Save Some Trouble

Day 30: Kerplunk! Hachette vs Amazon continues apace. With luminaries such as CE Murphy, Harry Connolly, Scott Turow, James Patterson, and Charlie Stross weighing in, I feel rather as if there’s not much left for me to say. I do want to note a few ancillary things, though.

If my opinions on Amazon enrage you, and you express that rage by threatening not to buy my books, it merely puzzles me slightly. (I’m going to quote from a Twitter thread I posted last night here.) If you don’t like my politics, my feminism, my comment policy, or my opinions on Amazon, my books will probably just upset you more. Your threat to “not read” me just makes me think, well, this person’s saving themselves some grief and ulcer medication, so…good luck? And that’s about it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings or upset me, nor does it change my mind about anything. If you want to change my mind or make me feel bad, first you have to earn my respect. Threats are not a good way to do so.

I also wanted to note something curious I’ve seen in the comments here. Several commenters seem to have landed not understanding that I am also self-pubbed, and that Hachette is not my only publisher. They’re not even my only trad publisher. I have multiple books out with trad presses as well as multiple small presses and my own self-pub LLC. Choosing to lecture me in an ill-tempered and incoherent manner on the publishing industry and book distribution when you do not have a commensurate level of experience stands little to no chance of impressing me, especially if such lecture is full of fuzzy, also-incoherent talking points from people who likewise do not possess much experience. It’s normal to have opinions on things one doesn’t know much about–believe me, I have plenty myself–but trolling on such things is bad form indeed.

Another curious thing I noted was a flood of traffic from a site run by a (quite popular, I suppose?) demagogue of self-publishing whose stock-in-trade seems to be such trolling. While I welcome the new readers–come in, have a drink, tell me about yourselves!–I most emphatically do not welcome trolling (concern or otherwise), rhetorical bad form (strawmen, canards, misrepresentation), personal insults or mansplaining. Consider this a gentle warning, mostly because I don’t have time to engage with such nonsense. I do, however, often screencap and save such things, even if I don’t keep them in the mod queue.

Now, many new commenters behaved themselves, and I welcomed (and still do welcome) their comments. There were a few bad apples, however, who wore out said welcome and are now banned after clear warnings. Banning does not have to be permanent–a good place to start with getting un-banned is an apology, should you have a burning desire to keep playing in this particular internet sandbox.

I am also a little amazed and puzzled by the attitude that I am somehow a huge tentacled Goliath picking on the plucky David of Amazon.

Quite a few of those leaping to defend poor, helpless Amazon against mighty incredible me focused on the same talking points and rhetorical strategies. It is frankly incredible–the most bizarre thing was the familiar pattern of typos. I don’t think it’s a coordinated effort, but I do think there is an echo chamber or five, some run by people who profit financially or (more prosaically) emotionally by feeding an air of publishing grievance, where there is a certain lingua franca that includes said typos and also includes the perception that somehow Amazon is an underdog altruistically doing battle on behalf of geniuses the gatekeepers of trad publishing have snubbed. If that’s your cuppa tea, fine, but don’t expect me to concur or give much shrift to the notion.

The mod queue remains a bit tighter than usual, for all the above reasons and others. If you find yourself about to grab comment threads from previous (closed) posts or about to tell me how if I just self-published (more than I already have, I guess?) I would see Amazon as the underdog, or about to tell me just how much my criticism of Amazon or my comment policy means you’ll never read my books now, please take a deep breath and find another subject.

Thank you.

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Linda Rodriguez
Linda Rodriguez

Yes, I followed a link (because I’ve been following the Amazon/Hachette thing closely) and found myself on the post of that demagogue in which he sicced his followers on you. That’s kind of his M.O. from the little I’ve seen of his blog. So sorry you had to have the troll infestation. Not anything a hardworking writer needs.

If these folks would work as hard at writing and getting better at it as they work at this kind of crap, perhaps they wouldn’t have the time or need to resent successful writers as much as they do.

susan emans
susan emans

What Linda said! 🙂

sirtimthefirst
sirtimthefirst

WOW! What a rich, full, informative entry! All I can say is that I have missed a lot by not following the comments.. I admit to being addicted to your squirrel stories, but I’ve also read all of your books, greatly enjoying same. I truly hope that your “critics” are merely seeking attention, and are not serious about attempting to abridge your rights of expression. I’m a man who just happens to be comfortable in my skin, and I’ve never felt threatened by anything you’ve written. I find you to be articulate, intelligent, humourous, and informative. Thank you for sharing… Read more »

wolflahti
wolflahti

As is typical of your posts on such subjects, this one is reasonable and articulate. At the same time, it feels defensive—which I find odd because you are defending yourself against people who aren’t worth defending against. Trolls are best ignored, because even negative attention is still attention, and that is all they’re after, really. (Okay, laughing at them might be all right, too.)

unipenguin
unipenguin

Wait! You mean that I should understand the issue before I jump in with an opinion and defend it regardless of fact?

Well, heck. If that’s the case, the interwebs iz brokened.

unipenguin
unipenguin

Make that “interwebs”. Auto correct just sucked the life out of my attempt at humor.

martianmooncrab
martianmooncrab

I am somehow a huge tentacled Goliath

I rush to build an altar to start worshipping you at… well, an altar specifically for this incarnation, not to be confused with my Lili Shelf O Books..

sirtimthefirst
sirtimthefirst

Don’t Trolls live under bridges, where they acquire growths of lichens, mosses, and tiny moving beasties? No wonder they’re so grumpy!!

pinkpelican
pinkpelican

I will eventually be a published writer, and what goes on business-wise in publishing is important stuff to learn. I’ve learned a lot reading through Kris Rusch’s blog. When I saw stuff about Hachette-Amazon popping up on Publishers Weekly and various other places, what I figured was going on, based on some of Kris’ general comments on similar dust ups, was, “Oh, look. Hachette & Amazon must be negotiating contracts. What fun for them. And now it’s time for them to do the “PR get writers, readers, & consumers on OUR side to put pressure on the OTHER side” shuffle.… Read more »

pinkpelican
pinkpelican

Lili, This may come off as dismissive, and if so, please feel free to delete my comment. It was not my intent to be dismissive. It’s just that so many folks get so worked up over things that they don’t understand fully. I *know* I don’t understand this fully, because it’s very complex. So I tend to stand back and take the neutral stance. In retrospect, I probably would have done better just not commenting. 🙂 I enjoyed your blog tremendously, and if this has ended up being offensive, I apologize, and will totally understand if you make it go… Read more »

Marc Cabot
Marc Cabot

You know, I thought a level of detente had been achieved until you referred to Passive Guy as “a demagogue of self-publishing whose stock-in-trade seems to be […] trolling.” Passive Guy is an extraordinarily accomplished attorney who’s represented authors and other content producers to licensees for years. He’s seen firsthand how many publishers treat their authors like sheep to be shorn (at best) or tissues to be used and discarded (at worst.) If his site hasn’t got much good to say about publishers, that is because there is not much good to be said about them. Again, I am happy… Read more »

Dameon Strother
Dameon Strother

Your opinion did not enrage me. In fact I have decided to not purchase any more of your books in digital form. From now on I will only read you on pages I can turn. My book shelves will make a much better home for one of my favorite writers than any Kindle every could. Reading your work has made me a better writer but reading your blog has enlightened me. Thank you.

Dameon Strother
Dameon Strother

Next time I’ll try proofeading rather than embarrassing myself. I believe in rewriting my books until they sing but, sorry, my email usually goes out warts and all…

Summer
Summer

Saw on KGW news today about Stephen Colbert waging ware against Amazon! He publishes with Hachette also. He has connected his web site to Powell’s and has challenged to out sell Amazon. Powell’s is already seeing increased traffic and sales. Woo Hoo for the local guy and to all writers and readers for standing against the corporate greed.