11.11.2006

Nitwittery Follow up

I've been biting Anne Stuart's heinie this week for dissing her publisher.

Some folks on other blogs (and here too-)and in the comments section of my posts have taken me to task for that saying things along the lines of "it's all true" "authors are treated like dirt; she's brave to point that out" and "she sells enough that it won't matter".

Two of three are correct.

First, let's all remember there is a difference between being Erin Brokovich and being a whiny assed complainer. Pointing out the deficiencies of a publisher is not revealing some sort of skullduggery, cover up or plot to take over the world one print run at a time.

Clue 1: this is business as usual and everyone who works in the industry knows it. If you don't know it, and you're surprised, you ARE new or a nitwit. Talking in public about "what's wrong with publishing" in general is a whole lot different than "Mira fucked me".

Second, there is no such thing as "a publisher" when we're talking about a reaction to what you post on a blog or say in an interview. There are only people who work for that publishing company and if you think for one minute that people don't get pissed off when they get dissed, well, I'll let you read some of MY mail.

No one at Mira woke up on Monday morning and cackled with delight that one of their authors had bravely revealed all; that now the truth could be told; and, right would be restored to the universe. Nope, the people who handle the orders, talk to the bookstores, file the paperwork and answer the phones thought something akin to "this would be a nice job if we could get rid of the authors". And if you think I'm kidding, I'm not. I've said that myself some days.

And yes, we all understand that authors are the driving force in publishing. We just sometimes wish they understood that you don't move the train with steam alone; you need pistons, wheels, and a guy shoveling coal into the firebox.

Anne Stuart did this far enough along in her career that it probably won't matter too much. She's got the safety net of some pretty decent sales figures. A writer at the start of his/her career who did this? Click here.

47 comments:

Senile in St. Louis said...

Point taken. If Ms. Stuart was in the corporate world she would have been fired by now, regardless of her position or years of service. Then again, I have to admit I'm a bit jealous, certainly not of her tacky and selfish attitude, but rather of the independence she must have to be able to get away with sniping at people like that.

As a wise man once said, I've been rich and I've been poor, and rich is better.

Linda said...

It may be worth pointing out that in the corporate world, if you diss your employer in your blog--rightly or wrongly--your employer can fire you.

BuffySquirrel said...

*laffs at the link*

Style, Snarky, style...

Marcom said...

I must be a nitwit... I'm trying to make the connection between Miss Snark's link and her words... but all I got was toast-royale, or whatever they call that stuff in France. French Toast? Whatever... It's way over my head...

JPD

Anonymous said...

You know, this is the kind of stuff that writers talk about among themselves all the time. Their publisher didn't send books in time for a book signing. They didn't get as big an advances as some other stupid book. They didn't get a publicist, there was no push behind their book, they were out of bookstores in less than two months, and on and on and on.

We're usually very careful where and to whom we say it. We swear others to secrecy. We hope they don't betray us.

On the other hand, I assume that editors and agents talk about authors in much the same terms. Some are idiots. Some write like crap. Some are whiny bitches. And on and on.

I know it's business, but both sides are guilty. But the one who speaks about it in public first is the one who takes the heat.

Perhaps we need a a Roller Dome so the sides can duke it out?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Yes, we're a bunch of gossips. We talk about the growth on your nose, your choice of deoderant, your mismatched socks, and how idiotic you look with a plaid coat and snakeskin boots.

Say, this is Anna's blog isn't it? And we are talking about cowboys, aren't we?

Oh, my mistake!

All social organizations gossip. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's hurtful. Sometimes it's stupid.

The best way to resolve a difference with a corporation is by approaching it directly, not by complaining in a blog. Usually ... I mean AOL was smacked pretty hard by a recording found on a blog. ...

Say ... whom can I call and record? Snarkie, do I still have your secret phone number? You know the one? It rings in the secret passage at the Flatiron Building??? I'm going to call! Ignore that whirring sound. Honest, it's not a recorder. It's just Bill E. snoring off there in the distance. ....

Ring, Ring, Ring

S: Secret Direct Line to ***** Agency. This is [Name withheld for purposes of later blackmail.]

Me: Snarkie! It's me, you long lost [insert disreputable family relationship here].

S: I thought you were lost at sea! At least I did my best ... I mean, we looked everywhere for you. All we found was medical waste.

Me: Medical waste? Oh dear. You did search a Pacific Coast beach, right?

S: No, New Jersey.

Me: Well, that explains that ... Now, about Mr. E. E., does George know? And is that thing about the three of you true at all? Are there photos? Can I make them on photoshop?

S: Say, how did you get this number anyway??

Me: [Sounds of struggle} Back! Back, I tell you. Don't make me use this? There is no defence against an enchanted spatula!

S: You okay?

Me: Sure. It's just those guys who hang around E.E.'s place. ... Now, tell me more about you and George and E.E. ...

S: What's to tell. He made the whole thing up, or almost the whole thing. There was that night in Paris. We'll always have Paris ....

PicAxe said...

You're right, Miss Snark, those editors and publishers do wish they didn't have to deal with authors--on many a gray and angsty day. Someday, if editors, agents, and publishers are lucky, they'll just have to put a ticket in a machine to call up next month's blockbuster. Won't that be fun?

And, really, did Anne Stuart actually say Mira "fucked me" as your use of quotes suggested? I didn't read that--anywhere.

But, hey, I'm agreeing with you again about what editors and publishers want, because I actually overheard an editor say--and I quote, "God, I hate authors."

Not something a writer soon forgets.

Beth said...

jpd,

If a new writer acted like Anne Stuart, his/her career would be toast.

Marcom said...

Thanks Beth... I was overthinking again... trying to understand the relationship between some stupid boy-band-web-site and Miss Snark's original point....

Reality was far less complicated than I first percieved...

Thanks for pulling me out from under the bus... JPD

SAND STORM said...

My friend (whistleblower)wrote a blistering attack on scandals inside the bakery industry. The move backfired and now his career is toast:)

Jane said...

I'll freely cop to my reader bias. It is was interesting gossip and from a reader standpoint, no matter how debilitating, I find it pretty entertaining. I think I also admitted to my Anne Stuart bias.

What I didn't like, and this may stem from an earlier online scene, was the piling on that appeared from commenters in their seeming glee to see a published author get knocked around.

I am just a reader, not an author so my point of view is going to be very different.

Anonymous said...

One thing's for sure: Anne Stuart is most likely rubbing her hands over this whole storm in a teacup. I'd never heard of her before now, but now I certainly have, and what I've learned is that her readers think she's great. I don't read her genre but if I did I'd certainly be out grabbing her books by now.
Who knows, perhaps Miss Snark helped put her on the NYT list! For Ms Stuart, dissing her publisherin public has certainly paid out.

Corn Dog said...

"Dear Author" says "The thing most disturbing to me was the relentless piling on by anonymous and not so anonymous writers and want to be writers as they jostled to be the commenter most supportive of Ms. Snark." Huh? Okay, so you're disturbed. We got that. Perhaps you don't get Miss Snark's blog? Reading is optional. Shoo, shoo go away rather than pick through Miss Snark's comments and then take her commenters into your blog and pick on them. Nasty but an interesting way to increase your site traffic. Nice job on that score. A+ for piling on in your blog.

Anonymous said...

Jane, yes...I sensed a definite feeling of schadenfreude from several of the posters. That nasty old green-eyed monster seemed to rear his ugly head.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark said, "And yes, we all understand that authors are the driving force in publishing."
The problem here has to do with point of view. From the author's point of view, it seems that very few in publishing "understand that authors are the driving force," and so it's satisfying to hear even one established author call a publisher out. It's also nothing close to a surprise to hear that publishers might think that their world would be better without authors. They consistently give the impression that they do indeed think that way, and if they think authors don't notice, they deserve an award for collective nitwittery.

Anonymous said...

" because I actually overheard an editor say--and I quote, "God, I hate authors."

This is not shocking. At some point, salespeople hate customers, coaches hate players (especially if they've coached Terell Owens), teachers get grow weary of kids, doctors get sick of patients. Then a great customer/player/student comes along and all is well again and they love their jobs. In every business, there will be a day you just can't stand the thing you need, the thing you created the business for.

This happens in any business, and it's usually that we hate a certain type of customer, player, student or writer, not all of them. It's the the whiny, complaining, nitwits that make you lump the bad with the good on those days, even when the nitwit is your cash cow.

The Unpretentious Writer said...

This is very true! No matter where you are, you end up hating those that make your job hard. I'm a bookseller and guess what? I hate customers!

(Actual Qeustion!)
C: I need, um, a book about Hamlet.
Me: An analysis, essays about, literary crit?
C(annoyed): No! I need a book about Hamlet, about that guy!
Me: You mean the play, 'Hamlet', by William Shakespeare?
C: Maybe it's just a book by Hamlet, I need it for class tomorrow.
Me: Is it old, like it was written a long time ago?
C: Yeah, I think. Hamlet wrote it, I'm pretty sure. It's very famous, I'm surprised you don't know which one it is.
Me (hands her Folger's 'Hamlet' and Penguin Classics): We have two.
C: This isn't it! This isn't the author.
Me: William Shakespeare wrote 'Hamlet'.
C: If you're going to give me attitute, I'm leaving!

*sigh*

Jim Oglethorpe said...

I'm happy that she is selling books (I'm always happy about this) but I also think it is bad karma to dis her publisher so publicly. Short term satisfaction doesn't neccesarily pay off in the long-term. Sha'el is right: we are all gossips and this is quite delicious!

kathie said...

Oh, to be in the position to talk poorly about my editor...Yikes. That's what your close circle of anonymous friends are for, right?

Tattieheid said...

One of the difficulties with the written word on the Internet is applying a tone of voice to something written by someone you have never met before. Ms Stuart may have been taking a lighter tone than her words imply, but it's not how I read it.

If she had stuck with general comments about Publishers treating books as commodities then I don't think anyone would have been too put out, after all it's true and has been said often enough, nothing new.

She went on to make it personal, that was her mistake.
Her file will now carry an invisible tag that says Paranoid/Unstable. Publishers will take/keep her on for as long as her books sell but at the first signs of slowdown they will probably ditch her.

At the end of the day writing (professionally) is just another business and like all businesses there are unwritten rules that you break at your peril. In the short term this storm in a teacup has probably boosted her sales, in the long term it could well impact unfavourably on future business dealings.

Before anyone jumps up and down - yes I know writing is an art, but so is selling your work and this form of art even has "genre" it's called "The Publishing Business" and you ignore its form and structure at your peril.

As someone who's not in the writing or publishing industry but has experienced the ups and downs of business in general I prefer Miss Snark's viewpoint to those expressed elsewhere. It's good advice.

WitLiz Today said...

"Discretion is the better part of valor." This is a good ole sayin' that Ms Stuart needs to incorporate into her life.

"Loose lips sink ships." Another one she should stick into her hope chest forever if she has one.

Successful Author and successful human being are not synonymous with each other. If you have the emotional maturity level of a toddler, you're going to make life miserable for many people no matter what profession you're in.

Biting the hand that feeds you is a sign of immaturity and ingratitude.

And let's get this straight out of the box right now: an Author does not feed a publisher, nor does he feed the agent or the editor. Without an agent you're broke. Without an editor you're broke, and without a publisher you're more than broke.

Once you publish, you're still broke without any of the above, so get yourself out of the Me Box, and think about the We box.

Team effort? You bet. If one part of the team fails, chances are the road just got tougher for everybody. But instead of pointing fingers, and throwing everybody under the bus, figure out how you as the Author can do your part to help solve the problem.

And one more thing, to the "Dear Author" blog. It's one thing to state an opinion. There's a saying that goes with that, and it goes something like, "everyone has an opinion and we can all be assholes about it."

However, throwing insulting barbs out at the same time just makes you look like a jealous asshole. If you want to retain your credibility stop with the personal insults.

Frankly, without the support she does get, Miss Snark would be hard-pressed to continue this blog as she has often stated to her readers. I think that's called gratitude.

Ms Stuart, sit the hell up and pay attention!

Anonymous said...

Well, it sure seems as if Stuart hit a sore spot here. Keep talking about her, please, you can't buy publiciity like this!

Lisa Hunter said...

And yet...

Somehow she is on the New York Times bestseller list right now, for the first time in her career. Her "loose lips" comments certainly got a lot of buzz in the literary world. I half suspect a viral marketing publicity stunt.

Jana Oliver said...

You bitch to your very close friends and family about your publisher, editor and agent. In public, you are part of the team. That way, you'll have a lot more people willing to help you if need arises. It this approach two-faced? No. Pragmatic? Yes. I doubt the good folks at Mira are going to bust their buns for Ms. Stuart in the future. Industry professionals have very long memories.

Anonymous said...

It is as well to realize early that publishers/editors are not the author's friend unless the author has huge sales. It is also well for a new author not to blame himself if his highly acclaimed first (or second or whatever) novel doesn't sell out. The problem is likely a complete lack of promotional and marketing push from the publisher. Of course, he shouldn't complain publicly about this. But it is as well to let one's agent in on one's sentiments. One's agent is one's friend and will pick the next publisher.

Anonymous said...

Jane: What I didn't like, and this may stem from an earlier online scene, was the piling on that appeared from commenters in their seeming glee to see a published author get knocked around.

What you saw was people glad to see nitwitted behavior called for what it was. Your comment implies we (obviously unpublished witers) have a jealous streak towards Stuart and were glad to see her dissed. My reaction was to hearing what she said was wincing at the social stupidity displayed in her comments, and gratitude at seeing it called for what it was by somebody who newbie authors, who don't know how to conduct themselves professionally, might listen to. The whole freaking prima-donna "I am an artiste!" attitude some writers cling to is reinforced by Big Name Authors doing crap like this, when the newbies don't hear the other side of it--that just because outsiders don't see immediate negative consequences, there aren't any, and this is just how Big Name Authors behave.

Stuart may pride herself on her brutal honesty, as she sees it. Many socially inept, annoying people with little business sense do just that. As long as they're good enough at what they do, they can get away with it for a while. But nobody stays on top forever, and the same people you stepped on going up are the ones who could--if they chose to--soften your fall when you go down.

anonymous: I'd never heard of her before now, but now I certainly have, and what I've learned is that her readers think she's great. I don't read her genre but if I did I'd certainly be out grabbing her books by now.

People who read her genre already knew about her. She was hardly an unknown--that's the point. People who don't aren't likely to run out and grab her book now--you're not, as you just admitted. And if you honestly think being mentioned on Miss Snark's blog boosts an author to the NYT Bestsellers list, learn something about the business of publishing, eh? If you had the foggiest idea about how the list works you'd know why that wasn't a bright thing to say. You sound a lot like the scam publishers who bleat that ever since Writer Beware did an expose on them, their business has just boomed.

Aconite

type, monkey, type said...

But wait, wait. If the publishers care about slots and numbers, then they should love what Anne said. Because the readers love it! The readers love to love the authors and hate the big bad publishers! Seriously. What she said probably will boost her sales. So long as the "people" at Mira can suck it up, it will make everyone money. Hell, they probably asked her to say it.

Brilliant!

whitemouse said...

Books don't sell unless they're very good books, written by a talented author.

However, books also don't sell unless they're printed, bound, and put on a shelf in a store.

Anne Stuart seems to believe that her booksales happen by a sparkly-poo act of magic, rather an investment of hard work and money by someone other than herself.

She's guilty of being gallingly self-centred and ungracious. That's all.

Kim said...

I don't know very much about publishing, and what little I know doesn't really qualify me to comment on this from a publishing POV.

But I do know this: wandering around the internet dissing the people who help you is stupid. You never know when you're going to need a hand up.

Ms. Stuart annoys me because she's just not being very professional. And for those who think this boosts her sales - I knew who she was before this. I am a reader, I've seen her books, and I'm not about to run out and buy one just because people are talking about her.

Brady Westwater said...

Speaking of nitwitterly, due to my annual fall mold fungus attack, I have barely slept in two nights and have enough drugs in my system to kill one minor rock star and three of his roadies, so I spent a full minute looking up and down the linked blog trying to find where the the author was dissing his book about... toast....

Southern Writer said...

What I didn't like, and this may stem from an earlier online scene, was the piling on that appeared from commenters in their seeming glee to see a published author get knocked around. ~ Jane (& Jayne?)

I’ll tell you, what disturbs me most is the way these two people snuck up behind me to stab me in the back, rather than doing their fucking research and getting it right.

I didn’t call Anne Stuart names, or insult her intelligence. All I said was that I’d be more than happy to take her place. Let’s take a poll, here. How many of you would not take her place if the contract were offered to you? Unless you reply and say you would not, I’m going to have to assume you would. And here’s another question: Once you got that contract, would you badmouth your publisher in an interview?

I resent the implication that I jostled anyone to be the commenter most supportive of Miss Snark. In spite of the fact that I do, indeed, adore the woman, I don’t always agree with her. If these two snits had gone back through her archives and found every place I made a comment, they’d figure that out in a hurry.

In my not so humble opinion, I think they’re both hypocrites. They apparently have a problem with me expressing my opinion, and what they perceived as my maligning Stuart, but they have no problem at all with expressing their opinion and attempting to discredit me with it.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to get a Zuse toaster and burn pages of my manuscript onto bread and send loaves in lieu of sample chapters to agents. Gives a whole new meaning to 'let's do lunch'.

Squarehead said...

That's funny, toast.
It's never a good idea for anyone to "diss" their colleagues in public. If you have a problem with someone then you should take it up with that someone. It doesn't matter what the situation is. It's always better to keep it in the house.

Anonymous said...

If the publishers care about slots and numbers, then they should love what Anne said. Because the readers love it! The readers love to love the authors and hate the big bad publishers! Seriously. What she said probably will boost her sales.

No, it won't. The only people talking about this are agent blogs, writer blogs and a handful of publishing blogs, most of which are read primarily by would-be published writers and people who work in the industry. And while that's not an insignificant readership, the percentage of those people who are also Anne Stuart's primary audience is negligible. Most of the people who buy her books don't even know she has a blog, much less that she dissed her publisher on it.

It's not scandalous, but it's highly unprofessional on Stuart's part. Publishing is a business, and if you're taking money from a publisher for your book, you are in business with that company, regardless of the extent to which you consider what you do art. The second you sign a book contract, it's also commerce. Complaining about a business partner publicly would be the end of that relationship in pretty much any other industry. If she feels like she's having problems with the PR team at Mira, she should be addressing it directly by speaking to them and her agent should be on top of it as well. What she's doing is not whistleblowing. It's complaining in a public forum because the publisher isn't doing everything the way Stuart believes it should be done. She apparently has the same complaints about every publisher she's had--and she's had a few--so it might be the case that the problem lies with her.

And by the way, I'm not criticizing Stuart because she's published and I'm not, (as someone suggested earlier). I am published, and for what it's worth, I don't read or write her genre. But if I treated my publisher that way, I think they'd be well within their rights to drop me or, at the very least, to demonstrate what "lack of support for the book" really looks like.

Dave said...

Where I used to work, one of the Enginners too several years to prepare enough research work to finally publish his stuff. When he was at on of the national meetings, he ask one of his coworkers from a competing Division nasty, snarky and bitchy questions pointing out the error of that other research.
We grounded him. He never presented a paper in public again. He never talked to the public again.
You don't like a collegues work, you tell them in private, not public.

BuffySquirrel said...

Umm, well, although I would certainly like a publishing deal, I'm not sure I want Anne Stuart's, on account of I'm pretty sure the publishers wouldn't find what I write very suitable for their readers. That might lead to some distressing scenes, on or off the interweb.

oh dear unpretentious writer...takes me back to the dark days of being called a robot just for giving the same answer to the same question even though the person on the other end of the phone thought they'd given it such a clever disguise that it was actually a brand new and completely different question. The public, how I miss them (not).

Alley Splat said...

It's a bit of a dodgy situation for her agent too, I'd think. Wouldn't want to be her at the moment.

PicAxe said...

Anonymous said: Publishing is a business, and if you're taking money from a publisher for your book, you are in business with that company, regardless of the extent to which you consider what you do art.

Yeah, publishing's a business, all right. But writing sure as hell isn't. While being businesslike sounds utterly fab, I suspect most creatives don't yearn for that, uh, dubious distinction. (Really, aren't we more like the mad inventor? All one second away from creating the next safety pin.)

Publishing's more of a business to publishers than to writers. As a writer I can no more sit down and say, I will make my product, produce 100,000 of them, and sell it for XX dollars, than I can get TMZ to stop showing pictures of Paris Hilton.

Publishing is publishing. Writing is creativity. Sometimes they make beautiful music together. Sometimes it's only noise. We should be nice to one another--life's too short not to be--but we'll never be on the same page.

Lisa McLeod said...

Gawd another whiny author, this is a topic to cry to your mother about, not bitch in public.

She is not brave to point this out, she's an idiot. It's like Oprah saying "all my camera people are terrible" and then wondering why she suddenly looks fat on TV.

I'm an author, and I have actually sold cereal, and when I sold cereal it was all about slots, when I write books it's all about the reader and the words.

Duh, it's the difference between being the creator and being the marketer.

The underpaid overworked PEOPLE -yes, you are right about that Miss Snark they are humans with very real feelings - are just doing the best they can with what they've got.

And just like the brand manager who wants the sales people to push his or her new line, an author with any sense knows that you're way better off being nice to them than dissing them in public.

Your book is your baby not theirs, that's why they can bundle it up with serveral other babies and hawk it using wahtever method works.

Publishing is a business, not an endowment for the arts. Authors are one cog in the wheel. And if they fall off, there are millions more cogs ready to take their place.

Lisa McLeod
www.ForgetPerfect.com

Anonymous said...

picaxe: Yeah, publishing's a business, all right. But writing sure as hell isn't. While being businesslike sounds utterly fab, I suspect most creatives don't yearn for that, uh, dubious distinction.

I see absolutely no problem with being both creative and businesslike. The two are not opposites. Good authors are both. If I approach writing as a profession, then I had damned well better present myself professionally. I don't buy into the myth that you can only be creative if your muse is so sensitive she can't be sullied by commerce and its demands. Frankly, I find those wilting violets who can't reconcile the two annoying and sad, and I won't be one of them.

Publishing's more of a business to publishers than to writers.

That depends on whether your primary focus is writing or being published. I like writing. I want to be read. That means getting published, if I want to be read by more people than my friends and, yanno, the people I can force to read my stuff on the subway. That means learning how to act properly in this kind of business. I'm artistic and creative when I'm sitting at my computer writing, but when I deal with editors, agents, publishers, and the like, I put on my other hat.

In theater, there's an understanding that you never, never go out into public offstage with your stage makeup on. It's just tacky. Writing is the same: You should not carry your artiste mentality out into the business world of publishing. It's inappropriate there. Save it for when you're actually writing.

Aconite

PicAxe said...

Aconite, I've been a businessperson, and I'm now a writer (published), and to me business and writing are kissing cousins at best. And which would I rather be? A writer, youbetcha. Damn business is all about making money. So cold . . . br-r-r

Trust me the last thing I have is an "artiste" mentality.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, publishing's a business, all right. But writing sure as hell isn't. While being businesslike sounds utterly fab, I suspect most creatives don't yearn for that, uh, dubious distinction. (Really, aren't we more like the mad inventor? All one second away from creating the next safety pin.)

Yes, but do they yearn to be published? We're not talking about Anne Stuart's writing here. Anyone can be a writer. All you have to do is write. Being a published writer is a different thing entirely. If you're pretentious enough to find the concept and business of commercial publishing icky and beneath you as an artiste, you can always self-publish and avoid it altogether. But I don't think that's what anyone reading this blog wants to do.

As for chich├ęd generalizations about creatives being "mad inventor" types: Some of the best writers I know are methodical, anal-retentive control-freaks who abhor chaos anywhere but their fiction. Even if the stereotype were true, why would that mean that writers also had to be stupid, or worse, willfully ignorant about the market for their work? There's certainly a long line of literary writers--DeFoe, Dickens, Henry James, to name a few--who were very savvy about publishing and didn't pay for it with inferior art. And that's not because the publishing industry was so much more sophisticated way back when. It wasn't. I'd use contemporary examples, but Anne Stuart notwithstanding, I think it would be difficult to find a working writer today who doesn't treat writing for publication like a professional endeavor. You have to. Unless you're independently wealthy, it is quite literally your job.

The only writers i know who think being businesslike isn't relevant to what they do are a small subset of unpublished writers--and these particular types are always unpublished-- who brag that they know nothing about the boring business nuts and bolts of publishing (because while they're sure it's utterly fab, darling, it's just not what they do) while simultaneously complaining that the publishing industry works against them, leaving them woefully and unfairly unpublished. How they know the publishing industry conspires to keep them unpublished when by their own boastful admission they know nothing about how the industry works is an indecipherable mystery to all, much like the certain disappearance of expensive socks in a seemingly airtight dryer or the ontology of god. Nonetheless, while the utterly fab self-proclaimed creatives are griping about the publishers they don't have, whose jobs they don't understand, a professional writer with the dubious distinction of being businesslike who bothers to find out how Bookscan calculates his sales, politely returns phone calls to his publisher's PR team, and doesn't bash anyone with whom he's currently working on the Internet is probably getting added to the new fiction table at Barnes & Noble.

Anonymous said...

It's times like this I think the net should be renamed. Something along the lines of World Wide Arguments and Gossip.

Technology may change, people never.

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it (and god knows I've thought way too much about it already) the more I think Stuart was sending a not-so-subtle message to other pub companies that she's interested in moving.

Even if what she said was indelicate, to another publishing house those comments would register as "unhappy best-selling author" and a move would be made by an editor to steal her away from Mira. In fact, I'll go so far as to say it's probably already in the works.

Southern Writer said...

The more I think about it (and god knows I've thought way too much about it already) the more I think Stuart was sending a not-so-subtle message to other pub companies that she's interested in moving.

If that's the case, she might have been so much better off leaving it to her agent to handle.

PicAxe said...

Anonymous: while the utterly fab self-proclaimed creatives are griping about the publishers they don't have, whose jobs they don't understand, a professional writer with the dubious distinction of being businesslike who bothers to find out how Bookscan calculates his sales, politely returns phone calls to his publisher's PR team, and doesn't bash anyone with whom he's currently working on the Internet is probably getting added to the new fiction table at Barnes & Noble.

How exactly is "businesslike" defined as it pertains to writers? I've always wondered about this. I hope it means tact and not timidity, politeness and not obeisance.

I guess I'd say businesslike for a writer is this: Learn your craft, write the best book you can, aim it toward a marketplace you enjoy shopping in. Study the market for an agent. Write the best proposal you can. Submit. Wait, patiently. Prod, cordially.

Repeat the above as many times as required. 1-15 maybe. All of these activities are within your control.

While doing the above learn about all the aspects of publishing that you can't control: trends, bookscan, Amazon, marketing, chain buying, which day of the week is best for your book to be released (Yes, I knew a multi-published author who claimed she'd learned one day was better than another--did someone use the word anal?), print runs, sell through, distribution.

Learning about all of the above can: A. Scare the crap out of you. B. Allow you to understand where your partner (agent/publisher) is coming from when you converse. Because while your language is character, conflict and commas, theirs is about lead books, slots, bookscan and how to promote the book/s they paid the biggest advances for--which from their point of view makes perfect business sense to me.

Then dance naked in the moonlight and chant for luck. (There may be limits on the effectiveness of this activity depending on pizza consumption.)

Get Miss Snark for an agent. (Have a glass of champagne at your stroke of fortune! Maybe another pizza.)

From that point on, do what you can to protect your partners' interest and your own. Be yourself. Be honest. And do your job.Immediately go back to the world you can control, writing the best book you can.

From what I know about Anne Stuart, and granted it's not a hell of a lot, she's worked hard at her craft for a lot of years and a lot of books. Her mispeaking of late, I consider an outtake.

Now gone from this discussion and staying gone,
PicAxe

Anonymous said...

picaxe: Damn business is all about making money. So cold . . . br-r-r

I don't know what kind of business you were in or how long ago, but the business world I know is about doing a damned good job of getting a product out to people who want it, and making enough money doing that to continue doing so. I know the cliches, but the businesspeople I personally know are interested in more than the bottom line. They don't ignore the bottom line, but not everything is about the bottom line. It's usually about earning enough to keep doing what they like to do.

A lot like writers.

If I want to be able to write as much as I want, I have to make sure I'm earning enough at that to keep doing it. That means putting a business hat on. There's nothing cold about that; it's simply practical.

Being a starving artist isn't any indication of the quality or creativity of your work. It just means you're poor. Being poor sux. It makes many things harder, including writing (when you can't pay the power bill, it's hard to use the computer). Being smart about business means being a not-starving artist, which is much better. I don't care what anybody says--it's easier to be creative when you're not wondering when you're going to eat next.

Aconite