I hadn’t planned on posting about this incident with author Hugh Howey and his public rant, but since all authors are under scrutiny now more than ever, I decided to put it up just for my own sake, and record it on this blog. I often think of this blog as my own personal journal, and I reference it all the time. And this is news; this is interesting; this is current. I might want to go back and reference it once again.
For those who don’t know, Hugh Howey is a self-published author who has done well…very well. He has a deal with a big publisher, and from what I’ve read a nice movie deal. I haven’t read him; I know nothing else about him. He is what all self-pubbed authors dream of becoming. Well, most anyway. Not everyone wants that kind of fame and some writers just want to be career writers and continue working until they die. But I digress. Our culture promotes this kind of thing, and most people want it…but not all of us.
In any event, Howey met up with an aggressive young woman at WorldCon last year who wasn’t fond of self-publishing, made her views known openly, and went on her own little public rant. According to everything I’ve read she was quite obnoxious about it. Howey didn’t like this, and he went after her on his blog and on goodreads at a later date. (Interesting how goodreads always pops up during shitstorms.) I don’t know who this young woman is, but if anyone does know, I’d be interested in learning a little more about her background in publishing. Just curious.
It all started while Howey was standing in line with a group of people from Canada, listening to this aggressive young woman talk about how she was going to get one of these people from Canada an agent and help him/her with his/her writing career. That alone sounds suspicious to me. Again, who is this young woman? How is she going to do this? When Howey politely interjected, the young woman allegedly became belligerent and started to bash self-publishing without even knowing about Howey’s success in self-publishing. She actually asked him what awards he’d won. From what I gather, Howey remained calm and polite during this confrontation with the aggressive young woman and he did not respond to her attacks. But don’t quote me on that: getting *objective* information these days isn’t easy.
What happened after that is where it gets interesting. Again, from what I can gather, Howey didn’t actually do anything or say anything offensive to this pushy young woman that day. He went about his business and then wrote about this incident later. He talked about what he wanted to say to her as if daydreaming aloud, and what he imagined doing…in a blog post, after the fact. Not what he actually did do. And because he wrote about what he thought about doing on his blog and on goodreads, the Interwebs went berserk.
Interestingly enough, Howey received no attention for this for almost a week or more, and then someone saw it, and it has since erupted into what some are calling an Epic Rant about “vast and deep offensiveness.”
Get my smelling salts.
You can read more here, where they’ve reposted Howey’s original post that he’s since deleted. How they get to do that without his permission I’m not certain, but they did it anyway and I’m really not sure how those things work.
Romance author Courtney Milan made this statement in the article two which I’ve linked, and that’s exactly how I would have handled a situation like that, too. I’ve always believed that words have power, and a writer more than anyone should understand the magnitude of that power and never, ever, abuse it. It’s why I refuse to embrace the word “queer,” and find it just as insulting as the word “bitch” used toward women. You can quote me on that one!
“‘Crazy bitch who needs to be slapped’ are words that carry very different connotations than ‘rude, ignorant person who is wrong,’” noted romance author Courtney Milan.
Maybe I shouldn’t admit this aloud (and I don’t support what Howey did). But I also have hundreds of unpublished blog posts for a reason. I’ve been insulted, attacked, and denigrated many times, and I often write blog posts/rants for my own personal therapeutic reasons (Dear Abbey once said it was okay to do this with letters). After I write them, and I calm down a little, I realize that these are posts I wrote off the top of my head, during a bad mood, and they are not things I would normally write when I’m in a normal frame of mind. As I said, I don’t like words like “bitch” and “queer,” and I do think they are offensive. However, we all make mistakes and Howey has issued an apology here.
I apologized for the post and decided to leave it up. I didn’t want to run or hide from the mistake I made. Then I called my wife, who is currently on the other side of the globe from me, had a good cry, and listened to her advice.
I also strongly believe in forgiveness. It’s right up there with gratitude. And to ignore High Howey’s sincere apology would not make me a better person. One of the things I like most about our culture is that it is built around this type of forgiveness.