Equal Time for the other side

I really thought this was funny.
True of course, but also funny.
Neither of us is going to win Miss Congeniality but that's ok with me cause Miss Congeniality never wins the paegent either.


Ellen said...

I thought this line was hilarious:

"Movie company contracts are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pages long to make sure there is no chance that a mere book writer should have ANY rights left about anything."

Ski said...

Dear Miss Snark,
This post and the last one, (Gawkers...) are exactly the reason I don't go to any other places on the net that address publishing/agenting/books/words that are on fire etc. These posts are proof that it's easy to be a snob, and it's difficult to be tough, witty, honest, encouraging, and critical all at the same time. The truth is - that's what separates this place from those places.

I'm not trying to get on your good side, cuz I have nothing to gain. But the way I see it, both these posters are Miss Snark wanna be's. The trouble is that they don't have what it takes. However, what they do is add fuel to the fire that agents hate authors and authors hate agents. Any of us un-published hopefuls could turn these diatribes around and say similar things about looney agents, but what's the point. So there are idiots out there, well... there are idiots everywhere. What makes anyone think publishing/writing should be any different? Just like we un-published hopefuls, those snippy agents should just get over these...people, whoever they are and get on with the business of making money by selling/writing good books. Firing warning shots into a crowd is not the way to stop bank robbers that are escaping in a helicopter. Demeaning hopeful writers is too easy a game. You don't succumb to that, and that's why I love you da best.

With Warmest Regards,

ello said...

THat was so funny that I am absolutely going to run out and buy a copy of her book! Anyone who nearly makes me wet my pants laughing deserves a royalty for their book from me.

Anonymous said...

So much anger...

Anonymous said...

Anon (who said "so much anger")...you haven't seen some of the emails I've received from readers. They make me want to tear my hair out. Everything from demands that I give them personal advice to fix their stupid mistakes they've made, to lectures on why my book sucked (usually with no indicators that they actually READ the book in question)(and get over it, I don't like a lot of books I read either, but I don't email the author to bitch at them--you buy a book, you take a chance), to email from people begging me to read their unpubbed 500 page manuscript and critique it IN-DEPTH because they know I can help them get published.

Now, I get a lot of NICE email too--and some critical letters that are still polite and well-thought out--and those I am most happy to answer. But after a few hundred needy, misspelled, whiny letters, you get a little jaded. (To be fair, I get far more nice letters than I get the irritating ones, but they sure can ruin your hour--or in one case where I actually got a hate letter--your day).

Danielle said...

I'm going to buy her book too. When I'm thru bring broke next payday.

blaironaleash said...

'Ski said... '

wha'? Wha' did I miss? She's not an agent. And she didn't say anything nasty about agents?

Ok-aaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Hard of thinking. Al-riiiiiiiight. Drunk. Friday night and I'm somewhat inebriated. Shoot me. No, don't shoot me, I'm too drunk to feel it and will come after you with alcoholic vigour.

Personally I like blogs other than that of the Snarky one. Maybe I'm just a BIG WHORE.

Big shout goin' out for the ole Fugazi Forum and Barbara Sher.

Shouga Tea said...

I'm psyched you linked to that. My childhood hero...BofH, to whom I am gartering up my guts to write a letter, after all these years....
Well, I think she's funny.
Ello: I might suggest The Blue Sword, for the most irreverent fun. But Beauty is my favorite.

ObiDonWan said...

"I feel her pain"

NitWitness said...

I love agents....lightly toasted, please, and served with a small side salad.....

Anonymous said...

Wow. I don't think I've ever seen such a huge gulf between someone's website personality and the personality that comes through in their fiction. It leaves me with a bitter taste, and makes me wonder if the emotions and insights I got out of those books were just a sham.

I think there's a fine line between snarky professionalism and just plain bitterness. I agree that all of the things she complained about may be legitimate problems for a famous writer, but the professional way to handle them, in my opinion, is um...not like this.

Like ski says, there's a difference somehow between your snarkiness and something like this. You don't hold back with the clue gun, but at the same time, I feel like you're still on Our Side, ultimately. Supportive of the industry, from your fellow agents all the way to those most needy of the clue gun. That's professional. All in good fun. Not anger.

whitemouse said...

She's hilarious! And completely right on every count.

But she does tend to illustrate why the Gawker post had this line:

(W)ith a few glowing exceptions, authors are the craziest, meanest, strangest, cluelessest people you've ever met.

Rachel Ann Dryden said...

I LOVE Robin McKinley, and have chuckled over that list for a long time now.

The thing is, she's a self-admitted curmudgeon and introvert. I think she's a hoot. And I don't think she was even being mean. She was spraying her own clue gun around, true, but it's information that is helpful and useful.

I recommend her books to anyone. They've remained my favorites over a lifetime, and my tastes have changed in many ways over the years, so that says a lot. I particularly recommend Deerskin and Sunshine--both darker, more mature books written clearly for adults.

I.J.Parker said...

Well, yes, we do get angry. However, I have yet to refuse to answer fan mail. I don't care if it's misspelled, or if they didn't get my name right, or my gender, or details in the book. They wouldn't write if they hadn't liked the book, and that is enough for me.
True, I prefer to do this via e-mail, but I also answer hard copy in hard copy -- even if I have to go to the post office because the writer lives in Canada or some other foreign country.

mkcbunny said...

#8 was priceless. 50% for the idea. "Writing is the easy part."

katiesandwich said...

One of my friends (yes, I have some!) recommended this author to me... now I'm going to recommend this article to her.

I know fans can be weird, and I don't think she's evil for saying so, but... Oh, to even HAVE fan mail to get angry about! Sigh.

Stacy said...

See what happened here? writers think this is funny - but it gives me flashbacks, bad, bad flashbacks to the author who refused to get email or the internet and refused to have even his errors corrected. Mommy.

Elektra said...

So if you're a success it's okay to be rude to your fans?

Word veri: yorba. I don't know why, but it makes me want ice cream.

Anonymous said...

quick question:

you often mention your apathy for sci-fi/fantasy, yet a lot of your links seems to come from that domain (i.e. this one, the turkey city lexicon, writers beware, etc).

are you just posting referrals or is that a lightsaber in your pocket?

your friendly neighborhood bloglurker

ps. ski, wtf? who's worse, the grouch or the grouch who judges her?

Dave Kuzminski said...

When I get letters from fans who feel the book should have been different, I agree with them and suggest they rewrite it, send it to me for my byline, and I'll run it past my publisher.

So far, no takers. I just don't know why, though. ;)

Ryan Field said...

Her advice on back up and opening attachments is priceless. Don't send them uless requested and don't open them unless they've been requested. And don't listen to any idiot who questions the rule.

desert snarkling said...

They wouldn't write if they hadn't liked the book, and that is enough for me.

Actually, they might.

Especially if they're students with an assignment (who maybe haven't even read your book).

Or autograph collectors who found your name on a list somewhere (and maybe aren't even sure who you are).

ello said...

Interesting responses... I didn't take her post as rude or mean etc. It was meant to be humorous and to take it any other way is ... humorous. Lighten up Francis! If you guys can't see the humor in things, life is always going to disappoint.

Thanks for the recommendations for the books, I will definitely check her out. I like cranky curmudgeonly people.

Anonymous said...

Not funny. This woman sounds like an arrogant, angry witch. If I had any of her books I'd toss 'em and now if I see one of her books, I'll pass, thanks.

A Robin McKinley Fan said...

I don't think I've read any book more often over the course of my life than McKinley's "The Blue Sword." I read it first as a preteen and still reread it maybe once every one or two years. Leaving aside the issue of her website, I highly recommend her books to anyone, especially the above-mentioned and its prequel, "Hero and the Crown," along with "Deerskin," "Beauty," and "Sunshine" (the most recent and perhaps darkest of her works to date).

Anonymous said...

Gotta tell you - my first reaction was: she's absolutely correct in every thing she said. My second reaction? What an idiot she is for putting it in print.

We're all annoyed from time to time. We ARE human. What I really think is priceless is when a reader writes me and tells me that she loved all my books - that she got at the used book store. Sigh. I don't get royalties on used book store sales. BUT, maybe one day, she'll buy a new book.

Bottom line, she's still my customer, so I shut up, grin, and bear it. Oh, and I thank her prettily.

'Nise said...

See I don't see Robin as being mean per say... just frustrated. I can see if it was the first time answering a dumb question, but the 7,469th time? I think even Mother Theresa's press team would be losing their zen.
Personally I love #8. That one seems to be a common comment for authors, because yanno the writing is the easy part.

blaironaleash said...

Well, I've never read her stuff but this post wouldn't stop me, and I can't see why it would stop anyone else. Is it just me, or am I the only one whose reaction is, 'Yeah, readers, such idiots! THOSE readers! The ones over there. Not me, obviously!'

Unless there are any self-elected reader-idiots lurking around?

Tattieheid said...

I loved her post and think I would probably like her books also.

If those who are giving her some stick in the comments here bothered to read her FAQ's page they would find she is actually helpful, intelligent and very sensible. In those pages she takes the time to explain at length what her writing is about and why there are limits to what she can do for others.

I read them, I found them helpful and interesting.

Anonymous said...

Blimey, there's some aggressive types out there in internetland, aren't there? Maybe if she just chucked her unwanted mail in the bin rather than ranting about it then it wouldn't take up so much of her time and energy.

But Ski's right - posts like this do make you appreciate Miss Snark harsh-yet-fair approach more than ever.

word verification: jfuqt
(the exclamation made by an author with anger issues on receiving a fan letter without an ssae)

wonderer said...

Her gripes sound pretty legitimate to me. I also spent some (too much!) time browsing her FAQs, which are both funny and insightful, albeit quite a different tone than her novels.

Anonymous said...

you haven't seen some of the emails I've received from readers. They make me want to tear my hair out.

I would answer them the same way I answer people who call me up out of the blue and want me to answer polls, i.e., give them my time and advice for their advantage.

I say, pleasantly and with no sarcasm, "Sure, I'd be happy to help. My rate is $150 per hour, and the minimum time I charge for is half an hour. How would you like to pay?"

My time and expertise are worth money. I don't help people with editing or writing or homework assignments for free unless they're friends of mine or friends of friends.

RedMolly said...

Rock on, Robin... I can only imagine the incessant stream of petty irritations that led to that post. It must be like living with a seven-year-old and a five-year-old. One dopey question ("How come we never go to Dairy Queen when it's raining?") is one thing. Five dopey questions is another. Three thousand dopey questions in a 72-hour span is enough to drive even the sweetest and most tolerant person into a shrieking rage. No wonder she's (rather amusingly) cheesed.

(And "Deerskin" is one of my favoritest books Ev.Ar.)

Pixie said...

I've sworn off commenting on this blog, so this isn't a comment.

Humor doesn't disguise rudeness, but the truths in this and in the last post are worth noting.

Editors, agents and published authors seem to forget that their buisness depends on new - and inexperienced - writers joining the field. So we do stupid things. ... but without us you'll starve.

We are the basis for your income. We buy your books. We furnish your product.We are the reason you exist. We are both your author base and your reading public.

You note our stupidity? Fine. We see yours. We read your blog and your articles. You make your feelings very public. We notice.

We're a bit like Santa. We know the naughty and the nice.

Southern Writer said...

I loved Word screaming in paranoid horror and falling over. Ha!

I have nothing but sympathy for the author. Obviously, I am No One. I've had a few things published, none of which count for squat in the real world of literature, and even I get mail asking me to read and critique other people's work. From people I don't know and have never heard of. Even from writers I know only casually from a few e-mails or forum exchanges, with whom I've agreed, "let's not do that to each other." So much of it, that I created a small business. If someone is willing to pay me for the time taken away from my own writing to work on theirs, great. I can use the money.
So it's easy for me to imagine the sheer volume of mail received by this author. I've wanted to write a similar post many, many times, but alas, have not. It does tend to alienate people. In spite of better judgment, I find that I still want to be liked.

Really, the channel these days, I think, is to post some of your writing to your blog. If you want others to read it, participate in their blog. Out of sheer curiosity, and with time allowing, they'll get back to you. Think about it ... do you see Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, or Anne Tyler blogging? Hell no. Because they're busy writing their next book. We need to learn to be respectful of other each other's time.

spy scribbler said...

Huh. I guess I just don't get the humor. While it makes sense that one should address an agent properly, I don't give a flying leap if my readers get every letter in my name wrong (let alone do the research to discover my married name; are you kidding me???), if they get the name of every character wrong, and if they even get the title wrong.

I grew up when the "customer was always right." I'm not old, but our community must be behind the times.

Sorry, but I'm grateful that a reader buys my stories. And when she/he takes time out of their day to write to me, that earns more of my appreciation and definitely my gratitude. I don't care what they say, no matter how inappropriate. I'm going to smile and say thank you. If I have to say 'I'm sorry, I can't do that,' then fine. I will follow it by a thank you.

IMO, an author isn't doing a reader a favor by responding; the reader is doing the author a favor by writing. Geeze, the reader is doing the author a favor by keeping the writer in business!

Anonymous said...

"Gotta tell you - my first reaction was: she's absolutely correct in every thing she said. My second reaction? What an idiot she is for putting it in print."


As someone else mentioned, be grateful you have fans to complain about, and keep it to yourself!

Anonymous said...

Kinda reminds me of the movie stars, etc., who complain about having their privacy invaded.

Uh, that's kinda the tradeoff.

The price you pay is putting up with all those pesky fans. Or you can be a jerk, and they will all go away. Then what do you complain about? Lack of sales?

Anonymous said...

I don't get all the self-righteous 'so much anger' posts implying that there must be something wrong with this woman.

People get angry. That's not always a sign of some deep-seated character flaw. Sometimes it's a sign that something happened that justifies anger.

This woman appears to have received some letters that were incredibly fucking annoying. The fact that she was annoyed by them doesn't mean that there's something wrong with her. And the fact that she put that annoyance into words doesn't mean that she's somehow 'hanging on to bitterness'. It means that she's a writer, and for her the natural response to a problem is to deal with it through carefully crafted words. That's how she gets things out of her system.

Whether it was a good idea for her to then post those words on her website is a whole other question.

When I was much younger, a guy in my class went into this long booooooooring rant to all of us about how 'If you have a problem with someone, the problem is in YOU... If you are hurt by someone, then the problem is in YOU... If you are angry with someone, then the problem is in YOU...' So I finally kicked him in the shin and asked him if it was HIS fault that that hurt.

My point was that negative emotions are not always a sign of some character flaw. I'm not sure he got it, but DAMN did it ever make the rest of us feel better.

Meg said...

If people don't want to read something like that, the title was a dead giveaway as to the tone. I thought it was funny! Everyone has bad days and published writers aren't immune to that.

Leigh Roche said...

I think if I had just gotten a book she'd written and then read this, I'd give the book away without reading it. Yes, fans can be annoying and do dumb things, but her response suggests she has an attitude problem and hates her fans. She reminds me of pampered actors--the ones who expect people to buy tickets to their movies in droves and then rant and rave because people recognize them and ask for an autograph.

And I'm surprised no one else commented on it, but the multiple animated graphics were extremely annoying. They gave me a headache just from looking at the page.

I'm putting her on my list of authors NOT to read.

Anonymous said...

spy scribbler, how do you figure the people McKinley is ranting about are doing her a favor? Many of them write wanting her to take her time to help them. What's the favor to McKinley in "please read my manuscript" or "tell me how to get published"?

And how could it not be a favor if McKinley actually agreed to read some total stranger's 500-page manuscript or write back to a kid who's only writing because it was a homework assignment?

No wonder McKinley's been reduced to a ranting maniac - she's constantly getting letters from people like you who think that she should be grateful for being treated like a commodity.

Anonymous said...

I think it's interesting that the people who seem to find her rant funny and who want to now go out and read her books are in general, people who have never read her before. If I read this without having read her stuff, I'd probably expect her novels to be of a similar vein, and maybe I'd find it funny, too.

Thing is, the two "writing samples" per se are pretty different. I wonder how many people who liked her snarky side will be disappointed with the tone of her novels. (Okay, so the tone of Sunshine matches her rant a bit, but the others sure don't.)

Anonymous said...

OK - so let me see if I've got this right...

writers are not human beings, they do not have feelings, they do not get irritated, they do not have bad days. They are no longer people, but belong solely to those who read their works. Therefor, they must always be willing to dole out advice (for free), be willing to read other people's works (for free), and never be anything but little rays of sunshine?

Are you kidding me?

Think about what you do for a living. Now, imagine if you were supposed to help out every tom, dick, and harry who asked - no matter how unqualified or totally stupid they are.

Imagine you always have to be 'on'.

Always be (gasp) friendly and warm and fuzzy.

Smile when listening to someone rant to you how you are lousy at what you do and how they can do it better.

I'm sorry, but no author belongs to any one of his or her readers. They are not cyborgs, nor are they perfect. Guess what - they are people too! And if Robin wants to rant about how she doesn't want to be treated like free labor, let her. How does her rant change whether or not you MIGHT enjoy her writing. I could care less if John Grisham is the grouchiest, rudest, meanest guy in the world. I still like his books and I'd still read them.

spy scribbler said...

anonymous that asked spyscribbler:

I'm not saying that people who ask her to read her manuscripts are doing her a favor, but that they are complimenting her. Anyway, she doesn't just address those people in this rant: she addresses ANYONE who emails and doesn't research her married name, whether she's Mrs. or a Ms. or Miss or whatever, and a ton of other stupid little details.

So yes, fans who write are doing a favor to the author. Just like when you leave a tip to the person you buy coffee from; you don't have to, but it's a nice bonus. Telling an author "thank you for writing this book" is doing that author a favor--giving the author an extra bonus. The reader could just pay for the book. If a readers goes an extra mile to write an author, that's like an extra tip. And I can guarantee that if a reader is motivated enough to write an author, then he/she is motivated enough to tell a friend about that author.

I love snarky humor. I'm here at the Miss Snark's blog, aren't I? I'm just not finding this funny. I'm sorry.

As the expression goes, "don't bite the hand that feeds you."

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

writers are not human beings, they do not have feelings, they do not get irritated, they do not have bad days. They are no longer people, but belong solely to those who read their works. Therefor, they must always be willing to dole out advice (for free), be willing to read other people's works (for free), and never be anything but little rays of sunshine?

Are you kidding me?

Are you a politician? This is a politicians trick of misstating the argument to make it seem extreme.

None of this summary represents what most of us have said. Civility does not extinguish human feeling. It expresses the feelings in a clear but polite way.

I know politeness went out of fashion in your grandparent's day, but it's time to bring it back.

Being rude is a national past-time. But it does have effects. You're rude to me and expect me to read your books? On what basis?

Anonymous said...

You want to read some sad mail to an author, check out the postings on Lois Duncan's Who Killed My Daughter? website.

Many misspell her name. Many use toe-curling grammar and spelling. One or two accuse her of killing her daughter herself.

She ignores the evil ones. She responds graciously and patiently to the rest. Surely she has more reason to complain than this author....but she carries herself as a professional.

For my "day" job, I interact with the public in many ways. I could rant and complain and tell stories...but I am supposed to be warm and fuzzy and, as annoyed as I get sometimes, I would not want to hurt the feelings of the people who count on me to take care of them. The people who pay me a lot of money...my job is mostly fun. Sucks sometimes. But I pinch myself that I actually get paid for what I do.

And I protect the feelings of those who pay my bills.

Anonymous said...

I have actually met Robin McKinley, at a convention. She is funny and warm, and was very pleasant with everyone, including people asking stupid, stupid questions in confrontational and insulting ways. I agree with those who said that reading her FAQ showed how warm and helpful she is.

As I was reading, I could hear her voice, and it was very funny. She is not an arrogant bitter person, but rather a witty, sharp person. She is somewhat like Miss Snark in not being overly fond of fools, and is very direct and forthright. On top of that, she's a wonderful writer.

Jane said...

Robin (who is a friend of mine) has always been prickly and snarky. She's a bit reclusive and is an astonishing writer. She owes her time and energy to her work, not her fans.

However, though I tend to be Ms. Nice most of the time with my fans, I have also been known to rave. When a kid IMs me for homework help and I send him to my website instead of answering the teacher's questions, and he ends, "Be like that, you farted up old lady." When someone hands me a mss. to read AT MY HUSBAND'S FUNERAL. When I dare to criticise Harry Potter, and get a waterfall of hideous mail and email calling me "an envious old fart."

So cut writers some slack here, folks.

Jane Yolen

jude calvert-toulmin said...

In reply to anonymous: (an appeal to all anonymouses - if you've chosen, for whatever reason, not to post under your real name, then at least use a unique alias, it makes the thread easier to follow for everyone else)

> OK - so let me see if I've got this right...

> writers are not human beings, they do not have feelings, they do not get irritated, they do not have bad days. They are no longer people, but belong solely to those who read their works. Therefor, they must always be willing to dole out advice (for free), be willing to read other people's works (for free), and never be anything but little rays of sunshine?

> Are you kidding me?

Writers are first and foremost, AT THE OFFICE. It's a business. You don't go into the office and start kicking chairs around and ranting and raving and expect to get away with it unless you are a)indulged by your underlings through their own fear of you to the point where they secretly probably wouldn't care whether you dropped dead tomorrow or b)....there isn't a b). Or a c) or a d).

> Imagine you always have to be 'on'.

> Always be (gasp) friendly and warm and fuzzy.

> Smile when listening to someone rant to you how you are lousy at what you do and how they can do it better.

...Now, anonymous, imagine being a professional. It involves all of the above when dealing with customers. With the added skill of turning the whole thing around so that the unsatisfied customer ends up leaving with a smile.

It's not just about the writing.

It's about the business too.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not a politician, but I'm not one of those people who believe that authors, actors, movie stars, etc. somehow belong to me simply because they might be in the public eye. How arrogant is that? I don't give a damn what their personality is like - I read a book because I'm interested in the story. Isn't that kind of the whole point?

Answer the same question (whose answer can be found with the tiniest modicum of research) a zillion times and tell me if you can do it that zillionth time with a smile.

Have someone go on a diatribe about how awful your last book was and how they could write it so much better (they, who have no experience or have written nothing more scintillating than a grocery list.)

At your next party, corner a doctor or a lawyer and try to get every last little medical/legal problem solved - see how quick that lawyer or doctor dives behind the bushes to avoid you.

Anonymous said...

"Think about what you do for a living. Now, imagine if you were supposed to help out every tom, dick, and harry who asked - no matter how unqualified or totally stupid they are."

No, I don't believe writers must do this. However, I do believe that if a writer INVITES you into his/her world via a website, which is a vehicle for drumming up more sales, said writer is asking for it.

Similar to the comparisons to movie stars, how can you have it both ways? Or you can, but how dare you bitch about it?

I am sure Rowling, Grisham, King, Roberts, etc., have all these demands placed on them as well. They are pros. If you want to play the public relations game with a website, etc.,where you make yourself available to the public in order to sell your books, the expectations are different than if you play it like J.D. Salinger. If you can't handle it, HIRE SOMEONE TO DO SO FOR YOU. Duh.

You are entitled to have a bad day. Just thanks for not sharing.

~Nancy said...

I dunno, I found the rant, or whatever you want to call it, very funny. I didn't read the entire thing only because the yellow background made my eyes tear.

I think people should lighten up. If she wants to go on a tirade, so what? It's her website; shouldn't she be allowed to do whatever the heck she wants? That's my 2 cents.

elecktra - yorba is Zorba the Greek's cousin. ;-)

Elektra said...

"At your next party, corner a doctor or a lawyer and try to get every last little medical/legal problem solved - see how quick that lawyer or doctor dives behind the bushes to avoid you."

Yes, they may dive behind the bushes. They may politely say, "I'm sorry, I make it a policy not to give advice." But if they look me in the eye and say, "WTF you freakin' idiot, how could you ever dare say such a stupid thing to ME?" then chances are I'm not going to be giving their business cards to my friends.

Kate Thornton said...

I enjoyed this website - it was hilarious in that way that things can be funny if they are not happening to you.

For everyone who thinks Robin will or has alienated fans with her list: get a grip. She has a terrific fan base because people enjoy her books.

Robin makes valid points: people make damned nuisances of themselves with rude and obnoxious behavior. That they are "customers" of some sort does nothing to excuse them. The "customer" is always right - except when they are incredible jerks.

Perhaps someone will see Robin's list and think twice about doing something unacceptable.

Oh, and a book and its author are 2 different things. I don't care how rude or annoying an author might be; if I like the writing, I'll buy the book.

Xopher said...

Honestly, it was hilarious. Most of the things she says not to do are damned rude, and people who do them should be ashamed of themselves. The rest are novice mistakes, and she's gentler about those.

On the topic of professionalism, I learned in early adulthood that you never ask a professional to work for free. That's why I ask all my friends except the ones who are editors to beta-read my stories.

I've never written a fan letter to an author, though I've been tempted. My reason? I'd never expect an answer. I assume they're busy. Also that they get fan letters by the hundredweight and probably don't have time to read them all, much less answer. In addition, I want them writing more books, not answering my pathetic, fawning letter!

The fact that she reads it all, and answers even the portion that aren't rude, boring, or stupid, is gravy. Fans are not entitled to answers to their letters. They're entitled to reasonably honest storytelling in the books the author chooses to write (or that choose her to write them, as this author puts it). THAT'S ALL. If you think otherwise, I can only advise you to get over yourself.

As for the people who've said "Well, I'm never going to buy books by THAT author, if she has such a 'tude"—I have a little more to say to you: I have known people in my life whose definition of a friend was "someone who agrees with me about everything and will do whatever I want them to." By that definition, I am no one's friend, yet I'm a good friend to people who are willing to hear "you're wrong" and "no" a lot.

The people I've known with that attitude miss out on a good friend in me. People who expect their authors to answer stupid, boring, rude letters, and who refuse to read an author who won't, miss out on a lot of good writing. And deserve to.

Kim said...

Think about this, though

If you corner that doctor or lawyer - he probably won't say anything to your face. But I wouldn't be surprised if he bitches about you to someone else.

Pretty much the same thing, isn't it?

Personally, I didn't think the post was all that rude. The graphics kind of bugged me a little, but so be it. I've also never read anything by Robin McKinley. I probably won't, either, but that has nothing to do with her rants.

I'm with Kate - I don't give a fig about how annoying an author is. If I like the story (or think I might)I'll buy the book.


Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Anon. the Non-Politician,

That's nonsense. One can refuse politely.

I am often asked to evaluate a "rare" book without being able to see it. "I have this old book. Is it worth anything?"

I refer them to a web site that's likely to answer their question. And I say, "I'd have to see it first, but most old books really aren't rare. They're just old."

Yes, it gets "old" to be asked the same questions over and over. But aren't we marketing our books and ourselves? If we just market our books and not ourselves, we will alienate readers.

Being polite is free. Being rude costs you.

Not everyone will like what we write. Some will hate it. So? Let them write their own book. But why rant about their rudeness? If you manage in an all inclusive rant to estrange clueless but faithful fans, what have you done? Certainly nothing positive for your bottom line, or for your reputation.

But, some people enjoy being rude, no matter what the cost.

Anonymous said...

Being an artist of any kind - writer, actor, anything - has very specific problems when it comes to dealing with your 'customers'.

Most people, especially people who have absolutely no inside knowledge of your job, assume that they know exactly what's involved in doing it.

Most people, especially people who have absolutely no inside knowledge of your job, assume that no particular talent or work is involved.

Most people, especially people who have absolutely no inside knowledge of your job, assume that they could do it better.

Most people, especially people who have absolutely no inside knowledge of your job, assume that they have the absolute right to tell you in detail what you did wrong and how you should have done it differently.

Imagine people making these same assumptions about a surgeon, or a tax accountant, or an engineer, or a biologist. It is not one iota less idiotic to make these assumptions about a writer or an actor. And yet people do it all the time.

Yes, I personally think it's a much better idea to grit your teeth and smile sweetly while you're in business mode, then go home and throw crockery at the wall in private. But that doesn't eliminate the fact that there are idiots out there, that the idiots somehow become ten times more idiotic when dealing with anyone who works in the arts, and that if you get enough idiots, sooner or later they are going to get right up your nose.

Anonymous said...

Imagine if those people who asked about rare books criticized, offered suggestions on how you could do your job better, (or worse, how THEY could do it better) and in general decide that THEY know much, much more than you, even though their only contact with anything rare is in the form of a steak order.

If you can keep smiling, good for you.

Some people can't. It's not that they're trying to be rude, but not everyone has the ability to simply smile and whistle when they'd really like to choke the daylights out of said person. It's just not in their makeup.

However, I think you'd be lying through your teeth if you never, ever vented to anyone about it and basically, that's what Miss McKinley was doing. In her blog. Which is hers. I don't think she should have to check with anyone else to make sure she's not offending them with what she puts in her blog.

Peope need to stop being so politically correct and so easily offended. If that's impossible, just don't don't read her blog.


Anon the Non

Anonymous said...

So much anger Anon replies to Anon Non....

uh, what's her Blog doing on my Internet?

On the Internet is 'on'.

Get a moleskine for the venting.

Anonymous said...

no anger, just weary of the PC police who feel they need to patrol even cyberspace to make certain no delicate sensibilities are offended. Where would we be without them to point other peoples' rudeness?