Author Fail

A couple of months ago I (and, no doubt, many others) were witness to a…well I can’t call it a brouhaha, but it was definitely a case of Author Behaving Badly.  I’m not going to name any names (which is why I didn’t talk about it at the time), but it really brought something into focus for me.  This particular author gives a great deal of herself.  She offers many workshops for would be writers.  The general request made for each of those workshops is that if we’re financially able, we purchase one of the books of the person presenting as a means of saying “Thank you”.  That seems perfectly reasonable to me.  If someone takes the time to share that kind of information with me, if theirs is the kind of book I’m likely to read, I’ll pick it up.

Now I have to admit that I haven’t paid a whit of attention to most of these workshops for the better part of a year.  They’d show up in my inbox, I’d skim and determine that it was a repeat or not something of particular use to me.  Delete.  Off my radar.

Then the Bitten By Books nominations and voting rolled around.  It’s something that was widely mentioned in blogdom and on Twitter and elsewhere, and everybody was asking everybody else to vote for them or for their favorite authors.  So this Nameless Author sends out a request on the workshop loop for folks to go vote.  I popped over at each round and I voted for the authors on the list that I had read and loved.  Nameless Author was not one of the ones I voted for, as I have never read her work.

That should have been the end of it.

But no.  Some span of time after said request was made, Nameless Author sent out another email lambasting the 1,000+ members for being apathetic and not going out and voting for her.  After all she’s done for us, all the work she’s put in…  You can imagine where the rest of this went.

My immediate response was to leave the group.  As, I expect, did many others.

This author’s behavior is just…well, there’s no other good word for it besides tacky.  From a karmic standpoint, she’s just screwed herself.  You can’t go around doing nice things for other people because you expect things in return.  That’s not how karma or life works.  You do nice things for the sake of being nice, not to make sure people owe you.  And while I get the fact that she might have hoped more people in this group would have voted for her, I suspect many of them were in the same boat as I was.  There were other authors they read whom they liked more (or simply other authors they had read, when they had not read Nameless Author’s books).  So they were not necessarily apathetic, they just didn’t necessarily vote for her.

Personally, I think she crossed a line.  Asking people to go out and vote is not outside the realm of reasonable.  Even asking people to spread the word is not a bad thing.  Book lovers tend to be a generous lot.  You find someone who really loves her books, and they’ll happily tout them to others.  Word of mouth is a precious commodity when it comes to the book world.   But lambasting a group because they chose not to vote for her, despite “all the things” she’d done for the group is just ridiculous.

Prime case of Author Fail.

8 thoughts on “Author Fail

  1. Was there, I don’t know, a billion-dollar prize at stake? Seems kind of an excessive response for not getting “I got the most votes!” bragging rights.

    Then again, you know what a fan I am of self-promo in general. I probably would have left the group at “go vote for me.”

  2. Wow. I have no idea who the Nameless Author is, but I can’t help feeling sorry for her. How insecure must she be, to have responded like that?

    She is making everyone else responsible for her sense of self-worth – and she’s so committed to it! After all, she had to to a) sit at the computer, b) take time out from writing to draft the lambasting email, c) attach the email list and d) press send.

    You would think that somewhere in the process, rational thought would take over. Clearly, that irrational need for approval was bigger than rational thought and an ability to predict consequence. And that’s incredibly sad.

    Poor, silly thing 🙁

  3. Well, yeah, you know that I quit it because that morning I was something like this:
    Pot: Um, did you read Nameless Author’s thingy this morning?
    Kettle: No, I haven’t been reading those.
    Pot: Me neither. But I often skim the first few lines just to see…and I did find that one post that I thought was worth reading. But anyway, you should go check out today’s.
    Kettle: Oh. wow.
    Pot: I just quit it.
    Kettle: Yeah, me too. Damn.

    This OSSLT (or some shit like that) reenactment brought to you by Pot.

    I have to admit that I kind of wanted to stay to see if drama ensued, but must have been feeling too high-road that day. Dammit. But mostly the feeling I had about the whole thing was “how unfortunate”.

    If you’re any kind of decent person, you’ve been there. Because it’s the nature of nice humans to put themselves out for others, and it’s the nature of others to be too wrapped up in their own stuff to express gratitude. Some people learn that if you’re putting so much into something that you want payment for it, then you need to pull back. Some people don’t and eventually have that kind of a meltdown.

    _Hopefully_ they go have it with a girlfriend. And _hopefully_ that girlfriend has the sense to be sympathetic, agree that people suck, and to NOT encourage public spectacle.

    I guess the moral of the story is: get a good girlfriend and use that resource wisely.

    Because the moral about “Save and wait 24 hours” is not sinking in.

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