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What Stace had to say on Friday, June 24th, 2011
I’m here! and a wee ranting…

Yes, we arrived safely in England, and all is well. Amazingly well, in fact; touch wood, but we’ve had gorgeous weather, even. Warm, mostly sunny, but with enough drizzle to make us feel at home. I’ve had fish and chips twice (aaah!) and we’ve rented a car that, although it’s not the Vectra we had before (how I loved that car), is very similar (Vauxhall isn’t making the Vectra anymore, which makes me sad inside). We’ve done some wandering around and some loitering, and hubs has been pounding the pavements and his job hunt is looking *very* promising at the moment, so please keep your fingers crossed for him!

I missed a few things while I was away, sigh. First, and most importantly: L.A. Banks has been diagnosed with adrenal cancer. It’s serious and it’s awful, awful news, and her medical bills are and will continue to be astronomical.

An auction–several auctions, actually–are being held to help raise money for her. I heard about it/got involved too late so couldn’t offer anything; fortunately many, many other people did hear in time, and there’s lots of awesome stuff available to bid on. Please, I urge you all to go have a look. Leslie is really a fantastic person and writer; one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Nowhere near that in importance is the fact that SACRIFICIAL MAGIC is now up for pre-order on Amazon (I don’t see it on B&N.com yet, and Book Depository has it but with the incorrect release date [though you can still pre-order it]) and Amazon UK! So if you’re planning on buying the book anyway, you could pre-order it now, and that would be frankly awesome.

I understand that while I was away there was something of a kerfuffle about this whole pre-order business and the “How you should buy my books” thing again and that whole business. I’ve already made my position on such things clear, but since people have a tendency to forget, let’s just go over it again quickly, shall we? Let me make clear too this particular comment isn’t directed at any one author, or at least not at the one this mess seemed to be directed at.

But I do have issues with authors who think it’s okay to scold people and make them feel guilty for buying her book on the Monday before it comes out rather than the actual Tuesday release date, which is such bullshit. First of all, the NYT counts book sales for the week. They tally numbers Sunday night, which means, unless no book ever sold on a Monday ever counts, that a “week” in those terms runs Monday morning-Sunday night. So a book bought on Monday? Fucking counts, so shut up. Second, shut up anyway, because your arrogant assumption that your listing should matter to your readers grosses me out. You want to grumble privately? Fine. But to make them feel guilty and bad? *gag*

Sorry, but I can’t see myself ever having the ego-driven nerve to assume I’m going to make any kind of list. Perhaps that’s because I’m barely midlist, sure, but either way. And even if I did… Seriously, dude, do you really think that if your sales are going to be big enough to give you a shot at the NYT, those ten or twenty copies people managed to buy early is going to keep you off it? Really? Especially when it’s a day early, which I remind you again, still counts?

Also, pre-orders count, and pre-orders matter. Pre-orders help determine print runs and convince bookstore buyers to place bigger orders. Pre-orders count as first-week sales. Again, even were that not the case? Pre-orders are fucking sales. They count. Every fucking sale counts. (When the previous “Buy my books this way so I can hit the NYT” thing broke out I actually had a chat with my editor about it; she confirmed that yeah, every single damn sale counts as a sale, and that–ta da!–helps our sales numbers, and those determine if we get to write more books or not.)

Getting to write more books or not is what matters to me. Would I love to hit a list one day? Of course; what writer wouldn’t? But honestly? What I care about is getting to write more books. Please, please let me get to write more books. If I could get paid a little more for them that would be great, sure. If I could get a bit of recognition beyond the circle of incredible awesome people who’ve actually read my books and are kind and wonderful enough to talk about them that would be pretty cool, too; I’d love to have a bigger audience. But really, I just want to write more books. I dream about getting to write more books. I can’t imagine being so secure in myself and my sales that I think I can totally hit a list as long as those damn readers don’t fuck it up for me, and worrying they will fuck it up by exercising their rights as a consumer to buy available products.

You know what I worry about? Whether or not they’ll like the book. Whether it’s as good as the last one. Whether they’ll understand why Chess did X in that scene or if I didn’t make it clear enough; whether they’ll see the changes being made or not and like them or not. I worry I’m not giving them a full enough experience, that this book will be a let-down, that I haven’t made it exciting enough, sexy enough, thrilling enough. I worry I’ve failed them–you. That’s what I’m crying about in the weeks before release. That’s where my focus is, what’s on my mind. Not “Will they buy it on the right date?” but “Will they love it?” I honestly, again, can’t imagine being in a position where worrying about what on what day the book was/is bought overrules my absolute terror that my readers will hate my new book, or be disappointed by it.

I just can’t explain how furious I get; not when I see the initial posts about “How you can help me hit a list,” because really, they bug me but oh well. Read it or don’t; follow it or don’t. I dislike the implication that it’s the reader’s job to care about such things or that they exist to serve the writer, yes. As I said above, I dislike the sort of arrogance implied by “My book is going to sell big numbers, y’all, so let’s get me some accolades for it.” The initial posts annoy me. But those aren’t such a big deal to me; it’s the follow-up comments about how no one is following instructions or how they’re obviously not reading the posts because if they were they wouldn’t be behaving so damn badly by buying the book when they see it/in the format they’re buying it in/whatever or how they’ve just made the author cry and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing that when I get angry. That’s what infuriates me; that’s where I start to get that sort of deep raw burning rage inside me that makes me want to start screaming and punching people. That’s where slight rudeness or even innocence of tone becomes real arrogance.

Why am I saying all of this now, when the current little internet mess is over? Well, because I’ve just posted pre-order links, that’s why. And I want to make it clear that while I would love you to pre-order the book, I really would, because I need every sale I can get and a sale is a sale, you’re under no obligation to do so. My sales numbers are not your problem; you are not required to do shit for me, my career, or my sales, frankly.

Yes, maybe it is the case–as I’m sure will be pointed out–that it’s easy for me to say all of this because I’m not in a position where I could hit a list, the implication being that because I’m not a big success I don’t have to worry about growing that success, I only have to try to hang on with my fingertips, whereas these people actually are successful and what do losers like me know about that. But I also know writers who have hit the NYT–quite a few of them, in fact–and none of them made a stink about buying the book the day before release or tell their readers they’d made them sick by buying the book a day or two early. And again, oh well. Maybe I’ll never hit a list. I don’t really care. I care about having a long career, and selling enough to make my publishers happy and make them keep offering me contracts. I care–deeply–about writing books my readers love, books that make them happy and make them want to see more books from me.

I got into this business so I could write books. I stay in this business because I still want to do that. That’s all I want to do. I want readers to like my books. That’s all I worry about.

So pre-order my book or don’t. I hope you do. I’m not worried if you don’t. I just want you to LOVE the book, and be excited by it and not feel let down, and that’s what I’d much rather focus on: you, the reader.

What Stace had to say on Monday, June 6th, 2011
Eek!

So we’re leaving GA tomorrow morning. We’ll be traveling for a short bit, and will arrive in the UK on June 17th. Eeek!

Once there I shouldn’t have any problem getting internet access, so things should be semi-normal, but until then I probably won’t be around much.

I’m very nervous and anxious, but excited too, and all of those things.

But while traveling, I’ll be working working working, too, to make more Downside stories and some new stuff.

I’d say “Wish me luck” but I’m superstitious, so please don’t! :-)

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
SACRIFICIAL MAGIC Release date

Lookie! I have an official, yes-this-is-it release date for SACRIFICIAL MAGIC.

March 27, 2012

So mark your calendars and all, everybody!

Also, my friend Stacey Jay’s book DEAD ON THE DELTA released yesterday, and you should all go buy it. Really. I read it and loved it; it’s set in New Orleans, and there are wicked little faeries spreading disease and lots of bayou grime and booze, and it’s so well-written and exciting.

Go visit Stacey’s site to learn more. Or just run to the bookstore and grab it. Seriously. I honestly believe that if you like my books you’ll like this one.

CRAZY busy. We leave next week. I’m almost done with Book 5 and really think it’s pretty damn cool so far; of course, a surprise happened which means I have to go back and rewrite a ton of stuff, but I’m excited about the surprise.

And here’s a short snippet from SACRIFICIAL MAGIC:

His room hadn’t changed. The house hadn’t changed. Only the looks given her by the various guards or enforcers or whoever they were had; from bland acceptance to subtle suspicion.

And she’d changed, it seemed. At least a bit. In the car chatting all had been well, but when the door closed behind her it occurred to her how long it had been since she’d been there. And what had happened last time she’d been there. Happened several times and again in the morning, if memory served, which it did.

Another awkward moment when she started walking toward the bed, remembered, and turned back to the couch against the wall. Lex already sat there, lighting a cigarette, flipping a switch behind him so The Jam started playing in the background. King of his little room-castle, just like how one day he’d be king of this side of town.

“So what’s up?” The question sounded lame even to her, but she couldn’t think of anything else to say. The bed with its plain blue blanket and sheets loomed larger and larger in her vision.

What Stace had to say on Monday, May 9th, 2011
Blogged at the League

about what is apparently my burgeoning grocery-store-butcher-counter crime career. Read it here, if you feel like it.

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Guest Post: Kevin Hearne

Yay! I love when my friends blog for me! Kevin is a fellow member of the League of Reluctant Adults, and he has three releases this summer, so here he is!

First, I’d like to thank Stacia for being so spiffy as to let me hang out here. It’s just one o’ many reasons why I owe her something strong in a short glass (which may or not be adorned with a piece of fruit).

One reason I owe her is because of last summer. I’ve been waiting around for my debut since the fall of 2009; I could have debuted in 2010, but Del Rey convinced me to try an unusual release schedule where my first three books would come out only a month apart, blam-blam-blam. Last year, I got to watch how that worked for Stacia, since she had the same release schedule for her Downside books with the same publisher. Aside from all the reviews and chatter about the books on the Internet(s), I saw in bookstores that you couldn’t avoid seeing her titles—all three facing out—unless you were determined to be boring and stay in the nonfiction section.

And then, of course, the covers were so awesome you had to pick them up and see what was up. At least, you had to if you like to look at beautiful people.

Shall I simulate a male reader’s thoughts as he walks by three books featuring Chess Putnam? “Wait. That girl on the cover is hot. And there she is again! Dude! Third time’s the charm! And she’s getting hotter! Why is she looking at me? What is this series about? I wonder if there are any naughty bits inside?”

Watching how it worked was valuable for me since I’d missed out on the last time this had been done—years ago with Naomi Novik’s Temeraire novels. It’s a strategy that encourages avid readers to begin a series with three books in quick succession while simultaneously luring in bookstore browsers with a strong presence on the shelves.

It’s been a long wait to see HOUNDED hit the market, but now it’s out there and will be followed by its sequels in June and July.

I will not even attempt to simulate a female reader’s thoughts on seeing these covers, though I will offer a quote a friend of mine: “Yum!” she said. Succinctly put, I thought.

The series is about a Druid—apparently a yummy one—named Atticus O’Sullivan, who’s been hiding out from Irish gods for a couple of millennia. He keeps his appearance youthful to blend in, and who would object to looking that good forever? The novel begins as the Irish gods find him and he decides to fight instead of run. But this decision will have a sort of domino effect among many pantheons besides the Irish one. You can get a rundown on all the books by clicking here, and since I’m all over the Internet(s) today, including the homes of many Leaguers, you can get a list of what’s going on at which site by visiting my blog.

What Stace had to say on Monday, May 2nd, 2011
Popping up for air

Just long enough to say I’m buried, buried, buried. There will be a post tomorrow (and the fingernail posts aren’t done for good, just on hiatus at the moment since I don’t even have time to do my nails) and hopefully Wednesday too, with some updates and stuff.

But really quick, how about a little excerpt snippet from Downside 5?

Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Monday, April 4th, 2011
Questions and all like that

1. I tried to approve a comment this morning that had ended up in my spam folder. It was a comment to my post about Elder Griffin and the commenter had a gay brother, I think? And was also an addict. Please, please re-leave your comment if you’re the one who left it; you and your comment are important to me, and I appreciated your words, and I honestly don’t know why it ended up in my spam folder to begin with but I feel awful about whatever dumb clutzy thing I did that made it disappear.

2. All this talk about short stories has me thinking. And there may be some stuff going on this summer as far as promotions etc. Certainly I have that story in HOME IMPROVEMENT: UNDEAD EDITION which frankly needs no promotion from me at all, given that the other authors in it are actually successful, but I’d like to do something for it and I’d certainly like to have some stuff to offer to piggyback from it a bit, if you know what I mean. I like my story in the antho pretty well–certainly I think it’s the best short I’ve written, but then you all know I’m not crazy about my short stories in general.

But that brings me to another question, actually. I’ve mentioned here that there’s a (very) dark erotica/erotic romance story I want to do. But I also have HOME, the Downside short which would have gone to the MMBO GHOST ROMANCE, (which made me realize earlier that I also have TRUST ME, my short from the MMBO VAMPIRE ROMANCE II, which is now essentially reverted to me–it was a non-exclusive contract after the first year). And I’d really, really like to get some more Downside stuff out there for you guys, and have been considering a few options.

So…

I thought there was a way to do a proper voting poll on WordPress here but I can’t find it. So I’ll just ask and you guys can leave our thoughts in comments or @ me on Twitter or whatever.

I’m having some thoughts re the following short/novella-type projects. Keep in mind that not only do I of course want to do something special for you guys but I’m hoping to do something that might be accessible to those who haven’t read the books, something that might entice them a bit and get the word out? I know there are people who think the series is very successful because of the great reviews it got last summer but really that’s not the case, so I’m working really hard on finding a way to reach a larger audience.

Here are some of the ideas I have in mind; I may actually end up doing all of them, but I’m really interested in what appeals to you:

1. An “origin”-type story for Chess from her Church training

2. UG/UM/CoG from Terrible’s POV

3. ” ” ” from Lex’s POV

4. Some shorter in-continuity stories; nothing you’d have to read to understand/follow later books (I hate that) but, you know, “Further Adventures”-type things (HOME is one of these already)

5. Origin-type stories for other characters (Bump, Terrible, Lex, Edsel, etc.)

What do you guys think?

Anything I don’t have there that you’d really like to see?

Let me know!

What Stace had to say on Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Elder Griffin is Gay

(There is a point to my saying this, I swear.)

I’m pretty sure most of you know that already, actually, although I did see a bit of confusion over the summer when the subject of a possible youthful dalliance/crush of his came up in UNHOLY MAGIC (and for the record, for those curious: yes, there was some canoodling, although it was more curiosity/ego-feeding/careless fun for the other party). I thought that was fairly obvious, but didn’t see any reason to press the point or have him running around monologuing about being gay; the man is gay, and Chess obviously knows he’s gay, and nobody cares that he’s gay, so why would he do a speech about his gayness? Especially in that world, where being gay isn’t remotely an issue to anyone and gay marriage is totally legal.

(I can’t resist throwing in another worldbuilding note there: for certain people, like Church employees, simple cohabitation is not permitted [gay or straight]. You’re either married or you live alone, period.)

(Oh, and those of you who read THE BRAVE TALE OF MADDIE CARVER may have noticed a slight reference to his sexuality there, too, when Maddie thinks about how his family abandoned him because of it.)

Anyway. So Elder Griffin is gay. And his part in the next books is a bit bigger, and (minor spoiler) he does have an active love life and that becomes part of the next books as well, and it’s something that makes me happy. Because it’s important to me to add that to my books. It’s important to have some diversity. It’s important because the real world is diverse, and it’s important because who knows might see it and maybe think about it, or maybe feel better about it. Elder Griffin is first and foremost a good man, a smart one and a kind one and a loving one; one who adds great value to Chess’s life. His being gay is part of him but it’s also incidental. He is more than GAY. He is (at least I hope he is) a full, living, breathing, thinking, feeling, human being of worth who happens to be gay.

All of this is my way of explaining why yesterday I emailed Trisha Telep to pull my short story HOME from the MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE anthology.

You can read the background on this here and here.

HOME is a Downside story; I think I’ve mentioned it before? It is, I think, the closest thing to a “happy” Downside story as can exist–at least one from Chess’s POV–and for that reason it was fun to write (again, plus kinky hippies, which was a hoot).

It also involves–revolves around, to no small extent–bisexuality/homosexuality, in an important and positive way.

HOME is not dead. I’m considering some other options at the moment, because I absolutely want to make sure those of you waiting for the next Downside book get to read the story in the interim. And in fact there are a few potential Downside stories in the works for you guys in addition to the one appearing in HOME IMPROVEMENT: UNDEAD EDITION, which will be released August 2nd. So you’ll get to read it, I’m just not sure how, where, or when (but my plan is sooner rather than later).

Because I feel that to not speak up here, to not pull the story, takes something away from Elder Griffin, and from every other gay character I’ve ever written (Carter in the Demons books, too, as another example). In fact it takes something away from every character I’ve written, because it makes them all less human. It treats them like characters and not people; it treats them as unimportant, as lip service. They’re not that. They matter to me. And hopefully they matter to readers. And maybe they even matter to someone who sees themselves in them–in any of my characters, no matter what traits or differences or faults or personality quirks or whatever else they may have that some people feel it’s okay to judge or condemn–and realizes it’s okay to be exactly who and what they are.

Because it is.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, March 24th, 2011
Playing With Guns

We went shooting today!

There’s a Sharpshooters shooting range maybe fifteen minutes up the road from us; I’ve never actually even noticed the place before, but there it is. And I didn’t know we were going there today; the hubs set it all up as a surprise for me. It’s been years since I’ve shot a gun–and the last time was with rifles at cans in a field–so I was pretty excited about this.

It was just as much fun as I remembered it being.

The gun range is kind of a weird place to be. Not in a scary way, but in one of those “These people are all so friendly and nice but they could drop you in a heartbeat” kind of way. Like the lane attendants who were really friendly and helpful but who had loaded guns in holsters on their waists, I guess in case somebody decided the power was just too much for them and they were going to open fire on people. It’s kind of dimly lit in there, too, and since you have those super earmuffs on everything is very subdued. It took me a few minutes to stop jumping when people fired, just because I still hadn’t acclimated.

It was kind of like stepping into another world, a little. A world where the wording of the Second Amendment is printed on the walls around the room, and people take “personal defense” very, very seriously. I don’t say that to make fun or anything, at all. It’s just that like with any other specialist kind of place, the sudden focus on one particular item or issue or whatever can be a bit jarring. But seriously, a nicer bunch of people you’d never want to meet; everyone was friendly, everyone was excited to see us and help us and everyone sincerely hoped we had fun and that we’d come back, which I totally want to do. They even have a Ladies Night, which you can bet I’m going to attend as soon as I can.

First we rented a Glock; the Glock 19, to be exact. Which was fun, but…eh. I wasn’t crazy about the Glock, to be honest. The grip was texturized even up the back, which meant it irritated the skin between my thumb and forefinger, you know that web of skin there? Firing the Glock made it reddish and kind of itchy, and I didn’t like that.

Aside from that, though, the Glock was fun. We bought 50 rounds and went through them in about twenty minutes, taking turns (we’d load 5 rounds into the clip, fire them, then hand off). What’s cool about that place is that in addition to the “classic” targets, you can also choose a burly prowler or several zombies at which to shoot.

We chose Zombie Steve. Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Friday, March 4th, 2011
Don’t ever take sides against the family

Wow.

Last night I got a couple of pingbacks in my email, letting me know some of my posts had been linked to. I think you can guess which ones; the little series I did several weeks back about watching what you say online.

Turns out that little tempest-in-a-teapot has not in fact died, but has grown and changed and turned into something huge and sinister. Turns out there are people out there now–otherwise reasonable people, I assume–who are equating my words with threats that someone will never be published or will never find an agent, that authors can and will “blackball” someone for a negative review, or whatever. Turns out I have somehow inadvertently created a cabal (NOTE: This doesn’t mean I think it’s all down to me or anything, just that my post is being linked to by people who say it was/is a “key exchange” in starting the whole thing. Trust me, there may be things in this world I’d like credit for. Threatening to ruin people’s careers from behind the scenes like some sort of self-important literary Blofeld is not one of them). The YA Mafia. I’m not sure how that happened, given that I’m not published in YA, but my posts are being linked to as the ones that started it all. And hey, my agent has a YA proposal from me as I write this, which I’m extremely excited about because it has all sorts of dark bloody creepiness in it. Including Springheel Jacks (yes, Jacks, as in more than one. Whee!). I digress.

I’m extremely tempted to ignore all of this and just move on. The only reason I’m not doing it is because it apparently started with me, so I feel partly responsible for the discussions, and because people are spreading some pretty wild stories about what I said (no offense to that commenter, who seems a very nice, rational person. Hers was simply the first comment I saw to illustrate my point. It is far from the only comment of that sort out there, and most people don’t apologize when it’s pointed out that they’ve misinterpreted something like that. She did. I appreciate that. This isn’t about her at all. It is about the fact that this is all getting blown way out of proportion, and I don’t appreciate being lied about).

There is no “mafia.” No writer in the world can keep you from getting published if your work is good. Period.

So you might not get a blurb from someone. As I said repeatedly when this all started, so fucking what? That’s not going to ruin your career, or end it before it’s even begun. So when you do a panel with someone they might not invite you for a drink afterward. Again, oh well.

The statement was NEVER made, by me or anyone else I’m aware of, that writing a negative review of a book could mean you never get published or repped.

The statement was NEVER made by me or anyone else I’m aware of that I would ask my agent not to rep someone who gave me a bad review. I said I might be a little hurt. Sorry, I am a human being, with feelings, just like everyone else. My agent and I have a very close relationship. I might be a little hurt. I probably wouldn’t even mention this to him (and for the record, he told me that if the review was really nasty he’d assume the writer isn’t very professional and thus not be interested in them, but a calm “This is why it didn’t work for me” wouldn’t be a big deal if the work was wonderful). I certainly wouldn’t email or call him and say “So-and-so only gave me two stars. I never want to see you go near her/him ever.”

Nor would I do that with my editor, which is another claim being made. Would I care if she signed a writer who didn’t like my work? Not one damn bit, no. An editor-author relationship is different from an agent-author relationship, for one thing. And for another…

Geez, guys, it’s just a review. Who cares about it, really?

Yeah, I might not want to blurb you if you took the time to write a big old post about not liking my book. So what. As I said in my original post, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t help you with other things if you needed it. That certainly doesn’t mean I’d start calling people to put your name on the Secret Mafia Blackball List. It certainly doesn’t mean I’d go out of my way to damage your career.

The simple truth is–and I mean this in the nicest possible way–I don’t care about you. I don’t know you. You don’t mean anything to me, beyond being another human being with whom I share this planet. If you’re one of my readers you mean a little more to me, sure. I try to do whatever I can for my readers; I love them. I will and have gone out of my way for them, whether they blog or not. But if you’re not one of them, you’re probably not on my radar at all. If I see your negative review I’ll probably shrug. Again as I said in those posts, if I have to choose between blurbing you and blurbing a book by one of my readers, my reader gets the blurb (unless her books sucks, which of course it won’t, because my readers are so awesome it hurts). That’s assuming I even remember your name; I don’t write this shit down, and I have a horrible memory. I might google you, if I’m bored. I might not; I probably won’t.

Somehow it seems book bloggers in general got tied up in all of this, which I find extremely upsetting, and frankly confusing. I’m not really sure how much more outspoken I can be on the subject of book bloggers/readers having the right to say anything they damn well please about a book, short of buying a bullhorn and picketing genre conventions. I have never once failed to back the reader/reader-blogger when it comes to an author vs. situation, and yeah, it is personally upsetting to me to see that completely disregarded, to see no one even bothering to read the posts I linked to on that subject before declaring what my intentions and words were.

That’s too bad for me, though. Because–and here is where we go full circle–anything you say on the internet is public, and people are people and don’t always take things the way you want them to. Because, which was honestly the whole point of the first post in the series, once you become a writer and have work published you are no longer free to speak your mind as clearly and openly as you once were; or rather, you certainly are free to do so, but there are and will be consequences. I can point not only to this little kerfuffle, but to numerous others to illustrate this. The line “She put it out there on the internet, it’s public, she can say whatever she wants but she has to accept that people might not like it and will talk about it” has been repeated so many times by so many people it’s almost funny at this point.

Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s frustrating and difficult sometimes. Tough. It’s part of the job.

What this all boils down to is that somehow, my attempt to pass on a bit of advice–the internet can be scary, it really can, and you never know what might set someone off so it’s best to just be very careful and not burn any bridges–has turned into ALL YOUR PUBLISHING CHANCES ARE BELONG TO ME.

There is no “Mafia.” No one has that much power. Quite frankly, nothing that happens on the internet is that damn important. All of those “Authors Behaving Badly” posts out there? Don’t really matter. Those authors are still publishing, and the vast majority of readers have no idea of the scandal du jour. Although it seems big, the number of readers who actually hang out in the online readerworld is minute.

And something else I learned is that for every person who sees what you say and thinks “Man, fuck that bitch”–whether it’s because of what you said or what they think you said or whatever–there’s someone else who thinks, “Man, that chick is awesome for speaking her mind.”

The lesson there? People are people, and we’re all different. Some of us may feel one way, some another.

But we’re still people. Yes, people can be incredibly scary sometimes. But most of us aren’t. We’re a pretty decent bunch, I think, we writers. We might get annoyed by something or upset when attacked or whatever; we have bad days just like everyone or anyone else. We have to be careful when we have those bad days, more careful than non-writers. We have to be careful especially if we’re women.

But I’m also careful when I go out alone at night. That doesn’t mean I’m afraid to do it at all. I’m just careful.

My post was intended as a bit of advice, and something interesting to discuss. I say down on the Sunday night and thought, “Oh, that’ll be a cool topic to discuss. I can do a little series on it, that’ll be fun. I like doing series.” It was not intended as some sort of rule. It was most certainly not a threat; it never occurred to me that anyone would think of it that way, because to assume someone is threatening you is to assume they have some power over you, and I have none. I’ve never claimed to have any.

But sheesh, guys, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Yes, the internet is forever, but you know what? Nothing is forever. Things are forgotten. People move on. People stop caring, if they ever did. No one is threatening you. No one is calling the Boss of Publishing–Don Paperback, or whatever–to tell him you sleep with the fishes. I’m not sure how exactly that belief came about, but it’s not true, and as Zoe Winters says here, “No one EVER Said That.” (Interestingly enough, that belief, the misunderstanding, was really the main point behind my saying “You can’t be both”–not that writers would ostracize you but that readers would misunderstand you/mistrust you. Sadly, it does happen. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it.)

What you say online may lose you a few readers. It might gain you a few. It might make Author A not inclined to blurb you. It might make Author B more inclined to do so. I don’t enjoy controversy so I avoid it. I think making enemies is pointless so I avoid it. (Frankly, I think writing negative reviews is generally a waste of my time, because I have no special attachment to reviewing and never have. You may feel differently, and that’s fine. But for me, I’d usually rather spend my time talking about books I loved.) What you say online might very well make you some enemies or thrust you into unwanted controversy. It may cross a few names of your list. Like I said, I don’t understand why someone would feel so strongly about being able to review, or why they would be upset at being told they have to be careful with what they say, since A) When you’re published you have to be even more careful, and B) Isn’t that sort of standard in the world? Don’t we always need to be careful what we say? Just like we don’t walk up to someone on the street and say “Wow! Your dress is really ugly!” so we are careful what we put out there publicly online, too.

But what your statements online won’t do is keep you from getting published if your work is good. (Hell, even if it isn’t; I know one specific example of this, who although the houses aren’t particularly well-regarded or established, they’re still putting out books with that writer’s name on them, and there are so many marks against that person it makes my head spin.) Unless you are a complete ranting harpie, if your work is good you will find people who want to work with you.

The writing is everything. The work is everything. Focus on that, and quit worrying about whether or not it’s okay to say you didn’t like a book. There is no “Mafia.” There is no “blacklist.” There are only people, and we’re all different. And most of all there are books, and those are what matter more than anything else.

Seriously. Don’t worry about this. Just write the best book you can.

Other posts on this topic:

Holly Black

Ally Carter

Justine Larbalestier

Amperstory

Janni Simner

Cleolinda Jones

Foz Meadows

Dia Reeves

An older but extremely trenchant post from Ilona Andrews