rants

Self-pubbed Star Hugh Howey’s Epic Rant

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.

What Do You Love or Hate About Publishers?

I’d like this post to be an open thread, where anonymous comments are more than welcome…they are encouraged. In fact, please think twice about leaving your identity this time.

It’s going to be something I’ll leave up for a long time, and I’m not going to comment at all on the thread. Let me repeat: I am going to remain objective…on the outside looking in. This isn’t about me, it’s about what readers and authors think.

What I’d like to see are comments about all publishers in general, large or small; digital first or “traditional.” What you love about them. What bothers you about them. I’d like to know what you think of them…or if you even bother to notice who is publishing a book or an author. You can rant. You can praise. It’s an open comment thread for all.

Please do not use this thread to trash other authors or any specific books. Please do not trash editors or literary agents or book reviewers either. That’s not what it’s about and I will not publish any comments that are abusive toward authors or specific books, or that single any one person out.

This is strictly about publishers and how readers/authors feel about them.

Authors Keeping the Blogs Real…And Those Nasty Said Bookisms Again…

Here’s a slight rant tonight. I’ve been good lately, only posting about things I’m interested in. But I couldn’t let this one go, so indulge me. It’s my own private kind of therapy, and no one gets insulted.

One of my main goals with this blog is to keep it real, which is also why it’s often boring. And, sometimes why there’s mispelled word or two (I type too fast). But at least, I hope, readers know I’m not talking out of my asterisk. I’m posting what I think are valid posts about writing, life, and the lgbt community.

And sometimes I come across a blog post written my another author and I’m willing to bet the blog post is absolute fiction. Only the author tries to pull it off as being real. And, the only reason I’m guessing this particular post is fiction is because I’ve quietly caught this author in other lies in the past. Therefore, even if this blog post happens to be real, it gets cancelled out because I’ve read other posts by this same author and I know for a fact they weren’t real.

There are authors out there who are so desperate to get attention and to get people to read their books they will do anything. They will create fake facebook posts and fictional blog posts. Thankfully, there are only a few. Most of the authors I know agree with me and they keep it real, too. Some keep it so painfully real we know too much about them. But, frankly, I’d rather have it that way than to be insulted with a phony blog post by a desperate author who is faking it all the way.

But the one thing that bothers me most about the kind of author who will write a phony blog post is they always seem so transparent when it comes to the craft of writing fiction. I saw this in the blog post I’m talking about above. There are telltale signs another author can spot immediately. One of which is using said bookisms and bad adverbs with regard to dialogue. I’ve written about said bookisms before. But here’s a good example below:

said bookism… “Where are you going?” Joe barked hurriedly.

good dialogue tag… “Where are you going?” Joe asked. He spoke fast, with a hint of panic.

I’m not saying there isn’t a time or place to use said bookisms or adverbs. (And I’m not even going to get into how the awkward word “hurriedly” crawls under my skin and tortures me.) Sometimes, within the right context, they work well. But when you read a section of dialogue and all the dialogue tags are laced with said bookisms and bad adverbs, nine times out of ten the author is a fake. And so are the author’s blog posts.