Geary (Witch series). It is usually about a group of people helping each other with a supernatural twist to it. Contemporary. It is the only one I can think of at the top of my head. I am not into too much romance anymore because the sex imho is over the top. I like it to be more private.

              • I rarely read pure romance, for the same reason, I want the plot to be mostly about something else than the relationship and sex. And in modern romances it tends to be mostly sex, and then maybe other parts of the relationship, and any other plot is usually rather slim. Boring. But I’m quite fond of romance as the secondary or minor plot element in books of other genres.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              J. D. Robb’s “In Death/Eve Dallas” series is IMO more mystery than romance but Eve & Roarke have been married since the end of the third book and their marriage is still going strong & part of the story line. While the first books were somewhat heavy on the sex, the later books have toned down the sex to a degree.

              Oh, Eve & Roarke aren’t “Mom & Dad” mostly because Roberts (the author) believes a child would change the dynamics of the stories.

              • Yep, if it’s something with more action kids probably would not fit in very well. But cozy mysteries might be exactly the right type of stories for a couple of sleuths who do have children.

            • Mystery: Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity series. The main character got married, and at this point has twin boys, who complicate the mystery solving. Also nice little puzzles, don’t necessarily involve a murder.

            • /unlurk/ The Daisy Dalrymple mysteries meet your criteria, Pohjalainen. Daisy is single in the first, DEATH AT WENTWATER COURT, and meets the police detective. Alec Fletcher. By book #7 they are married and the series goes on for quite a few more. They’re set in the 1920s and are written by Carola Dunn. i haven’t read them all, but those I have read I’ve enjoyed.

              • And they get increasingly more– Never mind. I read a few of them, and then Daisy started becoming more and more “modern day feminist.” Shrug.

                • ya I have to second that. I was really enjoying the books (and would still recommend the early one’s) but thay do over time start to be more annoying lefty and the “period” pice bit start’s to be more of a “commenting on the period” sort of thing. it’s a good example of one of those series that starts off strong/interesting then sort of drifts away as it goes on (Tremaire and the firekeeper story’s are kind of the same way)

                  Now the royal spyness mysteries by Rhys Bowen are vary good with a strong (but not to strong ;) romance aspect.

            • mikeweatherford

              Actually, Diane Mott Davidson’s books have that, but I’m not sure any of them are out in e-book format yet. From Book 1 through the latest, her MC was a single mom with a tween/teen son, then married a cop, and in the last book indicates she’s expecting again.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Looks like her books are available in e-format.

                • I suspect the dead tree editions of her books are in no danger of running out of stock, whether or not Rowling (or anyone else, for that matter) ever writes another novel. I doubt the interwebs are in any danger of crashing from the burden of her e-books downloading, either.

          • I like Donna Andrews. They are set in a village, and the main character is a blacksmith/wife who has a crazy family who drags her into solving mysteries for them. Every title has a bird in it, and her titles for the last few books have all been puns. (ie: Owls Well That Ends Well, Hens of the Baskervilles.)

            • I was about to come on and recommend Donna Andrews as well. Her books are a lot of fun!

              • Plus she’s fannish. That Xena convention mystery is hilarious.

                • Carl Henderson

                  Donna Andrews’ has actually written four mysteries that straddle the border between the mystery and science fiction genres–her Turing Hopper series. The lead character and (partial) first person narrator is an artificial intelligence. The author describes them as “techno-cozys”, I believe.

                  • I kept hoping that she’d go back and finish the Turing Hopper series (there are several dangling threads), but it doesn’t look like she’s going to.

                    On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 8:06 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                    > Carl Henderson commented: “Donna Andrews’ has actually written four > mysteries that straddle the border between the mystery and science fiction > genres–her Turing Hopper series. The lead character and (partial) first > person narrator is an artificial intelligence. The author describe” >

                  • I loved the first few (3?) but the last one just didn’t grab me. Gangsters and drug lords or whatever that last bad guy was just turn me off. I’d keep reading just for the interactions among the AIs if it weren’t for that.

          • I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Sarah writes a cozy mystery series under the psuedonym Elise Hyatt. The titles of the books so far are French Polished Murder, Dipped Stripped and Dead and A Fatal Stain. All are great books even if the show is stolen (IMO,YMMV) by a young boy named E. Read them if you haven’t. They’re all definitely worth your time.

          • Carl Henderson

            Look for some of Charlaine Harris’ earlier mysteries featuring Aurora Teagarden. They are much close to “cosy” and have no vampires (or any other supernatural creatures) at all.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora_Teagarden

        • I’ve stopped reading them. They’re so PC or spiteful or bitchy or green.

      • C’mon, TXRed, I know what “Bless her heart” means. ;-)

        As for the open niches, she won’t write them. She writes “literary” mysteries, don’cha know. Besides, what’s wrong with black leather? [VBEG]

        • Besides the cost of upkeep and the problem of stretching? Nothing wrong with black leather, but I get tired of “urban fantasy” meaning “elves, ghosts, were-cretures in a city (wearing black leather).” NTTAWWT

          • LOL. I was joking with the questions because I realized as I finished the latest novel in the Hunter’s Moon series I write under the pen name that the main characters do wear leather — some favor black and others favor other colors — when acting in their “official” capacity within the shifter community. I think it was my subconscious giving the raspberry to those books where all they wear is leather — which gets hot in the summer down here. ;-)

            • My shifters wear jeans and live in the Nevada desert. lol

              • Mine usually wear jeans. The leather is for “special occasions”. I never really thought about it until this last book but it is their “alpha” outfit, at least for the women, when the pride meets. Other than that, they dress like normal folks. ;-)

                • lol I have a dressy leather jacket– but I only wore it in Germany– I can see where leather could be too hot in certain places.

                • I’d figure that shapeshifters would wear lycra, and maybe loose, thin clothing over that. The lycra would (presumably) still fit after they’d shifted, and the outer clothes could be fairly easily dispensed with. Wearing something tight and non-elastic sounds like a recipe for painful constrictions.

                  • Well guys seem to get out of Levis (loose fit… not the recent styles) in a hurry– so not a problem there. Plus tearing T-shirts– well they are cheap and easy to buy at Walmart for a nice price. Lycra– well it is kind of like elastic.. .in the heat it can start to bag and fall off– after awhile… sometimes not a good thing either.

                  • Rada wears what ever she wants, because when she shifts, she has to take off her clothes (or ruin them a la Sarah’s Shifters). She does have two outfits that sort of shift with her, but they are made from an experimental material that Master Thomas thought she might try. They are hot, and scratchy, and the collars feel starched. Rada was polite.

                    • Tom and Kyrie buy clothes from thrift stores because they ruin SO MANY. And they have learned from Rafiel to have hidden caches all over town.
                      Though the two naked guys in a car with police pursuing scene from Gentleman Takes A Chance Fills me with UNHOLY glee.

                    • Sarah- that makes me want to do a villain laugh– Mwah-ha-ah

                  • Poul Anderson has some fun with that in Operation Chaos.

                    Or, of course, you can go by the old standby, that the werewolf has to take his clothes off to change — and be able to put them on again to change back.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  The shifters I created for an un-written story wore leather armor and clothing made from animal products because that way their clothing/armor became part of them in shifted form. Obviously metal weapons remained behind. Of course, these shifters existed in a world where magic worked. Part of their magic allowed them to “shift” such clothing/armor with them.

                  • So wouldn’t the species of leather influence their form?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Not really. The shifters were actually werewolves who, in time, could shift whenever they wanted. If they didn’t know that they were werewolves, their first shifts were at night (ie when they were sleeping) and they changed back automatically at dawn. My main character was a new werewolf who had fled his village, fearing what he had become, but encountered a pack whose leader was a baron. Oh, the baron and his pack were nice guys. The baron would have killed the young man if he had killed a human (especially one of his subjects) but paid for the sheep that the young man had killed (as a wolf) for food.

          • My fairy princess favors jeans and t-shirts. I don’t think I’ve discussed what the elves wear.

      • “local historical fiction”

        Wait. That’s a recognized genre? A few years ago I read some mysteries where the detective was US Grant — they were set in his hometown and another nearby, the area I grew I up. In one of them, they arrested a guy from my hometown on suspicion of being the murderer just because where he was from.

        (It was a reasonable suspicion…)

    • Cannot fathom why idiots like this are so enamored of the zero sum philosophy. To them there is no such thing as creating new wealth, just a fixed pie that everyone has to fight over.
      And the shear irony of it all is that IMHO Rowling’s greatest gift is not just some kick ass good fiction, but the literally tens of thousands of kids, their parents, and childless adults who read her works as new readers. Get that? NEW READERS who would otherwise probably never have cracked a work of fiction in their lives. How many other authors have benefitted from that lost empty feeling a new reader gets after the last page of a truly entertaining book? So they go looking for their next fix and they very well might have stumbled on one of your books Lynn Shephard you ignorant slut (hat tip to SNL).
      For myself, about 80% of what I read is revisits to my favorites and new work by trusted authors. Another 15% is word of mouth from friends who’s opinions I value, a good bit of that here on Sarah’s blog. The last 5% is new works I happen to stumble on either by casual scans or on rare occasion books I see mentioned in the news. I am pleased to state for the record that Lynn baby and her works will never make the cut on my list of books waiting to be read.

      • “Cannot fathom why idiots like this are so enamored of the zero sum philosophy. ”

        It justifies both sloth and envy.

        • bing, bing, bing. The lady wins the star.

        • It’s also the byproduct of the “everyone is special” mentality we’ve had in schools, etc., for years. Scare isn’t kept on the playground in a game of kickball or softball because we don’t want to the feelings of the team who didn’t score as many points. Schools have done away with letter grades and gone to pass/fail or have done away with class standings to avoid making anyone feel like they are not the best. Then, little Johnny gets out in the real world and gets kicked in the teeth with reality and can’t understand because he’s special. He’s entitled to have the job he wants at the pay he wants, etc. To hell with working hard to earn it.

          • “can’t understand because he’s special.”

            Followed by the “you dissin me so I’m entitled to rob/rape/hit/cut/shoot you” reaction….

            • Or, as seen down here, by the “I need to go to rehab instead of prison for killing all those folks while drunk because my parents never told me there’d be consequences to my actions.”

    • Doug, absolutely. The poor little darlings just can’t grasp that writing is hard work and a lot of luck. Readers have to actually LIKE what you write to keep coming back and buying more. As for hoping Sarah gets better fast, you and me both. She has books to write that I want to read!

    • Fools make a similar illogical argument about wealth. There’s only so much, and if one person gets more the rest of us get less.

      Lynn Shepherd should look at the statistics showing increased book sales and increased book revenues. New authors (the ones who work hard at writing instead of whining) are being published while established authors continue to write. This is a good time to be a writer and a reader.

    • The “idiot” isn’t an “un proven author,” she’s just bad. Read the last line, of the third review of her first book. “I’d rather read a cereal box.” =8-0

  3. Toxic… I don’t need to say more.

    Enjoyed this article.

  4. She should remember back in the days before Harry Potter, when the people reading it were reading — nothing, often enough.

  5. Pingback: Monday Morning Thoughts | Nocturnal Lives

  6. Umm.. WOW!

    I’m not a Marxist, don’t claim to be a Marxist, don’t believe in Marxism and believe that the Communist Manifesto is best used for toilet paper. (Seriously. If I ever get a hit the size of HP/JK Rowling, along with accompanying income, I’m going to find a way to have a roll of toilet paper made with the writings of Marx on it. Then I’m going to use it). That much being said, with a Marxist you can usually at least blame the system. Seriously. With schools pushing this crap SOMEONE is bound to believe it.) This bi… *ahem* woman doesn’t even have that going for her. She’s just whining with no basis in any belief system I’ve heard of. This makes me want to vomit.

    Un-freaking-believable is what that drivel is. She needs to stop writing, why? BECAUSE SHE’S GOOD AT IT!!! Seriously? I can’t deal with this. I actually read the entirety of that article. My lunch is ruined and it’s still before ten. ICK!

    I really wanted to make an intelligent comment today, but I’m afraid that this is the best I can do. I’m still in shock.

    • It’s envy made into a blunt instrument.

      • YES – you must be a writer ;-)

      • I think we now know why envy is one of the deadly sins. Though the way this woman deploys her blunt instrument, Nerf comes to mind. If Rowling should stop writing to clear slots and shelve space, what about all those dahlings who get books on the shelves that nobody wants to read and don’t sell?

      • And here I figured it was the end result of two generations of altering the teaching style to leave boys behind. This poor thing has been raised in a classroom with a teacher imposing marxist “fairness” and “group consensus” and encouraging ritalin and other drugs to slow down the bright and zombify the restless, while giving participation trophies to everyone and handicapping the best because “it’s not fair.”

        Too bad she didn’t figure out before she opened her word processor and her mental mouth that she’d been lied to, and life isn’t like that. There is no government holding a gun to my head and enforcing “equal reading of all writers”, so I’m going to go with the most entertaining and interesting. As for her? She doesn’t even make the cut to click over to the original article.

    • Jim, reading the article, all I could think of were some of the scenes with the looters in Atlas Shrugged. My reaction was about the same. They want those who produce because it keeps the companies, in this case the publishers, alive, but they then want the producers to step aside so they can take advantage of the benefits that have come about because of the producers. Leeches!

      • Exactly. Best believe Little Miss Entitled would sell to the market that Rowling created in a heartbeat too. She’s not just a leech. She’s a hypocrite too.

        • Not that it is likely to ever happen, but anybody want to speculate on the over/under that this stupid cow talented and thoughtful new author, should she ever reached Rowling-like sales, would retire?

          Keep in mind that she probably doesn’t like writing and would be grateful for an excuse to stop.

          • see, I’ve written Austen fanfic and even commercially published some (A Touch Of Night) but I know it’s a niche market, if not as niche as all that. It is however, not going to EVER achieve Rowling levels.
            Part of me worries, and wonders if she was part of the merry band of austen fanfickers I belonged to in the nineties? I don’t remember TOTAL insanity.

      • Agreed. It was like a parody from Ayn Rand. Made me think of the Anti-Dog Eat Dog law.

        • There’s actually a scene in Atlas where they discuss having the same number of books published every year, and how “books which never had a chance” will then have to be published and read. She really was very prophetic.

    • “This bi… *ahem* woman”

      Can’t imagine what you were going to say. Hold on … I have to let the tube dogs back in the house. “Here girls!”

    • Ever notice that ‘Marxist’, who should be all about the workers controlling the means of production, tend to freak out when actual workers independantly gain control of their means of production?

      • Sure have. Take a course in Labor History. It’ll reinforce this point again and again IF you pay more attention to what can be learned from the sources in front of you and less to the prof’s Marxist twaddle.

        Ouch, I just wrote that. My labor prof’s name was Dan and I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a person and a historian. It’s his philosophy I disagree with. Sorry Dan.

      • Because the damned workers keep turning to things the Unintelligentsia don’t approve — fast cars, vacation homes, winter heat…

    • It’s just escaping into the wild. I have read with my own eyes a woman recounting her experience as a radical feminist in a 60s underground paper, and even after they dropped bylines, they ended up telling her she couldn’t write because she wrote too well, and people could tell which articles were hers. (She made a gallant effort to conform and write worse, though.)

    • Modern Art succeeded in eliminating any element of talent from the qualities required of a successful painter or sculptor — why shouldn’t literature follow the same path?

  7. I don’t understand why you guys waste your time with these idiots.
    And SFWA, is that Single Women With Angst? Let them commit suicide unremarked, I say.

    • Because someone has to speak out. Because someone has to publicly push back.

    • Because left to their own devices they often become incestuous black holes growing on themselves and drawing in the innocent. And most dangerous, may achieve sufficient mass that they can have an influence on the real world. We see this all the time related to Second Amendment issues. Groups drunk on their own koolaide with memberships in the dozens get headline quotes in the media and if left unchecked will have an effect on legislation.
      You have to nip this crap in the bud or you wake up some fine morning with a new fairness doctrine for authors with some faceless bureaucrat dictating how much you make and how much you are allowed to write.
      Naturally, idiots like these would prefer to get a stipend directly from the government in exchange for the occasional really caring and insightful poetry tome shipped directly to a government warehouse/mulch pile.

      • If you’d like to support an indie poet *grin I have three poetry chapbooks on Amazon. Plus I put up one of my poems on my site on Sundays. I thought selling fiction was hard. How about selling poetry?

            • I hope the kindle format treats your poetry better than it does Kipling’s or Service’s. The copies I’ve downloaded were evidently put up by a person who strongly believed in word wrap, and with a severe allergy to line breaks.

              • THAT is because they come from Gutenberg and most people trying to turn a fast buck on them don’t do any format.

              • Luke– I format my own books. Any mistake on covers and formatting is my own fault. I have been careful of line-breaks though.

                • Glad to hear it.
                  I was writing it off as an inherent problem with adjustable-sized font, and operating under the (admittedly jumped-to) conclusion that the format itself wasn’t conducive to poetry.

                  From others I’ve talked to, this misperception seems to be pretty common.

                  • No– It is easy to format line breaks– as to how it looks if you use a very large font– well that could be a different problem. One of my first jobs was being a typesetter so I have had some experience even before indie-publishing…

        • Cyn, you make my point. You, dear lady have the guts to put your work out there for the market to determine its worth. And bless you for your courage. I hope you do fantastically well.
          The so called author who started all this wants the “system” to be forced to grant her special privilege. She obviously is enamored of her own works so the rest of us must be forced to respond likewise. In my opinion it’s stuff like that which is responsible for the whole SFWA kerfuffle and the long slow dying of readership both here and worldwide. Rowlings Potter books were a positive force against that trend as was the creation and promotion of e-books, or so I believe.

          • Thank you Uncle Lar– I have found that very few people like to buy poetry *sigh. However, I keep putting them up– as I do my stories and novels. I realized a long time ago that poetry is something I have to write–

          • A note: I did do the literary route with my poetry and have a couple of “impressive” credentials. lol I quit doing it because of the stress and the illness. Some of the rejections I would get would not be because of my poetry, but because I didn’t have an advanced degree in English Lit or CW.

    • Because I remember the phrase “silent majority” and saw how that silent majority remained silent, for the most part. Besides, I’ve never been real good about being silent when people who don’t agree with what I’m saying tell me I should be ;-)

      • And that’s exactly the way to go. Not being silent. It’s not for people like her as much as it for people who get the feeling that what she says just isn’t right and then go looking for some affirmation. If the insecure ones can’t find that they may be sucked in. And the other group are the insecure into the other direction ones, the ones who think that what she says may make sense, but have slight doubts, and go looking too, expecting to find mostly creeds confirming hers. If they then find differing opinions they may change their minds.

        It’s very easy to just unthinkingly accept what _seems_ to be the majority opinion. So it’s very important to make sure there are differing viewpoints easily found.

  8. The premise of Ms. Shepherd that limited resources like “shelf space” and “column inches” should be allocated on some basis other than market demand. Is it ideological purity by the solons of the SFWA? Is it by the Ministry of Truth? Is it equally distributed by Dennis Moore? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLkhx0eqK5w

  9. Eh, I can’t say I don’t understand the sentiment — not for Rowling, personally, but a number of horror authors I know might theoretically have done much better if that whole field wasn’t always under the shadow of King, Rice, Koontz and other such “three-shelf” names. But understanding the sentiment is very different from considering that it justifies anything, either an author’s obligation to stop working or an audience’s obligation to stop buying that work if it wants.

    This is something I’ve said before to other would-be advocacy authors: You have to use the *book* to sell the *message* — you CANNOT use the message to sell the book, or you’re only preaching to the choir. Most people will not choose their entertainment based on perceived moral obligation.

    • And the message can’t be so heavy-handed that the reader feels they are being beaten about the head with it. Weave it into the story so it is something that become integral but almost stealthed, something the reader wants to think about even if they don’t agree with it.

      • Ah yes, the beloved Sledgehammer of Morality.

        Heeeeeeere’s your message! (WHACK!)

      • Exactly — especially if the message is one that is going to be directly, personally challenging to large chunks of your audience. Which is not in itself necessarily a bad thing, but if your goal is to win people over to your way of thinking, condemning them for not being there already is seldom a productive way to start.

  10. I dunno, Amanda. It looks like Ms Shepherd might have come to the conclusion that there may be something wrong with the Push model of publishing. Faintly, from the backside, and draws the wrong conclusion, but that is the sort of person you may be able to reach if she ever stops listening to the opinion in her head.
    It is easy to call her a 99% trying to Occupy herself in some way, but it is that niggling dissonance that won’t go away that is the entry point for reality, and that irritation makes a lot of the screamers scream loudly to drown out the seductive song of common sense. She is a perfect candidate to suggest that another solution is not to push Rowling out of the field so the little voices can see the skies (Ah, that would be a clear-cutting metaphor and clear-cutting = bad) but instead widen the gates so anyone can get through, and let the forest expand.
    Of course, her fallback career path may be editor, so she may be actually working on the idea that she cannot consciously voice that she wishes Rowling would not skip around in genres because it is harder to keep that sort of thing straight for the publishers’ pushes.

    • Good point, Bob. I wonder if she’s ever taken the time to look into exactly how the business side of publishing (at least the surface layers that authors that are “allowed” to see) works and compare it to anything else? And would she take the lesson others of us have gotten, i.e. indie publishing is more work up-front but brings in greater long-term revenue, or would she dig into her current position even harder, decrying amateurs as well as people who try to write outside their niches? I fear my money is on option B, but I’ve been wrong before.

    • Yes, I was wondering why she’s ranting about shelf space and doesn’t go e-publishing … this still puzzles me, but I guess I’m still an outlier? I don’t feel that way and I’ve never been an early adopter of anything … but I literally cannot remember the last time I bought a paper book that wasn’t home school curriculum. It’s all kindle and public library in this house. I guess she needs to get out more.

      • Because in her tiny little brain it’s not about talent it’s all about privilege and insider advantage. With indie you must place your pride and joy out there for all the world to critique, thus running the risk of finding that it really isn’t the shining gem you believe it to be.
        Puts me in mind of that old Heinlein quote regarding bad luck.

      • I think she is because she is traditionally published and she has drunk the kool-aid that convinces them of the evils of e-books and self-publishing.

    • There is unrest in the forest,
      There is trouble with the trees,
      For the maples want some sunlight
      And the oaks ignore their pleas…

      • “For the maples want some more sunlight”

        “For they passed a noble law,
        And now the Trees are all kept equal
        By Hatchet, Axe, and Saw…”

  11. If Lynn Shepherd really wants to free up shelf space for other, more deserving writers, maybe she should go after all those books “written” by the Real Housewives rather than someone who actually does write her own books.

    Then again, this HuffPo article is some serious marketing. Write something controversial about a famous author to bring the eyeballs, which then see lnks to her own two books. Well played, Lynn Shepherd. Well played, indeed.

  12. Sorry, but everytime I read about what people are entitled to I think of the Tubes song, “White Punks on Dope”, with the patter at the end:

    ….but if you’re an American citizen you are entitled to:
    a heated kidney shaped pool,
    a microwave oven–don’t watch the food cook,
    a Dyna-Gym–I’ll personally demonstrate it in the privacy of your own home,
    a king-size Titanic unsinkable Molly Brown waterbed with polybendum,
    a foolproof plan and an airtight alibi,
    real simulated Indian jewelry,
    a Gucci shoetree……

      • Hear hear! Best car ever built. Nader should have been hanged.

        • Oh no. I often use the precursor of the Monza as one of the reason s GM is totally a garbage company. Some nimrod got the silly Idea of saving weight on the motor, so they went with an Aluminum block . . . but kept the cast iron head. Was nothing but trouble, and caused numerous issues by not only being a silly idea, but being as poorly implemented as possible.
          Then, with all the horrible experience they got from that model, decided to design a luxury car engine with even more flaws (the Cadilac V8 with yet another aluminum block and cast iron heads, but this time with free standing steel cylinders liners that moved about and caused leaking head gaskets, deep knocks in the engine as they worked loose, and internal corrosion problems. The Monza just went back to the tried and true Iron Duke, that while more reliable (if you got one the workers hadn’t messed up the build on) was less efficient and noisy. I’ll take a Toyota or Mitsubishi made Dodge from the same era.
          Now stuffed with a Buick aluminum V8 (or its later variant the Rover V8) they are decent handling little hot rods.

    • … and a baby’s arm holding an apple!

    • Woke up this morning with one thought in my mind: Title is “What do You Want From Life”. Drat.

  13. The arrogance of her assumption that she has the right to tell an author not to write books because it inconveniences herself — even though the author wants to write and readers want to read them — is mind-boggling.

    • She thought Atlas Shrugged was a how-to book.

      Really. There’s an author in there who tries to limit the number of a book that can be sold.

  14. I hope Lynn Shepherd never becomes and editor, or any sort of gatekeeper deciding who gets published.

  15. Is she the daughter of Balph Eubank?

    • I was just going to point that out…. The argument made by this “woman” is pretty much that made by Balph: There should be no more than 10,000 copies of any single book sold *by law*.

      Rand might have been long-winded, but she got a few things right about the future (now).

    • Matthew, you read my mind as I was initially reading her post.

  16. It’s an excuse, isn’t it? I recall some supremely angry people who were upset that Joe the Plumber had a book published. Why? Well, they couldn’t really say that they were all about controlling speech and shutting down voices they didn’t like (though they weren’t shy about that either) but about, rather, keeping free speech running and open by making sure that the few publishing slots open weren’t wasted on the wrong things. See… if Joe got a book, that meant that someone else *didn’t* get a book. The finite pie…

    And it looks like that’s the whole argument here. If someone else gets a book deal, then someone else doesn’t get a book deal.

    With Joe the Plumber it was truly stupid, as his publisher was filling a particular political niche that had nothing to do with the market for anything else. If he took someone else’s publishing slot it was someone who these people ALSO despised.

    The same (false) argument could be made for publishing back-lists in romance or sci-fi or other genres that didn’t used to *have* a back-list. Those authors got their chance and publishing their back-lists means some new author won’t get a chance.

    It’s simply not true.

    I feel a bit sorry for people who really do think that in order for them to make it, someone else has to not make it. In truth you’re more likely to have better chances and more success when someone else makes it big because the market expands.

    No finite pie.

    • ” I recall some supremely angry people who were upset that Joe the Plumber had a book published. Why?”

      Because they were supremely insulted that there should be a market for Joe the Plumber’s presumtively pedestrian writing just because he disagreed with them.

      And because there are people like me with a book list that is already a mile long whose only conceivable reason for reading a book by Joe the Plumber is because it upsets people like them.

      • I don’t recall such complaints when the Clintons got such huge advances for their books. Of course, they are important people with significant things to say, unlike blue-collar schmucks such as Joe the Plumber and Eric Hoffer.

  17. Ms. Shephard would do well to follow Neal Gaiman’s advice:

    “Make good art.”

    • Write something so good that people will forgo their “beer”–(entertainment item) for it.

      Somebody, I can’t remember who, said that sf is in competition for people’s beer money.

      • Seriously ??? I knew a group that would read or watch sci-fi with their beer. Mostly geeks in electronics or languages (usually high IQ) in the military.

        • You mean there’s another way to read it? (of course, there are times I switch out whiskey for beer)

        • They complement each other well (who am I kidding, beer makes everything better), but money spent on books is money that cannot be spent on beer. Frankly you creative types have a moral obligation to provide me more entertainment than the 1-2 beers I could have bought with the money.

          • Geez – you made me think about my military associates and their jokes about the 6 beer women at the clubs. I can’t give you that much entertainment —

          • That’s something all writers should aspire to!

            I’m not a writer (yet, of anything not brain numbingly horrible), so I can get away with saying that, right?

          • It is not the beer money, it is what you choose to do while drinking the beer. While drinking my beer I can watch a decent movie for the price of that MMPB, or binge on a season of Justified for the price of a HBB, or I can pick up a $5 out-of-copyright DVD package of two dozen Westerns, Horror flicks, vintage SF or other film. I can listen to a basketball game, or a baseball game or an opera — for free and avoid the manipulation of bad authors forcing cardboard characters to pre-ordained ends.

            Or I can sit quietly and watch paint dry, which is still more likely to provide enjoyable amusement than Mz Shepherd’s prose.

        • I’ve said that before, and I may have stolen that from somewhere (my brain’s pretty useless on lack of sleep).

          Yes, I’ve done the MST3K with beer and buddies sci-fi marathon, but when I’m next to broke (like now) I forgo the beer for books. People’s entertainment budgets vary, but what we choose to spend entertainment dollars on says something. Books are the best entertainment for the price I’ve found.

  18. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Hey! I am entitled!! I’m entitled to new books from my favorite authors as soon as I *want* them. [Very Big Kidding Grin]

  19. Of course the pie is not definite, and is finite only in the sense of the absurd limiting case that no more books could be read than what would be possible by the entire global population spending 100% of their leisure time reading. The pie can grow if more interesting books are published, and it can shrink if less interesting books are published. If people like Lynn Shepherd had her way, publication would be to achieve “fairness” rather than please the audience, and then the pie would most definitely dwindle.

  20. I checked her Amazon list- She has quite a few books in both kindle and paperback. Mysteries, most with a three star rating (not a dig, just trying to give a complete picture) Basically- since she is already an established writer with books on the shelves, there isn’t any point in her article other than than since Rowling has moved into her genre she’s afraid that the bar will be raised.
    Second point- We lost our Waldon Books, closed the doors. We only have Hastings in our city of 40K. And they have lots of empty space on their shelves and what they do have is mostly older stuff. Of course, none of the present writers on this site have a book on the empty shelves either so you aren’t blocking her. Has anyone looked at bookstores impact on the market? Another tempest in a teapot, looks like.

    • What gets me though…. if Rowling publishes mystery and her fans follow her there and realize they really enjoy mystery….

      I mean, it’s obvious to me that this is a good thing and likely to grow Shepherd’s own sales, not take away from her own sales.

      • Synova, that’s using logic again and you know they don’t understand that. It’s the same sort of disconnect too many publishers have about offering e-books to libraries. They are afraid the e-books will be pirated instead of leading to more sales for them. Idjits.

      • It was a recognized phenomenon that a new Potter book generated increased store sale of other books (why d’ya think the stores were discounting them so deeply they were practically selling at a loss?) People coming to a (well-managed) book store for the new Potter would look around, read back covers and try other authors. Amazing but true!! Rowling didn’t simply hog the pie, she increased the size of it and stimulated appetites.

  21. Let me repeat what I said on facebook…verbatim…
    Jeebus Jumping H Christ! What a whining, puling, puking, petty, vindictive, jealous….I know I’m forgetting a “P” word in there, I know I am..AHA!…PRATTLING , waspish, backbiting imbecilic, INFANTILE little worm for an example of the female of the species. Or to quote an old military axiom. Geez, what a blivet! For those that don’t know blivet…tis 10lbs of shit crammed into a 5lb bag. IOW that woman is a walking manure pile. sadly there are a lot of them around.

    • C’mon, Sean, tell us what you really feel [VBEG]

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I am deeply offended on the behalf of my good friends in the animate piles of crud community.

      Wait, my buddy the seven legged mass of bovine feces tells me I shouldn’t be so thin skinned. It says ‘man up and grow a pair.’

      Also ‘pot is a terrible thing. If you keep getting angry whenever one of that sort says or does something stupid, you will never be calm. Being angry all the time makes you stupid, and you are the only one you can really be responsible for.’

  22. Sigh…would someone delete the one I posted at 2:35.

  23. The worst ones are preachy message books that also include peer pressure of the protagonist to give up all his/her principles. It’s even worse when the peer pressure includes sex, and/or peer pressure to have sex with all the peers, plus authorial pressure on the reader to think these nasty people are likeable.

    Heinlein could get away with that sort of thing because he was personable; but even he was usually showing characters teach someone that their principles were not being logically expressed. Most authors are nowhere near that personable.

    • Like “Grease”. Different media, I know. I’ve always thought Grease was a really annoying morallity play. (With fun songs, though.)

      • Yeah, hate the message in Grease but I love some of the songs.

        • Grease has a message?

          • Jordan S. Bassior

            Yes. “Lower yourself to the mean average if you excel, lest one be guilty of being different and thus be rejected.”

            • Funny, I don’t remember anything but the songs. Guess that’s what happens when the story is forgettable but the songs good.

              • Recall the plot direction: Oblivia becomes a leather-clad tramp to prove she’s accepted Yawn’s values; Yawn hasn’t had to man up, clean-up and dress-up to merit her love, much less clean his d*@# hair and put on a tie.) They couldn’t be bothered to steal from O’Henry, they decreed that the female must subordinate her values to those of the male.

                • “Because the ’50′s were anti-feminist.”

                  • Jordan S. Bassior

                    Actually, because the `70′s were devoted to the idea that Quantity of Sex is more important than Quality of Love. What’s more, the attitudes displayed by the characters are probably wrong for 1958 — they are more like those of around 1963. A lot changed in those five years — specifically, 17-18 year olds in 1958 would have been born 1940-41 and been Silents, not Boobmers.

          • “Find liberation by getting in touch with your Inner Slut”. Catchy tunes though:-P

  24. Pingback: The Orcs and the Books | John C. Wright's Journal

  25. YellowShapedBox

    Of all the complaints one could possibly have about Casual Vacancy – unremitting bleakness, unremitting pettiness, characters without a single redeeming virtue painted exclusively in the broad strokes of Social Problems, the fact that sixty percent of Mugglenet users couldn’t even bring themselves to finish the thing – this lady’s problem is that it made a lot of money? And she has the identical problem with Cuckoo’s Calling, a book that contains the most penetrating human insight I have ever seen in the mystery genre? Good grief, woman. How can an author have so little love for story?

  26. Christopher M. Chupik

    Sarah should quit writing so us other Huns can launch our writing careers. :-P

    • If you divide mine between two of you, you can BOTH starve on the installment plan.

      • No, no, she should keep writing in order to entice more suckers into reading stories that are fun and entertaining (thus expanding the potential audience for our books, mwahahaha!).

        A point Larry Correia made better than I ever could here.

  27. Ugh. You know what Harry Potter did for children’s/YA fantasy? Did it shut everything else down and only allow people to buy HP? No, it brought tons of old, really good fantasy back into print. It brought a lot of new fantasy writers into the market. It even convinced publishers that children could read books over 200 pages, to the point that now a fantasy book practically has to be a trilogy of 500 pages per volume (not necessarily a good thing in some cases….). I used to talk HP addicts into reading Diana Wynne Jones all the time, and they *could* because her books were *actually in print.*

    So wrongheaded, I don’t even know where to start.

    • And it says volumes about modern publishing that JKR’s first book was turned down by so many publishers, and was only picked up because one editor gave it to his son to read – for anyone who wonders why kids stopped reading in the first place (I’ve read that there was an active movement to get fairy tales and such out of the libraries in the 50s and 60s because they weren’t serious literature.)

      • YellowShapedBox

        And it was only syndicated in the US, by Scholastic anyway, because K.A. Applegate managed to finagle a 250-page book by publishing it as part of an already-wildly-popular series of much thinner books. Legacy publishers have been that ossified as long as I’ve been alive (which, to be fair, is not all that long.)

      • I don’t know about an anti-fairy-tale movement in the 50s, though libraries often didn’t like to stock ‘trash’ like Nancy Drew back then. The anti-fairy-tale thing was really big in the 1920s, though. It was thought that children should only read about real things around them, and that fairy tales would damage them. Whatever it was, it gave rise to a lot of really boring books about the milkman and the postman.

        If I may evoke my beloved DWJ again, she said: “I always think it is significant that the generation that trained my mother to despise all fantasising produced Hitler and two world wars. People confronted with Hitler should have said ‘He’s just like that villain I imagined the other night,’ or ‘He’s as mad as something out of Batman,’ but they couldn’t, because it was not allowed.”

        • I know that the Wizard of Oz books – so popular that Baum had to write one every year until he died, and then other people were found to keep up the series – continued until the 1950s, but they were the Harry Potters of their day. The libraries never could get rid of the first book, it was too much a part of the American culture, but most people don’t know there was a whole series of sequels, many even better than the original. Remove a book from the libraries back then and it was truly gone.

          But, you know, I can’t think of many others – Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series in the 60s, or the Phantom Tollbooth, maybe, and Tolkien, of course, and all the wonderful SF&F pulp books. But not the fairy tales sort of thing – not like the wonderful Victorians (which I read because my family kept them all, and my Mom made sure I got books that she had loved when growing up, like the Oz books – and thank goodness for Dover books, keeping all those Andrew Langs and Howard Pyles and such available). Of course, the Victorians realized fairy tales could be a gateway to religion and spirituality (George MacDonald, anyone?) – maybe that was the reason they became unpopular with the intelligentsia. And there was that awful gritty reality movement in the 1950s.

          Brandon Sanderson, in one of his YA stories, had a character talk about how you could recognize a Really Important Book – because the character’s dog would die, or his mother would die, or, if the books was REALLY IMPORTANT, the dog AND the mother would die. Gah! (With all due respect to Old Yeller and Bambi.)

          • There was someone, a singer – operatic contralto, who on a record made some comment about the “new realism” in the 50′s literature, where you got to page 680 of a 800 page book on the plight of the pre-revolutionary Russian peasant and the main character dies.

            • Sounds like something Anna Russell would say (I could never see Wagner quite the same way after she pointed out Brunhilde was Seigfried’s aunt :-))

    • It saved a couple of children’s fantasy imprints, I believe.

  28. Wheeee!!!!! That was a fun read!

  29. Off topic, I just got my MHI PUFF exemption. I’m safe from MCB now …

    • guys… that means no hunting Julius. I said–

      • I was only worried about Frank …

      • Orange Julius?

      • Damne, now what are we going to threaten him with to get him to behave?

      • It only means that the rewards of hunting him are non-financial, it doesn’t mean we cannot hunt him. And the wonderful thing about vampires is they leave no awkward corpse to be disposed.

        • Now now, I must point out that the back reads that hunting me “may be a felony” …

          I would leave a lot behind … such as my collection of SPI games, quite a few years of Analog and a very very large ball of twine.

          • ” … may be a felony.” May.

            As if any jury would convict. When you are as cute as a wallaby you can club baby seals with pandas and get away with it.

            Not that I would have ever done such a thing. It was probably one of those Mad Max cosplaying wallabies.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Actually I suspect that hunting you would be fatal … to the hunter. [Grin]

            On the idea that killing a vampire is “safe” because the vampire’s body disappears, that only happens when the vampire is very very old.

            On the other hand, when Marvel was publishing the Blade comics (about a vampire hunter), Blade “got away” with killing vampires because when there was a body, it had obviously been dead for some time so Blade couldn’t have just killed that person. [Evil Grin]

  30. As for Lynn Shepard, there’s a reason that JK Rowling blows her off the shelves. It’s in the first line of Lynn’s first book:
    “About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntington, with only 7000 pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram,” and on and on, drawing out every detail of the lady’s life, written as if came from a parish record or something, as the first and most important sentence in her story. Compare that to the first line in Harry Potter:” Mr. and Mrs. Dursely of Four Privet Drive were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Right off the bar you know that something perfectly abnormal is happening in the Dursley’s lives and you haven’t even met Harry yet. You want to though, so you keep reading. That’s how a good storyteller works.

    • It’s Jane Austen fanfic.

      • It’s bad Jane Austen fanfic, without the patina of age to give it luster. It’s Ok for Jane Austen to read like that. That’s the way they wrote, maybe, in the early nineteenth century, for a different market. But if you are trying to sell to a bigger market than maybe 200 ravening Jane Austen romantics, you need to learn that editing is a powerful tool of the craft of writing. I get the feeling that Ms. Shepard has spent a lot of time learning about writing and very little time learning how to write.

        • The first line of Pride & Prejudice is one of the most famous first lines of any book ever written. Write up there with “Call me Ishmael” or “YOU don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter,” “Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’, thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?’ ” and “It was a dark and stormy night.”

          Mz Sheepdip’s opener wouldn’t make the cut in a Bullwer-Lytton competition.

          • A much better opening line than Mz Shepherd’s, conveying the same thing:
            “If you’re going to read this, don’t bother.”
            Choke by Chuck Palahniuk.

            Prepare to abandon all time, ye who click here: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Opening_lines

            It was a diamond all right, shining in the grass half a dozen feet from the blue brick wall.

            Composite image, optically encoded by escort-craft of the trans-Channel airship Lord Brunel: aerial view of suburban Cherbourg, 14 October 1905.

            The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.

            Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.

            I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.

            It was a pleasure to burn.

            There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

            On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.

            It was seven o’clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day’s rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips.

            The Morris dance is common to all inhabited worlds in the multiverse.

            There was a man and he had eight sons. Apart from that, he was nothing more than a comma on the page of History. It’s sad, but that’s all you can say about some people.

            There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

    • She writes Jane Austen spinoffs? Now there’s a saturated market. That is much more likely to be her problem than The Casual Vacancy is.

  31. The bit that gets my goat (Hey you kids, bring back my goat!) is the whole concept of “It’s someone else’s turn!” Turn? TURN?! This is the single concept that is limiting adults these days to perpetual childhood. THERE IS NO TURN!!! There is only what you personally make happen, with your study, and hard work, and time spent building skills and experience, and also luck. BUT no one is gatekeeping, monitoring frikking TURNS! And waiting around for the Turn Fairy to flutter through and tap you with the Turn Wand is, well, you’re doing it wrong.

  32. Pingback: The J.K. Rowling Insult | The Musings of Erotica Author C.V. Walter

  33. Shepherd’s screed is straight out of ATLAS SHRUGGED. See the “Balph Eubank” scenes.

  34. So, Shepherd thinks certain people should stop writing for the benefit of Reading Itself. So, if we accept the premise that Reading Itself can be benefited by certain people ceasing to write, we should dig deeper into her premise and see who should stop writing. Should it be a) a woman who wrote a book that sold insane amounts, and got more children reading than Fun with Dick and Jane, or b) Someone with a GHH who thinks that her writing will succeed if only the competition were eliminated, and whose writing probably turns more people OFF of reading than on.

    Hmmm, I’m more inclined to go with b) myself.

  35. Pingback: Perpetual Adolescence | Cedar Writes

  36. Pingback: Balph Eubank Lives | madgeniusclub

  37. Great post, Amanda! Entitlement is something that an author (especially an aspiring one) can ill-afford. Writing is full of those precious little moments when Life kicks you to the curb and does a tap-dance on your head while giggling maniacally. Entitlement just adds an extra layer of sting to those moments — like karmic lemon juice for those existential paper cuts.

  38. Pingback: Author suggests JK Rowling stop writing adult fiction

  39. Pingback: Seriously?! | fallingdownthecreativewell

  40. The Other Sean

    There’s always “pusillanimous”