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Old 12-17-2014   #11
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

Throwing a cheap "homophobe" attack at a critic tells me more about the author than I ever wanted to know. It's distressing that many who claim to champion free expression and the right to be different are always the first to try and shut down voices they disagree with.
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Old 12-17-2014   #12
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

But not all writers respond in such a regrettable fashion to criticism, even if the criticism in question is only perceived, not actual.
A time ago I wrote and posted “The Story I Always Wanted Ramsey Campbell To Write.” Campbell has the ability to create some very believable and insufferable characters, verbal bullies of appalling viciousness. My pastiche was simply the unjustly tormented soul getting, for once at least, his/her own back on the Tormentors.
I left TLO, came back later to help a friend (it’s a long and tedious story) who had questions about a de la Mare collection. Imagine my surprise when my friend called me and said Campbell had seen the piece and seemed troubled over it. Well, that was a correct assessment; I used my friend’s account to respond to Mr. Campbell since the last thing I wanted was to cause any degree of distress for a man whose fiction I had followed from the beginning and whose talents I genuinely admired.
Campbell never replied in anger, never asked or demanded the piece be removed. (Actually, it would have been easier for me if he had!) He just said it was all true and there was nobody to blame for what he wrote but himself. Now to say it all felt sad and unreal would be a bit of an understatement. I never imagined my words could have a negative effect on any writer, let alone one I admired and who was considered by many to be a Titan in the field. And the thing itself wasn’t written in malice or anger, it was meant to be an affectionate pastiche. (I think one of the other posters sized the situation up correctly; Campbell, like many writers do, was probably going through a period of self-doubt when he saw my story and read into it elements that weren’t there.)
We exchanged PM’s and I explained that the work wasn’t an exercise in criticism on any level and I regretted any pain it had caused him. Eventually we reached a happy conclusion—I didn’t want to go down in literary history as the man who sabotaged Ramsey Campbell’s career—and in a final PM over the matter he assured me he wasn’t going to cease writing and joked that his pen had a light at the end in the eventuality that death wasn’t the end.
Unlike some writers responding to criticism, Ramsey Campbell was a class act and I applaud the gentleman to this day.
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Old 12-17-2014   #13
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

I think if authors are going to reply to negative reviews they are letting themselves in for whatever flak they get back.

If you are going to criticise then do it openly and under your own name. Not via a messageboard handle or, even worse, in secret.

Here's a case in point:

My most annoying example was when a wholly unsubstantiated rumour got repeated. I was once accused of saying that a certain female author only got attention because she was attractive. Said female author (being rightly offended) sent me a stern email telling me off. Since it was wholly untrue, I demanded to know where she'd first heard that lie. She refused to tell me. To this day I don't know who started the smear. The upshot is that the idiot who lied in the first place got clean away with defamation and I could nothing about it.

Authors aren't only their own worst enemy. Other authors are often willing to help out too.

Mark S.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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Old 12-18-2014   #14
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

Quote Originally Posted by mark_samuels View Post
If you are going to criticise then do it openly and under your own name. Not via a messageboard handle or, even worse, in secret.
I see that this quote was intended for the anecdote that followed. As an aside I want to add that while I certainly do not endorse cowardly acts of character assassination via anonymous username, I think it's fairly clear in the cases of these author meltdowns that having some kind of anonymity is a good idea. Too often when an individual becomes the target of an unstable public figure with a following (be they authors, actors, or musicians) they wind up not only bearing the wrath of the offended artist, but also having to deal with the lemming legions of their deranged followers. In these cases anonymity is often all that shields opinionated people from being hounded from their homes and jobs for having the audacity to claim someone produced sub-par material.

I ran across a Cracked article this morning that immediately brought this thread to mind. Keeping with the theme of being ones own worst enemy I present five examples of how NOT to promote your book:
http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-book-m...spectacularly/

Yikes!
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Old 01-03-2015   #15
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

I've been on a bit of a tear about the self-pubbed denizens swamping the market with subpar and 'free' offerings, so when this popped up in my FB feed I felt the need to share. Sort of like exorcising a demon, the only way I can get this stuff to stop bugging me is to drag it kicking and screaming into the light of day.

That's how demons are exorcised, right?
No?

Anyway, this popped up in my feed and has been haunting me since:



So a couple of quick observations:

1. FREE on Kindle? YOU DON'T SAY. WHAT A BARGAIN. Except it's not free. It's costing me time that could be better spent cleaning my navel of lint.

2. If I understand the first two sentences of this pitch correctly it goes something like this: Lindsey didn't think things could get worse. Stuff happened and Lindsey didn't think things could get worse.

Is it too much to ask self-styled writers to produce two consecutive sentences without repeating themselves? Is that really too rigorous of a demand to put on the shoulders of 'authors' who are promoting their work to the public?

I guess it strikes me as a mockery of the craft at some point. Not everyone can be a talented writer. I realize this and would not want to humiliate those who are trying but failing. Yet there comes a point where I'm convinced people AREN'T trying, and this is when I feel comfortable taking them to task.

If I were to walk down to an art gallery with an easel, take a seat, paint a few stick figures, and then solicit people for money, folks would find that incredibly crass. They'd suspect that in some way I was mocking the actual artists featured in the gallery. That's how I feel every time I run across one of these abysmal advertisements from another self-pubbed author offering me the 'FREE' opportunity to subject myself to the torture of their words as if they're doing me a favor.
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Old 01-03-2015   #16
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

Actually, I think the writer of those sentences did prospective readers a service. Anyone who bites that hook after reading the 'teaser' deserves whatever comes their way. And I'm sure, like poor Lindsey's fate, it will get worse...page by agonizing page.
Yes, I'm a cruel man.
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Old 01-04-2015   #17
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

How to make a Virtue out of a Failing:

Bloody in the Boudoir is sech a powerful werk the arther has freed hinself from the shakels of grammer, syntax and correct spelling. It is a rahw look at reality and is too rahw to be held back by convention."Words no longer come between the reader and the emotion on my page," says James Tittlewhittle.
Rahw Poets have done it for decades. Now an evolutionary step in Literasure!
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Old 01-07-2015   #18
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy



Another gem discovered as I scroll through my daily feed.

THE PARK - EPIC AWARD NOMINEE - BEST HORROR NOVEL OF THE YEAR!

I can't help but notice the author is able to describe the size of the park as 'huge', 'vast', and 'massive'. So finding synonyms seems to be within their arsenal of literary weapons. Yet we have a handful of words and phrases repeated so many times in four sentences, that were it a drinking game, all participants would be unable to walk a straight line by the time we reached the end of the Book description.

On the plus side for the author, hey, it was almost an award winner!
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Old 01-07-2015   #19
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

Quote Originally Posted by Fenris Technique View Post


Another gem discovered as I scroll through my daily feed.

THE PARK - EPIC AWARD NOMINEE - BEST HORROR NOVEL OF THE YEAR!

I can't help but notice the author is able to describe the size of the park as 'huge', 'vast', and 'massive'. So finding synonyms seems to be within their arsenal of literary weapons. Yet we have a handful of words and phrases repeated so many times in four sentences, that were it a drinking game, all participants would be unable to walk a straight line by the time we reached the end of the Book description.

On the plus side for the author, hey, it was almost an award winner!
I think if you replace "park" with "room" you'd have a real winner.
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Old 01-09-2015   #20
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Re: Authors, Their Own Worst Enemy

It's hard to think up different words. Much easier to use the same ones over and over.

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