Sunday, November 27, 2011

It’s Sunday, So Let’s Pick On Direct Publishing


Does anyone remember the Cassie Edwards dipshit-athon of not-really-long-ago? You know… that best selling racist idiot who has been objectifying indigenous people for an entire career, but was never called an asshat until everyone discovered she hadn’t just been writing godawful books… she’d been stealing her material.

I can’t make anything that stupid up. For those who missed it… well, I hope you were in a coma, because there really is no excuse. But here you go:

The SBTB Run-Down


What has this got to do with Direct Publishing? Well, since it’s Sunday somebody must be bitching about bad covers, inept editing, and poor quality in books. My issue is that everyone seems to pretend none of these existed before amazon and smashwords caught fire. This is bullshit. My other issue is that everyone seems to pretend that mistakes were rare in NY, and still are. This is also bullshit. And since it’s Sunday, everyone should mark their calendars, because at some point this week Oprah will be announcing another asshat plagiarized something she pimped. Probably by Wednesday or thereabouts.

Let’s just knock that shit off, shall we? I’ve been a 3 to 5 novel a week reader my entire reading life... or, at least since I began with novels in 3rd grade. Until about five years ago that was 100% paperback… and until two years ago it was entirely New York and the bigger online epubs (Samhain, almost entirely, unless I was buying a friend’s book). So I know what I’m talking about. I read a lot. I kept the big guys in postage stamps and paperclips.

I have not read a New York- big-name published book without finding an error… rarely only one. Covers have been the subject of ridicule for ages, and that was LONG before ANYONE was attempting to create his or her own.

This sudden snark directed at independently-or-direct-published authors is fine… but if we are pretending it is exclusive, we are spouting poop. Please—say no to verbal poop. It spreads germs.

While it may very well be true that a larger number of bad authors are putting out poorly written material via the smashwords grinder or amazon's KDP, they also fall to the bottom of the swamp nearly immediately. And they have the excuse of being people who deserve to be at that mushy marsh place. But the NY Times best sellers list is just as crammed with crap. Yes, it is. James Frey. So shut up. And Cassie... let's not forget Cassie!

Because guess what? That nasty old bag published 100 titles, and ripped off everything from a ferret researcher to The Song of Hiawatha to do it. (No, really, 100 books… and she had no repercussions other than a hissy fit and the pointing and laughing that ensued. Check the title list on Wikipedia: HERE.. Most of them have SAVAGE or something equally racist in the title.)

My point? These books sold millions. They were not just bad—they were racist, incredibly exploitive, and BAD in the baddest possible way bad can be freaking BAD. The covers were bad, the stories were bad, the prose was bad, and the stolen bits were massive slabs of bad info-dumpy badness.

She was published by several New York biggies—ALL New York biggies, in fact, and not a single editor caught her theft. Not a single publisher said “this crap is incredibly offensive.” Nobody twitched for many, many years.

She is not the first romance author or popular Oprah-pimped asshole to be caught. Nobody walks into Barnes and Noble and says “wow… AVON? Not sure about that. Weren’t they the jackasses who put an anorexic model on the Eloisa James book with the plus-sized heroine readers had been waiting to read for ages? Oh, and Signet? Didn’t they publish Cassie Edwards, who ripped off the entire universe and got away with it?”

Nobody says “I don’t know if I can trust New York publishers, what with James Frey and Kaavya Viswanathan and Q. R. Markham and Janet Dailey… and, and, and…” But they should.

I have no problem with ANY author being held to standards, as long as ALL authors are held to the same standards.

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