Tag Archives: Rants

Some numbers and a rant

Carolyn has a post up today (or yesterday, depending on where in the world you are) with a link to an article from the Wall Street Journal that made both our heads blow off. In essence, authors of literary fiction whine that nowadays they get a “pittance” in advances compared to the $50-100,000 (for debut authors!!!) they used to get in the good old days. $100,000 for a book with a print run of 10,000 copies. $100,000 for a book with a print run of 10,000 copies!!!!!

$100,000 <=> 10,000 copies.

$100,000 for a book that will never sell out is print run and will never EVER make a profit for the publisher.

So who’s making a profit for the publishers and enables them to publish literary fiction? The stupid authors of commercial fiction. Whose works are frowned upon by the literary establishment. Because it’s not, you know, proper literature.

Piracy Is Stealing

In case you didn’t know. If you translate a book of mine into, say, Spanish without authorisation and make the translation available for downloading on a torrent site or filesharing site, this also falls into the category of piracy. In case you didn’t know.

I am, frankly, sick of readers who call themselves “fans”, yet do not respect the rights of authors.

Shiloh Walker has written an excellent article on what piracy is costing authors and readers.

Cover Rant

2000: FANTASTIC cover:

2001: Nice cover:

2007: Bland cover:

That’s not what I call progress! The current cover (the bland one) makes the book look like a schoolbook, imo. Argh! Now I’ll have to buy it from abebooks….

Sandy says ARGH!

Started to read another Regency-set historical. After twenty pages or so I came to a scene in which the hero meets the heroine’s brother (= an earl) for the first time, and after something like 15 they decide not to stand on ceremony, drop the formal adress and use Christian names instead.

*head desk*

Musings on Historicals (Rant Alert!)

(Yes, it’s true: I’m reading historicals again. And not just historicals written by friends and favourite authors. He.)

I guess it’s no secret that I love Beauty and the Beast stories (after all, I’ve written one of these myself). And it’s no secret either that I enjoy stories in which the hero and heroine are adversaries at first, and not just of the “gosh, he’s such an old bore” variety, but of the “gargh! I hate his/her guts!” (yup, ‘ve written some of these myself as well). I also love a good “pursued/married for revenge” tale (hello, Mills&Boon Modern Romances / Harlequin Presents!). And I’ve got nothing against medievals either, even if the men are bit rougher and gruffer than in most of the Regency romances (Wheee!!! for Penelope Williamson’s Keeper of the Dream!).

BUT!

I have absolutely no patience whatsoever for a medieval hero

  • who is repeatedly cruel to the heroine for no reason but his surly disposition
  • who doesn’t consider any of her wishes, but orders her around just because he’s the lord of the castle and must be obeyed
  • who is feared by the women in his own frigging castle
  • who has sex with the heroine for several weeks or even months without ever taking care of her pleasure
  • who regards the heroine as a brood mare for about 2/3 of the novel

And after all of that I’m supposed to believe in a happily ever after for this couple?? *snort* I think not!

What I don’t want to read about in contemporaries

  1. Protagonists who meet each other for the very first time on page 1, rip the clothes off each other on page 2 and proceed to have wild bunny sex on page 3.
  2. Protagonists who meet each other for the very first time on page 1, rip the clothes off each other on page 2 and proceed to have wild bunny sex on page 3 — thereby skipping the “Hi, my name is Ralph, what’s yours?” stage completely. While this might constitue normal behaviour for people at college (or not), I expect romance characters to behave in a somewhat more mature fashion.
  3. Protagonists who meet each other for the very first time on page 1, rip the clothes off each other on page 2 and proceed to have wild bunny sex on page 3 — even though the heroine is a virgin.
  4. Heroes who’ve slept with half of the world’s female population before they meet the heroine. (Ugh.)
  5. (Ex-)virgin-heroines who’ve slept with hero on page 3, decided he was jerk, and then spent countless sleepless nights thinking about the jerk whose name they’ve never got to know because of all the hurried clothes-ripping on page 2 and the aforementioned wild bunny sex on page 3.

(Gargh! Why oh why did I buy this book???)

Things that make my hackles rise

After what happened earlier this year, I find it unbelievable that certain views are still being perpetuated by authors, namely that people who write a bad review about your book, either on review sites, blogs or on amazon, are mean and jealous, are would-be writers green with envy that your book got published and theirs didn’t, and want to attack you on a personal level. Oh and apparently their mommy has never told them that if you haven’t anything nice to say you should keep your mouth shut. In other words, the concept of free speech is highly overrated, so please let’s get rid of it.

Sheesh!

I’m the first to admit to yelling “you stupid cow!” at my ‘puter whenever I find a bad review of my book. But I neither try to get the review taken down, nor do I attempt to intimidate the person who posted it. Because if a reader doesn’t like a book, it’s her right to talk about it.

Do I think that “CheetahDemon” wanted to attack me personally when she gave CASTLE OF THE WOLF the one-star review on amazon? Do I think that she wanted to attack me when she wrote, “I don’t want to insult the writer or any of the readers who enjoyed this piece, but there just wasn’t enough going on to keep me entertained, and I had a hard time empathizing with any of the characters”? No. And why should I? I don’t know her; she doesn’t know me. How then could her review constitute a personal attack?

Do I think that Cheryl Sneed, who gave BEWITCHED a D on AAR, is a would-be writer hating my guts for getting published? No, absolutely not. She is simply a reviewer who didn’t like the book. Obviously, I don’t agree with the things she wrote about BEWITCHED, but that doesn’t change a thing about the fact that the novel didn’t work for her.

Readers and reviewers don’t owe the author anything. In most cases, readers and reviewers don’t even know the author and have never met her. They only have the book, a product which they might or might not like. I for one certainly don’t envision the author when I read a novel. I might feel some sort of sentimental attachment to an author whose books I particularly enjoyed, for example, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of Rosemary Sutcliff, Dorothy Dunnett, and Gillian Bradshaw. But as I’ve never met any of these three ladies, it’s not a personal attachment as such, it’s more a love of their author voice and their author persona.

When you become a professional writer aka when you sign that publishing contract, you should be aware that in that very moment your book becomes a product. A product which is produced, marketed, consumed and reviewed. You might have bled your heart’s blood all across the pages, yet that’s of no interest to anybody and that’s not how you should regard your book. Your book is not part of you, it’s not your child, you have to regard it as being separate from you. Reviews only criticize books, not you as a person. If you want to be an author, you have to learn to see the difference. If you can’t do that, well, then don’t sign the contract!

How to Write an Academic Paper

  1. Document your frigging sources! ALL of them!!! No matter whether you use direct or indirect quotations. (If you don’t document your sources, your teacher will be p.o. and you will fail the class.)
  2. Prove your statements by referring either to the primary text(s) or to secondary sources.
  3. It helps if you stick to the facts that are mentioned in the primary text: if the hero’s childhood is never mentioned anywhere in the text, analysing the hero’s childhood is … not such a good idea.
  4. Fictional characters are not real people.
  5. Making sweeping statements about the historical background of a literary text is usually not a very good idea either: because if you do, you have not only failed to stick to Rule #2, but in most cases you are also spectacularly wrong.
  6. Logic is a fine thing. Apply it freely and apply it often.
  7. All primary and secondary sources you use in your paper should be listed in the bibliography.
  8. The bibliography is supposed to consist of more than one secondary source.
  9. To get the form and formatting right, it helps to have a look at the style sheet. Really, it does. And style sheets generally don’t bite.
  10. In English, third-person singular present tense verbs in the indicative end with an s: he/she/it runs, weeps, cries, laughs, hits, etc. Just saying.

Yup. I’m back to correcting seminar papers. “Earnest is the life, funny is the art.” Indeed.