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Damn us, the d**k sucking readers.

Dear authors,

We, the readers, have much to blame in this cruel harsh world of book publishing. We are the scurge that make you weep. We are the damned of them all.

But we’re not taking this laying down anymore. No. We are saying a bitter and sour grapes goodbye because you AUTHORS haven’t done what we demand and expect from you.

How DARE you not agree to every one of our whims. Is it too much to ask that once you write and finish a book, you should release it it within two weeks dagnamit! Why should we wait an entire YEAR or more for your work. How dare you treat us with such disrespect that way. Don’t you know that we are the people that can make and break your career. In simple terms: You iz our bitches!

How dare you not consult us on every aspect of your career. We’ve worked so hard reading everyone of your fucking books, promoting it on our blogs, and all we get is a big fat nothing. You should be paying US to read your books because without us, you’d be NOTHING. NOTHING I TELL YOU.

So fuck you, you motherfucking fuckers.

 

Sincerely,

The Book Pushers

In case you didn’t catch on, please note that this is a joke response to an author’s meltdown in which she blames readers for her career not doing well.  You can read it here in all its glory: http://zoewhitten.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/the-long-slow-goodbye/

Lou: That blogpost of hers is ridiculous. Don’t go blaming other people because your career didn’t turn out the way it did. As far as I’m concerned, readers don’t have an obligation or a responsibility that they must rate, read and buy every book by a writer because we have to support every writer. No. It means that publishing is a very hard world to get into — especially if you do self publish. Here is a quote from her rant. There are many many rants included in the rant. It’s like a Matryoshka doll

“Does that offend you, that I just implied that you’re a lazy person? Have you decided RIGHT NOW you won’t read me because I called you lazy? Fuck you. There’s the door. BYE. You never once posted a rating. That’s two seconds of work, or 0.00001 percent of the effort I put into one book. In one year, I’ve written more than you ever will in all the forums and blogs combined. Compared to me, you are a lazy, unmotivated, sheltered sloth. And I am sick and fucking tired of begging you to move your finger (just one) and click a fucking star. BUT, I’ll bet you at least one of you motherfuckers WILL give me one star on this post, because I’ve finally lost my temper and called you out.

FUCK YOU, SLOTH, AND THERE’S THE DOOR.”

I’m quite offended that she would use a Sloth to insult readers. Sloths are cute and awesome. Leave the Sloth alone! – Lou

Has: A cynical part of me says this is way to drum up publicity especially in the wake of last week’s viral ‘Fuck Off’ meltdown of the author of the Greek Seaman, Jacqueline Howett,  who made headlines outside of the blogosphere. However I doubt she will garner any readers with this approach and insulting readers because we can’t handle dark books is beyond stupid.

This leads to another author who has commented on a similar issue about her own books being too dark for readers — although not as ‘vocal’ but disappointing all the same because she has written some great books. Fantasy author, Nnedi Okorafor, RT’ed (retweeted) a DNF review from Goodreads on twitter about her book, Who Fears Death. I think this is not a good approach for authors to respond in any way to a negative review, especially when she’s lamenting readers for refusing to pick the book up because of dark subjects. In Who Fears Death, which features gang rape and Female Genital Mutilation, Okorafor feels that these issues shouldn’t be a barrier. That is right because books should cover these tropes. However, blaming a reader because they are not comfortable about reading it is wrong.

Okorafor’s earlier tweets regarding her children’s book, Zahra The Windseeker, also raised the issues for labeling books. This book also had some dark themes and violence and Okorafor’s complains about readers wanting to warn about these issues as a bad thing. Some children though may not be able to cope with these themes, and understandably parents will want to screen books due to this.

Thanks to you know who for the screencaps. To see the images in full, please click on them. This is the author’s tweets.

Reading is a personal experience; a good writer draws you in with what the character is experiencing, and stating on twitter that readers are ‘timid’ because they may find it difficult and wanting to be ignorant as it’s a state of bliss is insulting them. You cannot force people to pick up a book with heavy and dark tropes. A lot of readers pick up a book to escape from real life and a lot of those readers are not ignorant and are aware of issues like Rape and FGM. It should feel uncomfortable reading a scene if it has a rape scene, but we shouldn’t blame readers if it’s too difficult for them. I know that I would like to be pre-warned if a book has content like this. It won’t stop me from buying the book with that trope, though, I would like to know if the issue is handled sensitively.

It is not up to the author to decide on how a reader should regard if a book is dark or not,  and whether that is a barrier. They chose to write in that direction, and some books with similar tropes may be more successful, while others may not be. So the argument that readers are timid is a crock of shit.  If readers at a site like Goodreads, or any blog, discuss that a book is too dark for them, then they have the right to that kind of discourse. Just like a fluffy light hearted book may be too light for some readers, darker toned books may have the same ‘too heavy’ effect. The same thing with fiction readers vs that of non-fiction.

I am really sad to see that Nnedi Orkorafor comes across as preachy in her tweets, but I can’t not help the fact she’s also bitter with the idea that her books haven’t reached a wider audience while other similar dark toned books have. I don’t feel like I want to pick up a book by an author who RT’s a DNF review because they have a gripe that their books are too serious and dark for ‘timid’ readers.

By Has

Has is a voracious reader and a geek at heart! She is a fan of most sub-genres of romance and fantasy, but especially loves fantasy and some sci fi. She's currently looking out for historical romances with unusual settings, and fantasy romance, in the vein of Anne Bishop and Elizabeth Vaughan who are on her list of favourite authors. She's also a fan of authors such as Tamora Pierce, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Ann Aguirre, Lisa Kleypas and Nalini Singh. She is always on the look out for new authors and loves the feeling of discovering a brand new author and books she loves.

15 replies on “Damn us, the d**k sucking readers.”

Since you have caved into our unreasonable demands, you shall be safe Ms Carolyn Jewel. Now go and write some books for us! *cracks whip*

@blodeuedd Obviously we were meant to have read her books 😛

One every other day. I was going to say that the comments Nnedi Okorafor tweeted weren’t so bad but I couldn’t see the second screen capture. I figured out how to see it now though. Hmm. I was interested in reading her book until this. Now it makes me think – ok I may go to the trouble of reading the book and writing a long review, but then I’ll run the risk of being called timid on her twitter if there’s something I found dark in it. Do I want that? Not really. I have to think about it. I really wanted to read her book before this.

The internet has no end-do people not realize this? I imagine it must be VERY hard to see someone in the same boat as you suddenly get a 2 mil contract while your trying to still get your book out to people. But shit happens. Hell, I started my store the same time as Mod Cloth. She now makes millions and I make, urrr, not millions. lol

I read what I like and know what I don’t. I step out of my comfort zone every once in a while but when you read 5-10 books a week and are inundated with 5-10 more “will you please read this?” requests a week like I do it’s hard to step out of it a lot. If I don’t read a certain author’s book it’s for 2 reasons-either I KNOW I won’t like it and my review will be skewed for that reason or I just plain don’t have the time. But like I have told others-it’s nothing personal against the author. I do the best I can because I know what it’s like to start out…but like I can’t make or blame buyers for not buying my items, authors can’t blame the readers for not reading.

I really think in Whitten’s case she’s being cynical about going into full meltdown and aiming to go viral and sell books that way.
But I agree an author will never appeal to everyone and I think Orkorfor really hurt her case by RT that DNF review and then blaming timid readers for not picking her books.

@janicu – Who Fears Death looked interesting to me too and although I know it has dark themes in it – I would like to be prewarned about such things before I pick up a book but it wont stop me from reading a book.
I just don’t see why she feels that this may be a hindrance some readers will never pick up a book like that anyway because its not for them but to label them timid is wrong. Its like I said in the post. Some people hate lighter toned books and prefer darker ones and other vice versa.

I just have to add: Did anyone other than me catch in Whitten’s post, at the very end she said. “If I still had a dick, this is the part where I would have told you to suck it.”

Does this mean she used to be a man??? O_O

That first rant is OMG long. I only read like 1/4 of it before my eyes started glazing over. But I will say this: I understand where she’s coming from. It’s HARD to work your ass off and see no return. How many of us have freaked out because we weren’t getting paid enough at our day jobs, or we weren’t getting enough recognition for the work we do. All of us, I’d bet.

Having said that, she’s just gone batshit crazy with that post. She constantly contradicts herself and in the end makes it sound like she’s only in it for the money and reviews. That’s pretty dumb, especially for someone claiming to be a genius.

The second. I understand about DNF reviews. They’re hard to take sometimes – and I say that as a reader who often DNFs books. There has been a lot of controversy about them over the years. If a reader didn’t finish a book, how do they know [insert whatever here]. The thing is, I disagree because I think it’s the author’s job to make me want to finish a book. If I don’t want to finish a book, they haven’t done their job.

Having said that, I’m not the type who stops reading because a book is too “dark” or “violent” or “graphic”. I love horror novels and cut my teeth on murder mysteries. There have been times when I’ve been disturbed while reading, but never enough to make me stop.

But I resent the implication that if a reader doesn’t care for gory or graphic or violent or WHATEVER that she’s timid, or weak, or not as good as the author.

@has – Yes, I think she’s assuming because one person called a book dark it’s going to scare off other readers, but it really depends on a reader and what they want to read. It’s counterproductive to get upset because someone had a certain reaction to the book and felt like posting their reaction online. You can’t control this.

I read The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor and loved it. I wanted to read Who Fears Death but, having my own issues with sexual violence, I decided to hold off until I was more ready. Now I’m not going to, and it’s not because I’m timid – it’s because I don’t like being insulted for not jumping headlong into traumatizing issues. There are many valid reasons to wait, not finish or not even start a work dealing with violent themes. It’s not the place of the author or anyone else to judge the reader’s reasons as valid or invalid.

This is upsetting for me because I love Ms. Okorafor’s work, but I don’t let people insult me, directly or indirectly.

@Holly I totally agree – its very tough to make it as an author and especially tough to make it as a self pubbed one. But I hate the resentful and blaming attitude that these authors have towards readers.

@Janicu
I totally agree! I actually don’t mind dark gritty stories – I am planning to read a historical that will feature a prostitute, body snatchers and the underbelly of Victorian life. Its def out of my comfort zone but its a good thing to get out of that now and then. But controlling people’s responses to books is not possible – the author may have an intention and an aim to create these responses but readers may interpret it differently.

@SylviaSybil – I think its always harder for an author that you love to react this way. She may not have intentionally wanted to piss off/upset readers and I can understand her frustration but this was dismissive and if she had no respect for readers with that tone with some of her tweets then she wont succeed in persuading readers to trying her books who may not be necessarily attracted to them.

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