Oy! Quit It Already!

I know the economy sucks right now. I know people are worried about jobs and bills and their future. I am too. Sadly, this attitude seems to be spilling out into the internet – not unusual, people often choose the internet because it feels anonymous. However, you know what? I don’t care if it’s the internet – you still need to own your words and to own the PREDICTIBLE outcome of your actions.

There’s a lot of smack talking from authors about other authors and publishers online. I wish authors would own what they say. If you get on your blog and talk shit about your publisher or readers, it’s going to get you lots of hits, but also, you’re going to come off as unprofessional and bitter. And when you get caught, for the love of Pete, just own it! Do not backpedal and deny the obvious. You said what you said, thinking you were a big dog, when you get confronted, just own it. Better yet, think before you type. You can deal with issues in a non-confortontational manner or you can call people out. But if you call people out, eventually someone with bigger britches than you is gonna call you out right back and then what?

And authors, when you go on blogs and loops and participate in reader discussions about books and you’re negative? Do you think people don’t notice? I notice. Other authors notice. Look, there are ways to discuss books, books you like and books you don’t like, but when you choose to participate in a discussion that is overwhelmingly negative there will be a PREDICTIBLE outcome. People will be turned off and frankly, eventually the tide will turn and you’re going to be holding a tiger by the tail.

Readers can discuss things in ways authors can’t in public. For a whole host of reasons. Deal with that. Or don’t. But other authors are my colleagues. Even ones I can’t stand. And listen, there are books I LOATHE and authors I loathe too. So you know, I might talk to megan about it, or my other friends in private, but what do I gain by slagging them off on a blog? It’s not the “behind the back” thing, it’s the private thing. Readers don’t need to see authors acting like asshats online.

Also, I straddle between NY and epublishing. If I hear one more time that NY is “jealous” of epublishing, I’m going to get my shovel out. They’re not. RWA national isn’t “out to get” small published authors. The way the RITAs are run is not about shoving anyone out of the club. IMO, it’s about ignorance of any other model than the traditional one. And truly, I highly doubt those NYT bestsellers even have small pubs on their radar, much less having some master plan to run them out of town on a rail. Frankly, every time I hear an author say “X” is just jealous of “us” it makes me cringe with embarassment. It’s silly and juvenile.

The “us v them” paradigm is a false one. It is not NY v Epublishing, RWA v EPIC, RT v MM authors, erotic v sweet, etc. This paradigm is a waste of time and energy. It misdirects us from what is truly important and ties us up with petty, junior high squabbling.

We write romance. To spend our time tearing each other down and creating false dichotomies is counter productive. We’re professionals. Romance is our business. We should act like businesspeople and not like we’re hanging out in the bathroom at George washington Junior high.

We need to stop it. Can we demand high standards from ourselves? Hell yes. Can we discuss and disagree without flame wars? Yes. Women can disagree and we don’t need anyone who is conflict averse to run in with cute, pithy sayings to derail things. Men don’t do this. We are capable of building worlds, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t discuss without tearing down.

At the same time, we can use the judgment button in our heads, the common sense one and choose not to pile on either. Because while you think it makes you look clever, you just look petty.

11 comments to “Oy! Quit It Already!”

  1. Diana
    December 15th, 2008 at 11:35 am · Link

    Can’t wait to see it. You crack me up. When I watch the one with you on the starbucks coffee fix, I couldn’t stop laughing. You were so hyper. Cafeine does that to a person. You’re fabulous. Love the books. Will look forward to seeing the video on Wed. Take care.

  2. Lori
    December 15th, 2008 at 11:38 am · Link

    K, wow. I obviously missed something big. But I agree with what you said completely. And I think in my blogpost the other day what I meant to say and maybe did it poorly, but tried to get at in the comments, was that there are some really amazing authors out there writing in epublishing that also write for NY. It’s possible to do both; it’s possible to make the leap altogether and never look back. Don’t dis the epublishers – they are producing some of the most wonderful authors in romance right now. I would be bereft without reading the latest Lauren Dane or NJ Walters or Beth Williamson. Not to say that NY doesn’t as well. My god – where would I be without Cindy Gerard to read, or Elizabeth Hoyt? (that was possible the longest run-on sentence in history up there, huh?)

    Bottom line is – I love romance. I’ll read it in ebook, I’ll read it on paper. I’ll watch it on a movie screen. I just love to feel good. I want a HEA. I don’t care where it comes from.

    I think this is why a lot of readers I know try to avoid “getting to know” authors. I follow very few author blogs, simply because I don’t want a bad impression of an author to color my views of a book I might love. Ignorance is bliss.

  3. azteclady
    December 15th, 2008 at 12:40 pm · Link

    Well, I have no clue what you are talking about–which is probably all for the best.

    Don’t let it get to you, Lauren! Have a good week.

  4. Christine
    December 15th, 2008 at 1:09 pm · Link

    Why is always this me against you mentality. I enjoy both and don’t intend giving up ebooks for print books or vice versa. I want to read as many quality books as I can b/c that’s what makes me happy where ever they come from.

  5. Dana
    December 15th, 2008 at 8:03 pm · Link

    Hum? Well…Hum?

    I haven’t even made it to the e-book stage. Well maybe I did. I won a book an Author e-mailed me. Does that count?

    I’ve been to nervous of overloading my laptop to do the e-book thing. (not very computer sauvy (sp?)

    But, don’t let anyone get you down Lauren…from your words you have a wonderful family that each time you mention you BEAM… It’s Christmas and they’re only little once.

    I can no longer bribe any of mine to sit w/ me and watch Rudolph.

    You sound as though you are a very smart and fair minded person and if anyone is suggesting otherwise or is trying to BRING you in to some Jealous BS..

    I have no doubts that you will know exactly what to do!

    Hope the rest of your week is smooth Holiday sailing!

    (And I hope that the lil piss ants starting the BS….get the runs in the middle of Holiday shopping!)

  6. Martie Hoover
    December 15th, 2008 at 8:15 pm · Link

    I found your blog refreshing. It’s amazing to me how many authors don’t know how negativity affects their success and the way they are perceived. Thanks for speaking out.

  7. MsValerie
    December 16th, 2008 at 10:14 am · Link


    Gosh, Lauren…I think I’ve figured out how I sprained my neck….nodding while reading your posts.

  8. Sasha
    December 16th, 2008 at 2:02 pm · Link

    I must’ve missed somethign somewhere too,. Part of me wants to say “WHere? What? I want to kwno what’s going on.” the other part is like. “Hmm, okay, just agree, and stay out of it.”

    SO, I agree, I give lots of persona opinions (I’m full of opinions) on my blog or on chat loops, but I agree, there is a line between professional and unprofessional.

    Try not to let others get to you. *hug*

  9. Juliana Stone
    December 16th, 2008 at 3:28 pm · Link

    Lauren, you nailed it straight on the head. I’m so new to this game but unfortunately saw some of this first hand very early in the game. It’s awful. I dont’ get the whole epub versus NY either. I subbed to both and just wanted my words out there for people to read. Me thinks a lot of it is just sour grapes…..

  10. Emma Petersen
    December 17th, 2008 at 6:57 pm · Link

    For once I’ve been too busy writing to involved or even be aware of the latest internet bruhaha in our genre. And you know what, I prefer it this way.

    Hope everything settles soon and the people who need to learn from the situation learn.

  11. Vivi Anna
    December 17th, 2008 at 7:06 pm · Link

    Hell to the yes! Word! That’s all I need to say, cuz you said it all real well.