Recently a fellow author/blogger spotlighted this article on Facebook and everyone weighed in and vented their outrage. If you don’t know her, her work is well-known (I hope you all know I admit this begrudgingly). I won’t list any of her titles here because, at this point, I don’t want anyone to buy her frickin’ books. I don’t have much power, but I can do that much. Also, a good friend of mine just moved to Kentucky, where Sue Grafton is from. Venessa Richardson, if you’re reading this, please find this woman in your spare time and throw shoes at her. Thank you.
If you don’t feel like clicking on the hyperlink above and reading the whole article because doing so would feel wrong and dirty, here are the high points. Well, actually, I guess they’re low points.
- In response to the interviewer asking if she had any advice for young writers she had this to say: “Quit worrying about publication and master your craft. If you have a good story to tell and if you write it well, the Universe will come to your aid. Don’t self-publish. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work.” First of all, I’m sure the Universe manages to miss more than a few well-told stories. Agents and publishers don’t always get it right, either. That’s life. But now there’s another option and this woman has the nerve to call those who take advantage of it LAZY? Nevermind that Indie authors have to find their own cover artists and editors and do their own marketing, all while trying their best to keep putting out fresh content. But, yes, we’re lazy for that. Right on, Sue.
- The interviewer then questions her advice and mentions that a ”growing percentage of each best-seller list [is] being filled out by “indie” writers.” Grafton notes that Indie success stories are the exception, not the rule. Guess what? The same goes for traditionally published authors, lady! Not everyone with a publishing contract becomes the next Ann Rule. Or the next Sue Grafton. (Again, I’m begrudgingly admitting her success.)
- In the same response, she goes on to say that Indie novels are often “amateurish,” and that “wannabes” shouldn’t be able to publish a novel without “bothering to read, study, or do the research.” Excuse me, I’m sorry, she must not have Twitter. And if she does, she must not follow any agents. Agents constantly tweet about the dumb mistakes they find in the entries they receive, just as they praise the entries that show promise. Some people read, study, and do research. Some don’t. The Indie authors that don’t will get weeded out by poor reviews and lack of readership. But don’t lump us all in the “lazy, uneducated, wannabe” category. (I was going to call her a nasty expletive here, but I remembered that some people think I’m classy. Let’s keep it that way.)
- “I compare self-publishing to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he’s ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall.” This is most unfounded piece of hyperbole I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I refuse to dignify this comment with any further comments.
- I believe the interviewer is on the side of Indie authors. This is evidenced in his responses, such as the one quoted above, and this one: “I believe many indie authors resent the stereotype that they haven’t spent years honing their craft. Thank goodness sales numbers & reviews are so easily accessible now. Bad books have a way of weeding themselves out of the marketplace.” Thank you Leslea Tash.
- The interview switches gears a little and good ‘ole Sue provides this gem of a quote: “I couldn’t write in a public setting. To me that always looks like a form of exhibitionism. (Sorry ‘bout that for those of you who love to toil away in coffee shops…)” She elaborates somewhat to include that she can’t write in strange surroundings. Fine. I can’t pee in strange surroundings. But do I think that those who can pee in public bathrooms are exhibitionists? Do I they’re they all “Look at me! I’m peeing!” No. Because that’s ridiculous. Much like Sue Grafton’s other opinions.