Publishing Scandals

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Publishing Scandals

Post  RiverThames on Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:59 pm

So, Penguin Books recently opened up Book Country, a peer-review site for genre writers that ALSO has some self-publishing options. This has caused some tizzy in the self-publishing community, who feel that THIS one is a scam and horrible. I wrote a little about it here. Writer Beware also logged in their amusement to the fury.
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Genevieve on Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:40 pm

Acclaimed novel may be a memoir, which in itself isn't uncommon but the fact that the author was dismissed for having an affair with a student (LIKE IN THE BOOK) and the "girl" in question doesn't think so kindly of him.
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  particle_person on Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:58 pm

Whoa. Also, I can't believe the NYTimes passed up this story.

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Unlucky Bear on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:16 am

Oh, that is so gross. I can't imagine being betrayed by your teacher like that. I feel so bad for "Marie."
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Genevieve on Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:20 am

Setting aside the whole "do not sleep with your students" rule, this guy totally broke the Dan Savage "campsite" rule of dating a younger person. In a relationship where there is an obvious power imbalance, Savage always says that in the position of power/age/whatever, it is your responsibility to leave said person in a better place than you found them. This writer apparently littered the hell out of the metaphorical campsite and then had the arrogance to make some money off of it.

I am really curious (if he indeed do this, as it looks like) did he think that no one would come forward and go, "um...yeah about that?"
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  caerbannog on Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:44 am

OH ICK. That poor girl. The fact that he wrote some of the narration from her POV is particularly disturbing. I hope the scandal sours any future book deals for him.

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Paris, Texas on Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:34 am

This has the be so common. Using the details about someone else's life in a narrative that benefits the author and effectively disenfranchises the subject is the stuff art is made of. Many smart, awkward young girls are susceptible to the attention of experienced older men and get burnt. So to have him write an acclaimed novel positing himself as the object of her gaze must be sickening in light of the fact that her final line in the novel is "I still dream about him".

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  naughty zoot on Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:17 am

Isn't that basically half the plot of Music and Lyrics?
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  The Glen on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:18 pm

naughty zoot wrote:Isn't that basically half the plot of Music and Lyrics?

That was the first thing I thought when I read the story.

The author sounds as if he's one of those people for whom academia is just a way for them to get their "narcissistic supply".

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Genevieve on Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:38 pm

It is also very interesting that commenters are popping up all over the place, (jezebel and a few other websites) who recall having him as a teacher and what went on (it seems that as he left a month before the end of the term, he also managed to mess up everyone's grades in the process) and the general chaos he created. There were also people who went to school with this guy who have some telling things to say about his character.

One talented sociopath.
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Cynara on Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:57 am

And the reason the NYT Times didn't care, I would guess, is that the whole "is it true/is it fiction" concept is soooo trendy now--like, in my grad class we're doing a whole unit on "creative nonfiction." That blurred line is totally A Thing in writing/publishing/academia right now, sort of this "Well, True Intellectuals don't have to concern themselves with 'truth" and 'fiction' distinctions, that is for Oprah readers" attitude. Apparently it now extends to "True Intellectuals don't have to care that a 17-year-old girl's very real pain is now a source of literary acclaim for a pathological cockface." I mean, seriously, "I still dream about him"?!?! How is that not SCREAMINGLY OBVIOUSLY the work of a complete narcissist?

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  particle_person on Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:17 am

I took a class on creative non-fiction writing once (it would have been around 2001). At that time, it didn't mean stealing from life, it meant writing about non-fiction topics in a creative way. For example, we read Lewis Thomas's essay on earthworms, Stephen J. Gould on baseball statistics and whether certain pitchers consistently did better than probability could predict (he thought so, I disagreed), Jessica Mitford on the horrific methods used by embalmers on bodies all for the purpose of charging people more. The facts were all true, but the presentation and approach were creative. The closest we got to blurring the lines was the very last section on "postmodernism" in which we read some bizarre story that was clearly fiction and ADKJSFJEWKKJlsakjfsdfgkljzxmvxkv. As all postmodern things go.

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  PrincessCleo on Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:40 pm

What in God's name is in the water over at GoodReads?
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  QueenSix on Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:35 pm

Oooh, now that's an interesting read. I had missed the kerfuffle about the Tempest pre-review thingie. I do see on the second link that Celine Kiernan (writer of The Moorehawke Trilogy) pops up as a reasonable commentator. After Leigh Fallon going a bit bonkers, it's nice to see an Irish YA author who's a bit more level-headed.

But bloody hell, they're all going crackers over there!

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Miss Moneypenny on Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:20 pm

PrincessCleo wrote:What in God's name is in the water over at GoodReads?

I feel the same way about a lot of authors that I feel about most celebrities online: I want to grab their shoulders and yell, "YOU. NEED. TO. NOT TALK."
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  big chicken on Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:55 pm

2012 seems to be the years of authors behaving badly on GoodReads. I think this is like the third skirmish I've heard orginating from that site.

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Genevieve on Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:49 pm

I really had no idea that good reads was some kind of drama llama factory farm. It is certainly something else.
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  PrincessCleo on Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:29 pm

big chicken wrote:2012 seems to be the years of authors behaving badly on GoodReads. I think this is like the third skirmish I've heard orginating from that site.

Well, that link itself describes three or four separate ones. And I swear I read an entirely different author hissy fit they didn't even include. There was a rash of this business last year with the "YA Mafia" thing, but omg, all of these seemingly unrelated in a single week. I don't even know.
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  particle_person on Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:49 pm

Genevieve wrote:I really had no idea that good reads was some kind of drama llama factory farm. It is certainly something else.
It's like LJ in the Harry Potter years, but with ALL THE BOOKS. So many more opportunities for mayhem. In math, they call it a "combinatoric explosion," which I suppose fits with the idea of wanking pretty well.

It's kind of the reverse of HP though, in the sense that the authors are bringing most of the drama. I'm used to seeing it from fandom.

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  PrincessCleo on Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:14 pm

I'm used to seeing it from fandom.
There have been a lot of blog posts musing on what the hell is going on here, but one (and I wish I could remember which one) was talking about how there seems to be this idea that your sales are tied to your reviews, and so it seems that these writers (all of them fairly new, it looks like, and getting published in a genre that is itself new and huge and maybe going through some growing pains) are convinced that they have to go ~DO SOMETHING!!!~ about these nasty reviewers who are totes going to ruin their careers.

Also, someone on Absolute Write pointed out that the Halpern blog entry reads exactly like a fanfic writer tantrum. A lot of YA and/or fantasy writers these days seem to be in their 20s or early 30s and probably cut their teeth on internet fandoms. I mean, Judy Blume's on Twitter, but I think she's been around so long that she knows better than to give a shit, and this kind of widespread Jets/Sharks rumbling seems more in the spirit of fandom.
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  QueenSix on Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:17 pm

particle_person wrote:It's kind of the reverse of HP though, in the sense that the authors are bringing most of the drama. I'm used to seeing it from fandom.

That's very true and it makes me wonder now if any of these writers were at some point involved in a fandom. Not even in a drama llama sense of OMGHARMONIANS4EVR, but perhaps some TV show or something that they'd discuss online with others and because of that online upbringing so to speak (like Cleo said yesterday on Twitter, these authors are very much a part of the Internet Generation), this is their default reaction to dealing with situations like this.

That's not to say that any of us who have been involved in fandoms would react that way in similar circumstances, but this is just what these particular people think is appropriate.

Just a thought because that's a lot of author crazy to happen in a short space of time.

Edited to add: Cleo posted her thoughts as I was typing.


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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  Poubelle on Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:37 pm

PrincessCleo wrote:
....there seems to be this idea that your sales are tied to your reviews.

Wouldn't that be reviews in major publications, though, not random ones on the internet? (And wouldn't reviews someplace like Amazon have more weight than GoodReads? I think what's more important at both places is if the overall trend is to four- or five-star reviews, not if there's individual one-star reviews. Especially since it's the bestsellers that get popular enough to have a full range of rankings.)

Of course, I think the idea "good reviews=automatic good sales!" just sounds woefully naive. And it seems extra-naive if anyone truly involved in the internet/blog world hasn't learned this lesson.
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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  DarkSpork on Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:51 pm

If any of these people had actually been in online fandoms, you'd think they'd know better. Such behavior stinks of fannish newbies to me, but my own experiences with so-called pros behaving badly in the face of fandom negativity has mostly come from folks new to the whole concept. (And/or folks with control issues, but that's another post entirely.)

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  particle_person on Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:29 pm

PrincessCleo wrote:
I'm used to seeing it from fandom.
There have been a lot of blog posts musing on what the hell is going on here, but one (and I wish I could remember which one) was talking about how there seems to be this idea that your sales are tied to your reviews, and so it seems that these writers (all of them fairly new, it looks like, and getting published in a genre that is itself new and huge and maybe going through some growing pains) are convinced that they have to go ~DO SOMETHING!!!~ about these nasty reviewers who are totes going to ruin their careers.

The problem with that theory is that quite a few of the kerfuffles involve OTHER authors weighing in. Like, Flannery reviewed a book by Melina Marchetta but the wank was started by Danielle Weiller, not Marchetta. If the problem is that Weiller thought someone was going to ruin her career, wouldn't it be a review of one of her own books, not some other author's? Similarly, Kira reviewed Julie Cross's book, but the wank began with Dan Krokos, not Cross.

My theory is that something happened in authorspace, some internal discussion about how Goodreads reviewers are awful and vicious and nasty, and the participants in that discussion then went forth all riled up, and started fights.

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Re: Publishing Scandals

Post  PrincessCleo on Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:40 am

My theory is that something happened in authorspace, some internal discussion about how Goodreads reviewers are awful and vicious and nasty, and the participants in that discussion then went forth all riled up, and started fights.
Well, true, that could have been the case. At the same time, it's easy for friends to want to go off and fight battles for you, if you both believe that good reviews are necessary to your livelihood.

If any of these people had actually been in online fandoms, you'd think they'd know better. Such behavior stinks of fannish newbies to me, but my own experiences with so-called pros behaving badly in the face of fandom negativity has mostly come from folks new to the whole concept. (And/or folks with control issues, but that's another post entirely.)
Yeah--I even keep wondering why writers keep doing this after OTHER writers have already flamed out doing it, forget fandom experiences. At the same time, you see it all the time on Fandom Wank--people who've been around long enough to know better, but go off the rails anyway.
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