Fisking the HuffPo because JK Rowling is nice and I’m not

So a Huffington Post writer wants JK Rowling to stop writing books, apparently like most people who don’t understand how math or economics work, they think that if somebody else made a dollar, they lost one. Or if somebody else got pie, then there is no pie for them. Apparently this stupidity isn’t limited to just whining about economics anymore.

Read this first. Read it and gawk at the lameness.

Somebody posted this to my Facebook page, wanting my honest opinion as a relatively successful author who is more into the nuts and bolts of business rather than mystical muses and other assorted writerly bullshit. I can’t take every request that comes along because I’m kind of busy writing stuff that gets me paid, but this one needs to get clubbed before any other aspiring writers buy into this line of defeatist thinking. Some ideas just deserve to be mocked.

The sorting hat said I sounded angry.
The sorting hat said I sounded angry.

As usual, the person being fisked is in italics. My comments are in bold.

If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It

When I told a friend the title of this piece she looked at me in horror and said, “You can’t say that, everyone will just put it down to sour grapes!”

After reading this, I just put it down to willful ignorance.  

And she does, of course, have a point. No struggling but relatively ambitious writer can possibly be anything other than envious. You’d be scarcely human otherwise.

Not really. I’m willing to bet that most of us who went from aspiring nobody to successful author aren’t human then. Back then when I looked at the writers at the top of the heap, I wasn’t jealous or angry at their selling more books, instead I tried to figure out why they were successful so that I could learn from them.

But this particular piece isn’t about that.

Oh, thank goodness. I was really looking forward to having a liberal lecture me on the value of envy and wanting to drag the more successful down to their level (of course, I don’t know if Lynn Shepherd is a prog, but she writes for HuffPo and is whining about somebody having more money than her, and wrote Occupy Rowling Street, so I’m going to go out on a limb and make an educated guess she leans that way).   

I didn’t much mind Rowling when she was Pottering about. I’ve never read a word (or seen a minute) so I can’t comment on whether the books were good, bad or indifferent. I did think it a shame that adults were reading them (rather than just reading them to their children, which is another thing altogether), mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.

Wait… So Lynn never read Rowling’s work, but she had already decided that Rowling wasn’t a *real* writer. Now where have we heard that before? (hint, all my regular readers just groaned at Lynn’s pretentious judgmental bullshit)

First off, who the hell are you to decide that somebody else is enjoying themselves wrong? Get off your high horse, lady. You’ve got your opinion, and apparently a hundred million people disagree with you and threw large piles of money at JK Rowling. To paraphrase Dr. Henry Jones Senior perhaps you goose stepping morons should spend more time writing books than judging them.

Second, despite the criticisms from the self-righteous literati, Rowling has a very solid skill set. She wrote books that appealed to one demographic which then spread from there because they appealed to eternal human notions like friendship, heroism, sacrifice, and courage. They aren’t dreary pretentious award winning twaddle, so shockingly enough, lots and lots of people liked them.

But, then again, any reading is better than no reading, right?

Not if the literati get their way. They won’t be happy as long as anybody reads “unapproved” books for fun, or genre fiction dies entirely.

Let’s put it this way, JK Rowling did more to get millions of young people to become readers than every English professor in the world. The only reason you have a market to sell to at all is because of writers like her.

But The Casual Vacancy changed all that.

It wasn’t just that the hype was drearily excessive, or that (by all accounts) the novel was no masterpiece and yet sold by the hundredweight, it was the way it crowded out everything else, however good, however worthwhile.

This is such bullshit, and I can explain why on a very, extremely personal level.

I do better in audiobook than I do in print. It is because I write in a very cinematic style that translates really well to narration. My Grimnoir Chronicles trilogy had been doing amazing. The first two books had won the Audie two years running. I’d done really well, but I’ve never reached #1. As a writer, we love big milestones like that. I really wanted that #1 spot, because hey, bragging rights.

Then when I was on book tour last year for Warbound, the 3rd Grimnoir novel, I found out that I’d reached the #2 bestseller spot, but I’d been beaten by some dude I’d never heard of. So when I got to that day’s signing I asked the clerk where I could find this “Robert Galbraith” person. “Oh! You mean the new JK Rowling!” and she took me to this GIGANTIC display of books. (my display of books disappeared into its shadow, and Barnes and Noble likes me!)

Well, that certainly explained my coming in second. JK Rowling’s pen name had gotten revealed right when both of our books came out. My reaction? GOOD FOR HER. Because I’m not a whiny little statist, I patted myself on the back for even coming close to beating the MVP with all the Superbowl rings and then got on with writing my next book. And then I spent the rest of the book tour having fun and telling fans in my best melodramatic Voldemort “Next time victory will be mine. CURSE YOU, HARRY POTTER! CURSE YOU!”   

But here’s the kicker. I didn’t start out at that level. Warbound was my 9th novel and came out after six long, hard years of self-promotion, effort, and continual improvement. A few years before I was ecstatic when I even got on any list at all. I geeked out last year when my latest came out and I got as high as the #3 fantasy author on all of Amazon, losing only to Martin and Gaiman, but it was a far happier and more memorable moment years before when my name actually showed up for the first time in mid-nineties of the top 100, simply for the realization that I can do this!

News flash aspiring authors, writing is a job, and it is a challenging one. It is like any other career field, and just like them there are some overnight success stories, but most people who get to the top have only done so after a long hard slog of continually getting better at what they do. Depending on your genre, it isn’t Steven King, or George Martin, or John Grisham, or Laurel Hamilton, or Stephanie Myers holding you back, IT IS YOU.

That book sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere. And I chose that analogy quite deliberately,

Then you chose your analogy quite deliberately in a manner that makes you sound like a total loser. What complete and utter defeatist garbage. If you are that thin skinned you will have an extremely difficult time.  

because I think that sort of monopoly can make it next to impossible for anything else to survive, let alone thrive.

That is simply a lie, just on the fact that there are a whole bunch of us thriving right now. Blaming JK Rowling for your lack of success if foolish. In fact, because Rowling did so much to bring new, younger readers into genre fiction you should THANK HER for giving you a bigger potential customer base.

I write NOTHING like JK Rowling, but many of my fans who are in their twenties now became readers because Harry Potter was their gateway drug. I have friends and acquaintances who write for the Harry Potter demographic, ranging in success from relative newbie to total badass, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of them bitch like this.  

There are plenty of authors who are thriving right now. I’m not making Tom Clancy lotto by any means, but I’m making a damn good living writing books. Only the top 1% of pro published authors make over 100k a year, but pretty much every one of us I know in that category has a few things in common, as in they write their asses off, they understand their target market, and they treat writing like it is a real proper professional job.

Publishing a book is hard enough at the best of times, especially in an industry already far too fixated with Big Names and Sure Things, but what can an ordinary author do, up against such a Golgomath?

You know, I really wanted to play in the NFL, but there were all of these Big Names and Sure Things who were better at things like running, tackling, throwing, catching, or just the game of football in general. If only all of the good athletes would have recused themselves, then us fat, slow, uncoordinated types would have a chance to play in the big time! (sure, nobody would ever watch football again, but that’s besides the point!)

And then there was the whole Cuckoo’s Calling saga. I know she used a pseudonym, and no doubt strenuous efforts were indeed made to conceal her identity, but there is no spell strong enough to keep that concealed for long. Her boy hero may be able to resort to an invisibility cloak, but in the real world, they just don’t exist.

Hey, if anybody should be bitching, it is me. If only they would have kept that secret for one more week, I could put #1 Best Seller on my resume and then rest on my laurels for the rest of my life. 🙂

With a secret as sensational as that, it was only a matter of time until the inevitable happened, and then, of course, this apparently well-written and well-received crime novel which seems to have sold no more than 1,500 copies under its own steam, suddenly went stratospheric.

Duh… Think about it. Robert Galbraith had yet to distinguish himself from the pack of 100,000 other writers just like him. JK Rowling was already an international brand name. She has literally tens of millions of faithful readers just waiting to throw money at her. So when Galbraith turns out to be Rowling, and those fans show up with cash in hand, the results shouldn’t be a shocker.

So maybe instead of getting mad at the superstar who tried to go incognito, specifically to protect your delicate feelings, what you should do is write some really good books and build up a super loyal fan base. That way when you write something they will all purchase it. Crazy, I know.

And as with The Casual Vacancy, so with this. The book dominated crime lists, and crime reviews in newspapers, and crime sections in bookshops, making it even more difficult than it already was for other books – just as well-written, and just as well-received – to get a look in.

Damn you capitalism! The system that allows us to actually get paid for telling imaginary stories is flawed! WHAAAAAA!

Cry me a river. I’ve had two major releases in a row where I got to go head to head against a new season of Game of Thrones on HBO, and one year it was new GoT AND a new season of True Blood. That’s loads of fun when you are a fantasy novelist and you look at the Nielsen Bookscan numbers, and your new book is the bestselling book you’ve ever had, but 18 of the top 20 spots are being taken up by various Game of Thrones and True Blood tie ins. That can be frustrating, and if I was a HuffPo contributor I’d probably go water my crying pillow (it smells of lilacs and shame) but as a devout capitalist I look at those stats and think to myself “man, I really need a TV show!”

Rowling has no need of either the shelf space or the column inches, but other writers desperately do.

What crap.  I bet you think she also doesn’t NEED a car that goes fast, a business that makes a profit, a soda over 16 ounces, or a gun that holds more than seven rounds. What is it with you people and the NEED to tell everybody else what they NEED.

First off, Rowling doesn’t decide how much shelf space she gets, bookstores do, and the reason she gets her own shelf and you don’t is because customers actually come in and want to purchase her books. Even if Rowling’s books were to be discontinued tomorrow, you still wouldn’t get her shelf space, because the stores would switch it to something else that actually sells.

And what about the internet? What about Amazon and eBooks? There isn’t even any shelf space there for Rowling to be kicking you out of, so what the hell is your excuse now? Electrons that touched her books won’t touch yours?

And now there’s going to be a sequel, and you can bet the same thing is going to happen all over again.

And I say good for Rowling and better for her hardcore fans.

So this is my plea to JK Rowling. Remember what it was like when The Cuckoo’s Calling had only sold a few boxes and think about those of us who are stuck there,

Oh, I’m sure she does. Once poor, never rich. If I recall correctly this woman went from living off of Ramen noodle to being a billionaire, and believe me, us folks that grew up dirt poor never forget.

because we can’t wave a wand and turn our books into overnight bestsellers merely by saying the magic word.

I hate to break this to you, Lynn, but her “overnight” bestsellers took a lot of time and books worth of growing a dedicated fan base. I’ve had oblivious people ask me about my “overnight” success, which is ironic since overnight sure felt a lot more like 2 years of trying to get published followed by 5 years of effort while still working my day job, to me.

By all means keep writing for kids, or for your personal pleasure – I would never deny anyone that – but when it comes to the adult market you’ve had your turn.

Oh fuck off.

That’s mighty white of you, Lynn, to ALLOW one of the most successful writers in all of recorded human history to keep writing on the side. You’d like totally never DENY somebody that, except after reading your petty screed we’re all pretty sure if you had the power to do so you would.

Enjoy your vast fortune and the good you’re doing with it, luxuriate in the love of your legions of fans, and good luck to you on both counts. But it’s time to give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe.

You want success, Lynn? THEN EARN IT.

If Rowling did what you wanted (which she won’t, because she doesn’t have to give a shit what some nobody from the HuffPo wants) it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to your career, because somebody else better than you would step into the void first. Your demand reads suspiciously like the South Park Underwear Gnomes plan for world domination.

  1.       Room to breathe.
  2.       ?
  3.       Profit!

Now it is time for a rant.

Okay, aspiring and new writers, nobody owes you shit. Deal with it. You are an entertainer. Nothing more. If you get really good at entertaining people they will pay you money for your work, so then you need to go find the people who will give you money for your work. If you want more fans, you better keep on improving. As the number of fans grows, you will make more money and sell more books. How you accomplish this is irrelevant, because no matter what, the burden of success is on you and you alone.

JK Rowling making a dollar does not take a dollar out of your pocket. That is loser talk. Quite the contrary, she has grown our market, and brought more readers into genre fiction, so she’s actually put dollars IN your pocket.  

Lynn here is bitching about somebody who is more successful than she is while wishing they’d step aside to make room for her, but there is some little self-published nobody out there right now crying because “if only I had a blog on the Huffington Post then I’d be successful too, so Lynn should step aside to make room for ME!” And for the self-published nobodies, that isn’t an insult, that is where I started too.

Apparently blogging on HuffPo, even though that puts your name in front of thousands of potential new readers, can’t save you (yeah, sorry self-published nobody, but we learned from last week’s Book Bomb of an author who’d been reviewed by the HuffPo that my blog sells more books than they do).

That’s not how business works, and I hate to break it to you artistic special snowflakes, writing is a business. You need to create your brand, expand your brand, and continually improve your brand.

Once in a great while somebody comes along and blows up huge and their first book makes a zillion dollars and gets a blockbuster movie franchise. Those writers are anomalies. Most of us who make a living at this just plug along, turning out another book or two a year, and after a few years we’ve got enough fans and work under contract to safely quit our day jobs, and then we just do the same thing, but more. We can throw a temper tantrum and demand they step aside, but the odds of you being the Next Big Thing are jack and shit, and jack just left town.

Your garage band can whine about Justin Bieber being a no talent hack and how it isn’t fair, but just because he goes away (hopefully soon because I have teenage daughters) doesn’t mean your little garage band is now going to be playing to sold out stadiums.

No matter where you are, there will always be somebody out there doing better than you, unless of course they are JK Rowling.


This weekend's Gaming for a Cause schedule
Tom Kratman has a new novella out

244 thoughts on “Fisking the HuffPo because JK Rowling is nice and I’m not”

  1. So by that logic Shakespeare should have stopped at Henry V, or Tolkien with “The Hobbit”.

    What an intellectually retarded worldview this writer has. Of course it’s Huff Po so it might be a requirement.

    1. Tolkien had zero success at first.

      His novels didn’t really take off until long after his copyright ran out, which made earning cash off then damnably difficult.

      Little Miss Socialist Entitlement had zero difficulties compared to Tolkien.

      1. Tolkien’s copyright is still active. If you’re referring to the whole Ace situation, yes, there was a brief period when the copyright had expired in the US, but then the laws were retroactively changed to extend it. In fact, Ace suffered such a backlash for it that they payed the Tolkien estate royalties. If you’re talking about the issue with the movies, that’s because California law allows for a number of complicated loopholes that make it so legally, no movie out of Hollywood actually makes any money so royalties are always 0. I had the details explained to me once, but it’s really complicated and I only partially understood it. Anyway, I think under current law, Tolkien’s copyrights expire in 2043, though that could change if the laws change.

  2. This is the inevitable conclusion of “self-esteem” and everyone-gets-a-trophy. You think that just because you shat out a book that no one wants to read that the world owes you recognition and praise and profits.

    1. Bam! Out of the park! George nails it in one.

      She just doesn’t get why she hasn’t won her trophy yet.

      Can you imagine what the world would be like if every fantastic artist stopped after their first success, to make room for less talented, less popular artists to have their own success?

      Leonardo Da Vinci? Shakespeare?

      This woman would argue that our world would b better off if the Mona Lisa had never been painted, because some other guy would have painted another picture that wouldn’t hav ebeen noticed otherwise.

      1. I want a trophy! I just dropped a liberal message-before-story manuscript into the downstairs latrine before this morning’s run! It was extra-messagey because of all the protein I had in last nights pork-n-bean casserole! Retirement from the Army here I come!

  3. Correia, thank you for the awesome analysis. You made my day when I read this, it’s a great laugh, so ridiculous that it existed in the first place, but glad someone could respond to it. Keep up the great work 🙂

  4. Lynn Shepherd is a published novelist who apparently deeply resents that others have better sales figures than she does.

  5. Bollocks. I’ve met you. You’re a very nice man. Bit of an opinionated prick from time to time but that’s hardly a bad thing. I’d still welcome you into my home any day of the week . Keep writing and do try to somehow console yourself with your six-figure paychecks, beautiful wife and a job that basically consists of getting paid to indulge your hobbies with intermittent bouts of having random strangers tell you how cool you are. It’ll be a struggle but you’re a survivor. You’ll manage somehow 😉

    1. Probably because the special effects budget would have to be HUGE for any of Larry’s stories.

      That said, I would love to see the Industrial Snowblower Zombie scene on the big screen.

      1. The Industrial Snow-blower Werewolf Zombie scene would not only be a special effects nightmare, it would also guarantee that the show would have to be on one of the premium channels. The WB would NEVER sign off on any single scene where hundreds of bodies are shredded and flung into the air by a large piece of mobile machinery. It would just be too intense. With that in mind, it would totally justify the money I’m shelling out for HBO.

      2. Snowblower Slushie machine:

        55 gallon drums of gelatin, plaster of paris bones and red dye. And an industrial sized truck mounted snow blower, the kind Larry’s ski resort neighbors use.

        Zombie horde scenes: live action
        Throw a college zombie themed party at UofU, buy the pizza, and offer $20 to play zombie horde extras in the snow. With lots of cameras Renting the cameras will probably be the most expensive part. I’d try to get the film/theatre majors to all bring cameras and offer cash for shots good enough to get into the picture.

        Snowblower scene:
        The gelatin bodies can be laid out in a big parking lot the night before a snowstorm (weather reports are accurate enough near Larry’s home to know when a heavy one is coming). The bodies were made a while ago and were kept in a garage barely above freezing, so they aren’t ice, and don’t rot.

        The clothing can be had for free. Larry’s neighbors, Deseret Industries, get lots of clothing donated they can’t use. They’ll give it away to save filling dumpsters, and college kids can be hired on the cheap to cut it into long strips, since intact clothing will probably jam any snow blower.

        Lay out the cut up rags, spatter them with red dye and leave them in the snow with the ‘bodies’.

        After the snowfall (or during, depending upon filming desires) run the snowblower full throttle through several passes of the parking lot. I refuse to believe that any snow removal worker would refuse the opportunity.

        Take the video and digitally merge with the zombie crowd shots.

        Dirt cheap, piece of cake.

      3. Re: mismatched footage:
        It’s a zombie apocalypse. Things are *supposed* to be chaotic. I refer you to the famous scenes from Serenity where Wash becomes a leaf, and the shaking drives you nuts.

        If it really looks bad, cut to cellphone video between cameras. You know half the people there are going to put it on YouTube anyway.

    2. Hey, @$$butt, don’t knock Supernatural! Some of us like that Impala and the action! Yeah, they’ve jumped the shark a few times, but then they have an episode where they make fun of themselves and it’s all good.
      Besides, the last season (that’s on Netflix) had an episode with a secret society that was fighting against Nazi sorcerers! NAZI SORCERERS! If they pull their heads out, that could be good for three or four seasons’ entertainment!
      Besides, maybe it’s another gateway drug.

      1. I liked “Supernatural” when Ben Edlund (of “The TIck” and “Jaynestown” fame) was contributing to stories. Now that he’s not – and Charter Cable seems to be getting a weak signal from the local WB affiliate – my interest has diminished. (Yes, I saw and enjoyed the Nazi necromancer episode “Everybody Hates Hitler”. Guess who wrote it?).

        Oh, he wrote 2 “Revolution” episodes? Time to dig into my Mythtv stash!

      2. @ Calvin Goron Dodge
        Yeah, if they were smart, they’d go with the whole Everybody Hates Hitler storyline for a season or two. The Tick was awesome, too! I work with a Latin dude, and we’re trying to convince him to come to work dressed as Batmanuel for Halloween sometime. I may have to look up Jaynestown and see if it’s worth a watch.

  6. She writes pretentious Sherlock-Holmes-wannabe fiction (a private detective in Dickensian England, wow, never seen that before!). Using Amazon’s handy “look inside” feature, I checked out one of her books that was linked in that article.

    She spends the first page and a half on the weather, and describing a city street, in a Royal-We-present-tense POV. I was skimming by the second sentence. Of course, I was predisposed to dislike her because of the article anyway, but her writing was completely underwhelming.

    Lynn has a lot of problems. JKR is not one of them. But apparently you can get a glowing review from Kirkus by writing stuff like that, while I’m barely published anywhere (but I can write a fun romp with a bear! So says Tangent :p), so what do I know.

    1. I bet Lynn’s detective character in Dickensian England (I haven’t read any of her books, which Lynn should appreciate) laments all the crimes that Sherlock Holmes solves, because it doesn’t leave any extra crimes for everybody else.

    2. I also looked up Ms. Shepherd on Amazon and read the free bit. She lost me when she said, “as much mud in the streets as in a Flanders field” which sounded awfully to me like a reference to the Great War poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McRae. If it was an accidental anachronism, she needs a better editor. If it wasn’t, she showed the ability to turn off a lot of her audience in the prologue as historical mystery fans tend to be history fans. Many, including me, can be sticklers about it.

      The other thing that was telling is that Ms. Shepherd’s book only garnered three stars in 110 customer reviews with 26 five star reviews. MHI, by comparison, has four and half stars in 351 reviews with 244 five star reviews.

      The last thing that was telling is Ms. Shepherd has had five fiction novels published. This is exactly five more than I, although in all fairness I must admit I’m not trying. By her own definition her mediocre three star wanna be Dickens detective novels are taking up space on shelves better suited to a more deserving author. Maybe she should quit while she’s ahead and can say she’s a “published author.”

      1. The book I looked at (“A Fatal Likeness”) has garnered several one-star reviews from people pointing out that you apparently do not need to read a single word of a work in order to form an opinion of it.

        I read several of the words in that book and formed an opinion, at least. She would do well to do the same.

      2. If you read some of the one-star reviews you’ll see a number of reviews saying something along the lines of I haven’t read the book but based on her Huffington Post article regarding J.K. Rowling I don’t have to in order to write a review… She’s getting her just desserts and it’s pretty comical to see.

  7. The only thing that I, as a writer, am owed is what a contract with a publisher specifies I’m owed. As I don’t have one of those, Larry’s right. No one owes me shit.

    And they don’t owe the righter of that piece a damn thing either. Nada.

    J.K. Rowling is hugely successful. This is a fact. However, her success hasn’t prevented other authors from becoming successful. Her success hasn’t prevented me from becoming successful. It’s the fact that my writing isn’t good enough yet that’s the reason I’m not successful. I do OK at non-fiction, but fiction is a different animal entirely.

    The thing is, I don’t think it’s sour grapes. I don’t. I think it’s pure stupidity that thinks that people will only buy one book and it has to be a big name, so those big names need to move on so there can be more big names. I guess Tom Clancy should have stopped writing years ago, and Stephen King should stop as well. So should George R.R. Martin (after he finishes the damn series, at least). John Grisham and Michael Crichton need to knock it off too.

    Of course, there were other big names in place when those guys were nobodies, and look at them now? I don’t necessarily care for all of their writing, but who cares? Other people do, and they’re rolling in money because of it. How many of them which J.K. Rowling would stop writing because she’s taking money away from them.

    Of course, I suspect that this writer looks down on genre writing in general. After all, good writing is literary…the fact that it makes a lot of us want to open a vein is irrelevant. The fact that there are enough of us to make Rowling a billionaire has got to piss her off.

    1. I suspect that Crichton will knock it off now as he has passed away….as has Vince Flynn…two other favorite authors.

      1. Please disregard my comment about Ian Fleming. I seemed to remember the Bond books still having his name as the author even after he died, but the ones that were published after his death were close enough that there’s little reason to doubt he wrote them before he died.

        As for me forgetting about Crichton? Well, yet another example of my crappy memory still stands 🙂

  8. The Bloggers Bio: “Lynn Shepherd is the award-winning author of a series of ‘literary mysteries’ set in 19th-century England. Her writing draws on the same passion for English literature which led her to study the subject at Oxford, and in 2009 she published an academic study on the ‘father of the novel’, Samuel Richardson. She also writes for companies on a wide variety of subjects, with a special focus on corporate responsibility.

    In the mid-1990s she created the ‘Water of Life’, a water-related environmental and humanitarian initiative for Diageo, her then employers, which is still going strong and has provided clean water for five million people in Africa in the last five years alone.”

    I think that explains it all.

    1. The “Mother of the Novel” was Murasaki Shikibu, centuries earlier, so she’s sexist and non-inclusive in her academic studies. She must be removed so more community-conscious columnists can write on there. There’s only so much bandwidth on their website so she’s crowding out people who need it more and she should stick to her novels, not try to be a reporter.

    2. This woman with a “passion for English literature” wrote a book based in Dickensian England–in which a word not invented until the 1960s (groupie) appears. Are her characters time-travelers or what?

  9. IN addition to reading JKR’s works, Mr. Corriea’s novels, all the book bomb recommendations – I have been reading Harry Potter fanfics for 10 years now – does this moron have even an inkling of how many authors polished their skills playing in the very fertile universe she left wide open to writers? I was a beta reader for at least 2 who are now successfully selling their original fiction. Thanks Larry for a very well written denunciation of the whole closed system fallacy.
    A dollar I spend for Monster Hunter Nemesis is not necessarily one I do not spend for Cuckoo Calling, it is far more likely to be one that I do not spend at Mcdonalds or Starbucks.

  10. So hard to pick a favorite line from this fisking. Will have to do Top 3.

    #3: “What is it with you people and the NEED to tell everybody else what they NEED.”

    #2: “That’s mighty white of you, Lynn, to ALLOW one of the most successful writers in all of recorded human history to keep writing on the side. You’d like totally never DENY somebody that, except after reading your petty screed we’re all pretty sure if you had the power to do so you would.”

    …and #1: “JK Rowling making a dollar does not take a dollar out of your pocket. That is loser talk. Quite the contrary, she has grown our market, and brought more readers into genre fiction, so she’s actually put dollars IN your pocket.”

    Abso-frickin-lutely. Before JK Rowling, the YA market was moribund. Every dollar I’ve earned writing YA I can thank JK Rowling for. Also, my wife and kids love Harry Potter, so “thank you” to her bringing them a lot of joy, too.

  11. AMEN! – “Okay, aspiring and new writers, nobody owes you shit. Deal with it. You are an entertainer. Nothing more. If you get really good at entertaining people they will pay you money for your work, so then you need to go find the people who will give you money for your work. If you want more fans, you better keep on improving. As the number of fans grows, you will make more money and sell more books. How you accomplish this is irrelevant, because no matter what, the burden of success is on you and you alone.”

    I’m new to this game and slogging away, but if it weren’t for successful writers to look up to I’d probably just quit and go be a janitor somewhere and talk to myself all night. It’s work. Treat it as such.

    Thanks for writing this. It’s good advice.

  12. I’m really glad you wrote this, because I saw the link to the original HuffPo article, but I didn’t want to give in to the click-bait.

    A million times YES to everything you said.

  13. Advice for the lady. Write three short SF stories, get admitted to the SFWA, and run for president of said august organization. You seem to be an appropriate successor to the current trend in that position.

  14. I’m one of the people who bought Warbound on audio the week it released. I remember it being at the #2 spot and I remember wondering who the heck that Galbraith guy was and I vaguely remember your reaction to noticing the same.

    It was something along the lines of “Awesome! #2 to JK Rowling aint too shabby!”

    Anyway, this post is a great attitude check. It’s far to easy to get pissed off at outside forces when you’re having trouble succeeding. It’s far better to learn from their success and apply it to your own work habits.

    Then again, maybe this Shepherd chick is just trolling the Potter Heads in hopes that it will get her attention and a few increased book sales from the whiny pants brigade who agree with her.

    1. Yep…its kinda like the guy who goes to the Olympics and wins the Silver. You’ve got two choices. You can cry and complain and moan that you didn’t get the Gold, or you can sit back, realize you just SILVERED IN THE MOTHER-LOVIN OLYMPICS, which by any standards ain’t half shabby. Rumor has it that Odin himself bronzed on the luge, lost an eye to some obscure Romanian dude, laughed himself silly and went back home to mead and valkyries in celebration of being the third-best on the effin’ planet (cuz nobody beats the Canadians at winter sports….its how they get to work 3/4 of the year!). Suck it up, go back and practice, learn, write stuff people WANT to read (not get shackled with in some useless college gender-studies course), and guess what….people shell out their hard-earned cash on stuff they WANT to read. And after that article, especially the “I haven’t read any of her stuff, but feel entitled to form an opinion based on studying entrails and huffing unicorn farts”, I wouldn’t put a penny I found on the street towards anything she’s written.

  15. Maybe Lynn Shepherd and Ms. “End-Binary-Gender-in-SF” are on the cutting edge of self-promotion. Namely, post something so incredibly stupid that everyone and their brother comes to read it, in the hope that a few are so morbidly curious that they buy your latest book just to find out how much a trainwreck THAT must be.

    1. That would be piss poor planning on their part. Their articles have put them on my “Purchase only if the world has run out of toilet paper and the only leaves in the woods are poison ivy” list.

      1. just saying that just because you might have to use poison ivy in lieu of paper is no reason to by this persons books…a little rectal rash would be a small price to pay….

      2. Which would have been great in 2020 when people were panicking over COVID lockdowns and supply shortages, but probably not now.

  16. Wow, just wow. Can’t say it any better than Larry did, so I will just add that Lynn Sheperd is one of the most pathetic excuses for a ‘writer’ that I’ve ever seen. Epic whining.

    1. Thank god they’re morons. Stalin, Mao, H*****, Idi Amin, Pohl Pot, and Saddam Hussein all had brains, and look what they caused.

      If BHO could get out of bed for anything besides a fundraiser or golfing, we’d really be in trouble.

  17. The link to the huffington post article may be compromised. When I clicked on that link I got a message stating that my version of google chrome was out of date. Idiotically I clicked the option to update. Now my PC is chock full of malware and a nasty little trojan. So beware!

    1. Same thing happened to me but for Firefox. I just closed it because it seems every time I update Firefox it ceases to work.

    2. Your PC is infected, ray.

      The chrome update link you clicked on was malware. Lots of legitimate sites end up becoming malware sources because web ads are not well policed.

      Get an ad blocker as well as better anti-virus ware.

      ( When advertisers stop allowing hackers to abuse ads, I’ll consider actually looking at ads. )

      1. Oh, and NEVER let a browser update via a browser dialog.

        If a dialog claims you are out of date, close it, and get the latest version directly from the company in question.

  18. Rowling was rejected by a dozen publishers until she found one that used the brilliant strategy of giving the manuscript to an actual child (me, if I were publishing children’s books I’d be giving everything to real children…lots of them — but what do I know?).

    I suspect that many of the people who rejected her are the same types who give “awards” to people like Shepherd.

  19. This piece reminds me of a conversation I had about a week ago on the bus. You see, I work hard but I have a major child-support obligation. I work two jobs and can’t manage to afford a car, but hey, that’s life.

    So, as I was riding to work at the beginning of a fourteen hour day, the girls in the seat in front of mine started freaking out. Apparently, they were both on Welfare and afraid that it might get cut. I inquired (im)politely as to whether either of them had considered perhaps – I don’t know- maybe… getting a job? One looked shocked. The other asked me if _I_ had considered getting one. When I pointed out that I had not one, but TWO jobs, the other girl told me _I_ was the problem. Why? Because I was “Hogging up all of the jobs.” I pointed out to her that BOTH of my jobs were hiring and….

    We hit my stop and I had to get off of the bus. That’s ok though. That conversation was going nowhere. Entitled special snowflkes are incapable of understanding the whole “hard work” ethos. It’s always someone elses fault.

    1. The concept of actual work escape the dependant class. Don’t worry, they voted for the right people who will continue the gravy train.

      1. To be fair to the crabs, they aren’t trying to pull the other crabs down. The crabs are pulling themselves up, it’s just that the higher crabs can’t support the weight of the chain of crabs behind them.

        Something neither the crabs, nor welfare recipients consider.

  20. Dear Lynn,

    Allow me to shorten Larry’s rant for your benefit: If you want to be a successful writer, say something interesting.

  21. Why are the people who complain loudest also the people who have no right to complain at all? Ugh.

    I am so happy you wrote this post, Larry. I hope every fan of JKR reads it. I hope the author herself reads it. I’m tired of people throwing stones at some of my favorite authors, just because they’re successful. And it’s not just JKR, it’s everyone who achieves a modicum of success. I see it at writer’s conferences occasionally. Everyone roots for the guy who is just getting his start. Then, next year, after he has sold a bestselling novel, they’re all tired of hearing about his success and whine about how they wish he would go away. It sickens me.

    I’m glad you’re in the top 1% of writers, money-wise. I hope you make it to the top .00001%. Have your cake. Eat it, too. I’ll bake my own.

    1. Unfortunately, she will no doubt dismiss it as the rantings of empty-headed (her likely opinion, not mine) rabid Rowling groupies. Someone who actually posts something like that is likely too caught up in their own little world to actually allow for constructive criticism.

  22. You know, what she missed out on completely is that if it weren’t for mega successes like Rowling or King or Clancy, et al., publishing would have gone the way of the dodo (paraphrasing Walter Donovan 😉 ) by now. They certainly wouldn’t have the cash to publish minor writers like Lynn whatsername…

    I’ve never read your books, but I wish you success and I’ll take a look for you when I’m next at somewhere I can get a book. 🙂 Thanks for the perspective.

  23. Thanks Larry for saying what is on rational peoples minds when confronted with Randish liberals that want every child to win an award (so no one’s feelings get hurt). Reading response rants to liberal blog-vomit makes me feel better (much like chopping firewood after a difficult day works out those stress issues).

    1. Hey, look everybody. A weird mentally imbalanced stalker troll followed me home from Facebook! Yay! If you are wondering about that strangely out of context question, we had a long discussion about how he is totally illiterate on the topic of business finance before he got boring and I blocked him. Here it is for your amusement:!/larry.correia/posts/765626926781572?comment_id=112032155&notif_t=like

      First off, Hipster Douchebeard, that question is impossible to answer, because collecting interest on debt isn’t a binary, on or off, mutually exclusive thing. I’m going to put my retired accountant hat on for a moment. There will be times in anyone’s life where it will be advantageous to take on debt and pay interest, like purchasing a home, or making a neccesary business expansion. There will be other times where you have sufficient assets and taking on unneccesary debt is foolish. The only time intelligence comes into play is that you are doing the right thing at the right time.

      So, your question is really a non-question (for those just joining us, Kevin hates capitalism and he has taken issue with my being a heartless capitalist). You should take on debt only when it is neccesary or wise to do so, and the rest of the time you avoid it. Sometimes taking on debt is stupid, like credit cards. Othertimes you make a bad business call. That’s what we call paying the stupid tax.

      Since I’m not a statist libprog moron who thinks Americans have a caste system or that this is some zero sum game, I know that everyone’s personal finances will change over time. As your finances improve, then you will be able to take your wealth and invest it. Depending on how much risk you are will to take on, now you will collect interest. Many of us are collecting interest on some things, while paying it on others. If you are smart, you pay down your debt as quick as possible, so that you can use your money to work for you, rather than for somebody else.

      (on that note, I’m guessing Hippy McDoucheprog isn’t a big fan of Dave Ramsey)

      So to answer your loaded, dumbass question, pretty much. Now buzz off, twatwaffle, because you’ve already bored the shit out of me.

      1. And seriously, go read the FB post and enjoy yourself. He’s as oblivious as Clamps/Yama the sex offender, only with Financial Tourette’s Syndrome instead of literati twaddle.

        1. Banned on Facebook. Not here yet, waiting to see how boring and incomprehensibly dumb he continues to be first. 🙂

      2. Other than the no credit card thing (I understand where Ramsey is coming from, credit card allows for certain spending habit that’s cannot be done via debit card. However, I cannot live without the security offered by credit card), I’ve mostly been following his rules, before I even know of him.

      3. It’s long been a liberal trolling tactic to play really dumb and ask really stupid questions who’s answers are self-evident, and ultimately mostly irrelevent except by keyword association with the topic at hand in an effort to confuse the gullible in a stunning display of logorrhea. But at some point, you just have to tell the idiot to shut up and quit trying to engage him in good faith, because he is not asking the questions in good faith. Better to just immediately call them out, tell them and any observers that you see through them, and then be done with it.

    2. 1) Your pathetic hipster beard is pathetic. My manly, manly Beard will destroy you. Bow before my Beardness. (Link to a picture of the Beard)

      2) You are fighting out of your weight class son, but please continue to engage Larry. We all enjoy it when he stomps on people like you.

      3) I would seek a refund on whatever college you took your economic classes at.

      1. I can’t stand having facial hair, I keep getting food in it, and snags and whatnot.

        But if you’re going to have facial hair, it should be as magnificent.

        Well done, sir!

    3. (Previously posted to the FB thread)

      Kevin, you are wrong on many levels. But the first is that you seem to think “wealth” is a fixed value, that can be moved around but never increased. That one group’s increase of wealth automatically means another group’s decrease of wealth. But that’s not so. Wealth can be created and destroyed.

      If someone takes a patch of mud, and creates clay pots, they have created wealth (assuming there’s a demand for clay pots). Another person sowing wheat in a field creates wealth (same caveat). They can move that wealth around, or expand their enterprises, all without being required to borrow from some theoretical fixed sum. In short, economics is NOT a zero-sum game. Even if one borrows to start/expand a manufacturing enterprise, if they make a profit above the value of the loan, they have created wealth.

      There are, of course, businesses that make a profit without directly making a product. (i.e. banks, financiers, etc.). But, when done correctly, they do assist in the process of wealth creation, thus expanding the pool of wealth.

      I don’t have a degree in anything to do with finance or accounting, and I’ve probably way oversimplified the process, as well as leaving out the myriad of ways wealth can be destroyed. So critique away….

    4. Which rather begs the question: “How was the original pool created?” in your scenario. My explaination provides the answer as it destroys your theory.

      I think….

    5. Also, I would recommend that you read Thomas Sowell. Though I doubt you would agree with him, I mean he is only world renowned for his intellect and actually know what he is talking about. Unlike you who just puts words together and pretends they are coherent thoughts.

        1. I wouldn’t want to confuse the boy to much. I figure someone from this century would be best to start him out with. Now if he makes it through Sowell and actually understands it, then he can read Bastiat, maybe.

    6. Ah yes- the Ezra Pound school of economics. “All interest is theft” and all that.
      Sorry dude, but Ezra was a looneytune even for a poet. if you think he was a great economic or political thinker, you’re a looneytune too.

      1. Ah yes- the Ezra Pound school of economics. “All interest is theft” and all that.

        To which I generally respond with Bastiat’s “The Plane”:

        The Plane.

        A very long time ago there lived, in a poor village, a joiner, who was a philosopher, as all my heroes are in their way. James worked from morning till night with his two strong arms, but his brain was not idle for all that. He was fond of reviewing his actions, their causes, and their effects. He sometimes said to himself, “With my hatchet, my saw, and my hammer, I can make only coarse furniture, and can only get the pay for such. If I only had a plane, I should please my customers more, and they would pay me more. It is quite just; I can only expect services proportioned to those which I render myself. Yes! I am resolved, I will make myself a plane.”

        However, just as he was setting to work, James reflected further:–“I work for my customers 300 days in the year. If I give ten to making my plane, supposing it lasts me a year, only 290 days will remain for me to make my furniture. Now, in order that I be not the loser in this matter, I must gain henceforth, with the help of the plane, as much in 290 days, as I now do in 300. I must even gain more; for unless I do so, it would not be worth my while to venture upon any innovations.” James began to calculate. He satisfied himself that he should sell his finished furniture at a price which would amply compensate for the ten days devoted to the plane; and when no doubt remained on this point, he set to work. I beg the reader to remark, that the power which exists in the tool to increase the productiveness of labour, is the basis of the solution which follows.

        At the end of ten days, James had in his possession an admirable plane, which he valued all the more for having made it himself. He danced for joy,–for, like the girl with her basket of eggs, he reckoned all the profits which he expected to derive from the ingenious instrument; but, more fortunate than she, he was not reduced to the necessity of saying good-bye to calf, cow, pig, and eggs, together. He was building his fine castles in the air, when he was interrupted by his acquaintance William, a joiner in the neighbouring village. William having admired the plane, was struck with the advantages which might be gained from it. He said to James:–

        W. You must do me a service.

        J. What service?

        W. Lend me the plane for a year.

        As might be expected, James at this proposal did not fail to cry out, “How can you think of such a thing, William? Well, if I do you this service, what will you do for me in return?”

        W. Nothing. Don’t you know that a loan ought to be gratuitous? Don’t you know that capital is naturally unproductive? Don’t you know fraternity has been proclaimed. If you only do me a service for the sake of receiving one from me in return, what merit would you have?

        J. William, my friend, fraternity does not mean that all the sacrifices are to be on one side; if so, I do not see why they should not be on yours. Whether a loan should be gratuitous I don’t know; but I do know that if I were to lend you my plane for a year it would be giving it you. To tell you the truth, that was not what I made it for.

        W. Well, we will say nothing about the modern maxims discovered by the Socialist gentlemen. I ask you to do me a service; what service do you ask me in return?

        J. First, then, in a year, the plane will be done for, it will be good for nothing. It is only just, that you should let me have another exactly like it; or that you should give me money enough to get it repaired; or that you should supply me the ten days which I must devote to replacing it.

        W. This is perfectly just. I submit to these conditions. I engage to return it, or to let you have one like it, or the value of the same. I think you must be satisfied with this, and can require nothing further.

        J. I think otherwise. I made the plane for myself, and not for you. I expected to gain some advantage from it, by my work being better finished and better paid, by an improvement in my condition. What reason is there that I should make the plane, and you should gain the profit? I might as well ask you to give me your saw and hatchet! What a confusion! Is it not natural that each should keep what he has made with his own hands, as well as his hands themselves? To use without recompense the hands of another, I call slavery; to use without recompense the plane of another, can this be called fraternity?

        W. But, then, I have agreed to return it to you at the end of a year, as well polished and as sharp as it is now.

        J. We have nothing to do with next year; we are speaking of this year. I have made the plane for the sake of improving my work and condition; if you merely return it to me in a year, it is you who will gain the profit of it during the whole of that time. I am not bound to do you such a service without receiving anything from you in return: therefore, if you wish for my plane, independently of the entire restoration already bargained for, you must do me a service which we will now discuss; you must grant me remuneration.

        And this was done thus:–William granted a remuneration calculated in such a way that, at the end of the year, James received his plane quite new, and in addition, a compensation, consisting of a new plank, for the advantages of which he had deprived himself, and which he had yielded to his friend.

        It was impossible for any one acquainted with the transaction to discover the slightest trace in it of oppression or injustice.

        The singular part of it is, that, at the end of the year, the plane came into James’s possession, and he lent it again; recovered it, and lent it a third and fourth time. It has passed into the hands of his son, who still lends it. Poor plane! how many times has it changed, sometimes its blade, sometimes its handle. It is no longer the same plane, but it has always the same value, at least for James’s posterity. Workmen! let us examine into these little stories.

      2. I generally just point out that looking for economic or philosophical advice from a guy who defected to Fascist Italy because he thought they were right, got busted by Mussolini for being too longwinded (!), and spent the later half of his life in a madhouse is probably not gonna garner much wisdom worth having.
        But hey, your way works too.

    7. “If everyone were as smart as you, would we all be collecting interest on debt?”

      Yes. Investment would still exist. If everyone were “smart” the only thing that would go away is “stupid” debt, like $50,000 worth of student loans for a liberal arts degree (hit close to home there, Kevin? Sorry about that, mate), or credit card debt.

      After all, what is a share of common stock, if not a marker for an amount owed by a corporation to the stockholder, in exchange for a share of ownership of that corporation?

      Debt is not evil. To anthropomorphize (or at least personify) a financial instrument is to completely misunderstand the way economies work.

      Do some research on the financial concept of “leverage” to understand what I mean.

      The fact that you and your buddies are drowning in debt and cannot see a way out, ever, is not a failure of the system, it is a failure of YOU.

      I hold debt, myself. I also hold the note on quite a bit of debt through my Edward Jones account and my 401K. I hold the note on more than I owe, by a fair margin, and that which I owe is secured by an asset that I can liquidate to get out from under quickly.

      Kevin, I hate to say it, but if you, or anyone else,is under a crushing debt load that they can not shed as easily as I can shed mine, then the fault lies with you or that person, not with capitalism.

      I wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon in my mouth, pal. My family of 5 lived in a 21′ motorhome that leaked and didn’t have a functional engine for longer than I’d care to admit.

      I now own my home outright and owe debt on my truck and my jet boat, both of which I could sell for more than i owe in a matter of a few days if need be.

      You chose poorly. That’s the inherent risk of living in a capitalist society – you pay for your own mistakes, instead of foring others to pay for them, for you.

      1. Nor is interest evil. Consider Bastiat’s “The Plane”. It explains quite clearly something that I understood even when I was quite young, that resources now are more valuable than the same resources at some time in the future, and so, if you ask of me resources now, with the promise of returning those resources in the future, well, it’s only proper that I also receive some compensation for that difference in value.

      2. Amen, Goober. Amen.

        I’m gradually paying off a mortgage. I’m working on plans for after I leave the Army in a few more years. I should be able to get my retirement and more than double my salary by the time I get out. Presently I have a couple of cars that are about 15 years old, but I do all the repairs myself because I’d rather not have a car payment. I just resealed the engine on my minivan a couple weeks ago. It gets us by. The government has paid for, and continues to pay for my education because I started in humble circumstances and I made a decision that student debt was something I didn’t want. I also figure that I won’t see any money from Social Security, and I don’t want my retirement nationalized, so I’ll be investing in small businesses here and there while I keep developing skills and piling up assets to take care of me until I die. Hopefully my kids will also get good skills and be able to take care of themselves. I’m currently teaching them weapons training and have them in martial arts classes.

        If Kevin just decided to take out student loans on a useless degree, well, tough crap. I shouldn’t have to bail him out because he made bad choices. Caveat emptor.

  24. I can’t help remembering a line in ATLAS SHRUGGED, where someone is going to limit any printing of any book to a few thousand copies, to make room for other authors. …

    What a whiny moron.

    1. I didn’t think of it when I read the writer’s crap, but you’re right. It’s the same kind of thinking.

      The only difference is that – at least for the time being, anyways – she’s only asking that Rowling voluntarily quit writing books rather than trying to enact legislation along those lines.

      Of course, that’s not to say that won’t be Lynn’s next step.

  25. I read this huffpost article the other day. Yep, I agree with the fisking of it. When Larry mentioned something about wanting to be in the NFL, I remembered reading something about a school football team being banned from their playoffs for being too good. I looked to see if I remembered right. Yep, three football teams banned from playoffs for being too good. Just wow…

    1. A few years back I read a Science Fiction story where football is played by genetic-engineered animals (the animals were human like in intelligence). One of the “rules” was that no football team would have a better chance of winning than any other team. IE all the teams were to play equally bad. [Frown]

      1. And then there’s the classic “Harrison Bergeron”, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. A future US has implemented a system of disabling the abled so that everyone is equal. For instance, the husband in the short story, who’s brighter than his wife, has to wear an ear piece that periodically gives off an irritating noise so that he can’t think thoughts that are more intelligent than what anyone else would think of. Doing so would be unequal, and thus unconstitutional.

      2. Paul, the author was Jack Haldeman, Joe’s brother. He had a series of sports SF stories back in the late ’70s (yes, that long ago). Besides the intelligent animals, there were also robots. The horror was that one robot team had “will to win” circuits illegally installed, thus violating the Rosell Rule (on any given day, any team can win).

    2. This is sort of how GT300 racing in Japan was done, and why in the early 2000’s, certain teams racing NSX’s had trouble: they won too early in the season and thus had handicaps applied which basically disrupted the performance balance of the car. After all, if you’re simply too fast, have to make you slow down some…

  26. I think she may have some issues, just maybe, particularly in the dealing with real competition section.

    Maybe if she improves in her writing skills and writes something I am interested in then I might actually read some of her stuff.
    Sorry but I am way more of a sci-fi fan than a mystery fan, so why would I spend money on something I’m not interested enough in to actually read, while I could use the same money for something I will read and enjoy.

  27. Snowflake forgot to address the REAL problem with fiction publishing. Forget the current big names- what about all those dead authors who are still being published? Talk about sucking all the air out of the room! Not only is she up against Rowling, but Christie, MacDonald, AND Doyle (plus many others)!
    And don’t get me started on SF, poor little literati have to go against Heinlein, Asimov, Doc Smith and many others!

    1. Don’t for get the John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the H.G. Wells novels. The pacing is a bit hard to accept, but still…!

  28. Larry, please quit posting stuff like this, it makes me declare you are my hero. It stops other people from being my heroes and is inherently unfair.

  29. I think I’mma call bullshit on her whole claim of, “I’ve never read a word (or seen a minute)” of the stories.

    Why? She refers to Rowling’s body of work as a “Golgomath.”

    Now, I’ve read all the HP books and seen all the HP movies, and I still had to Google the word to discover that it’s the name of the “new” leader (the old leader having been assassinated by same) of the tribe of Giants in Russia, from one of the later HP books (Order of the Phoenix), and he’s on Voldemort’s side. Probably the most obscure and least-referenced of all the Giants mentioned in all of the HP books…yet she manages to zero in on it and use it.

    What’s wrong with that picture…?

    1. Damn, Steph. I’m a HP fan and I didn’t even catch that. I just thought it was more made-up lefty stupid-speak, and ignored it.

      Oh, and RAVENCLAW!!!

      1. That’s my point, Hench. I’m an HP fan too, though maybe not as fierce as some, and I didn’t catch it.

        And if you wanted to use a simile riffing on giants, why use one that nobody, not even HP fans, would instantly recognize, and that requires hunting to find, when you could just refer to Rowling’s body of work as a “Goliath” which is a metaphor that most everybody is likely to at least recognize?

        And if you’ve never read any HP, how do you even know there are any giants IN it?

        Yeah. I definitely call BS.

        Gryffindor FTW! 😉 (sorry, Larry lol)

  30. The woman is full of perfect liberal cant. First is authoritatively talking about something you don’t know about. Because everything is a pattern of social oppression and from there all you need is a keyboard, amazingly nice judgment and sheer intellect.

    What that oppression is means that a first place team creates the woes of a last place team merely by success, in a Marxist sense. Success therefore is moral failure. And I’m sure there’s some white privilege and making fun of dwarves in there somewhere and writing in dirty colonialist English.

    Final score: first place first – last place last.

    1. “and from there all you need is a keyboard, amazingly nice judgment and sheer intellect.”

      In her case of having only one out of three, and yet she still has a job at HuffPo.

  31. The economic left is stuck at a dead end memetic road and they don’t know how to get up. Their fundamental problem is that their worldview is fundamentally mideival – in short there is a fixed pool of wealth gained through rent collection from vassals and tenants. The rich are rich because they collected more rent from some other people. In other words the exploitation they are constantly banging on about.

    The world is nothing more than a basket of toys, and the rich have more not because they added value, or created something new, or whatever. No, they have more because they took more by force. Thus, Redistributionism. Social Justice. Tax the rich more, they stole it all anyway. Economics is a zero sum game.

    This wouldview was reinforced by a couple of economic illiterates in the 19th century, and we’ve been stuck with this childish baggage ever sense.

    And we see manifestations of this magical thinking in articles like the one fisked here. Everything Larry said is logical and absolute nonsense to someone who is stuck in zero sum thinking.

    You are trying to convince an illiterate that has never seen a book that you can magically transfer knowledge to another person across time and space with chicken scratches. Utterly ridiculous.

    I wish I knew how to fix it, because this mindest is screwing up everything.

    1. When you get arguments to the analogy, ask “Is the total value of the world’s wealth was the same last year as it was in 5000 B.C.?”

      In a zero sum game, the answer is yes.

  32. “That book sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere. And I chose that analogy quite deliberately.”

    I spent some time on the BBS at NANO, several years in a row. This involved chatting with other writers, many of whom were college age or in high school. Some of them were serious, and had real promise. Every single one of those young writers mentioned Harry Potter as a big fat inspiration, a drive to the desire to write. Most of them weren’t writing HP knock offs, but doing their own thing.

    That speaks of oxygen in the air of reading and writing. I can’t speak about publishing, because I only know Indie– and not that well. 🙂 Hey, I don’t even disparage fanfic. As weird as I am, I’ve seen it done masterfully. It can happen.

    AFAIC, the publishing industry is colonized with plenty of anaerobic bacteria. That is the only explanation as to why they are still around at all. The problem is that this colony is a monoculture and over populated at that. This means they are set to die off dramatically, and soon. You cannot set this at the feet of authors’ success. If anything, the big wild win of JK Rowling saved Big Pub’s bacon. They know this, which is why they keep trying to recreate that success.

    This article was written by a creature of writer’s groups, who lives to tear down those who show signs of progress or talent.

  33. I wish you hadn’t dragged you ideology into this, because speaking purely as a reviewer and writer, the lady’s a totally ignorant ninny, and I don’t care if she’s deluded enough to think she’s a “progressive”. This is column space that could have been used by a Mary Anne Mohanraj, a Nnedi Okorafor, an Ulrika O’Brien, a Chip Delany, an Arthur Hlavaty, a James Nicoll, a Jim Hines, a Mary Robinette Kowal, a Ryk Spoor, or any of dozens of more intelligent and articulate people who know what they are talking about.

    1. So do you get offended every time any of those other authors you listed drag their ideology into stuff, or do you just not like when my side gets uppity? 🙂

      1. Huh? No; I was just looking forward to a sound castigation of a fool by a competent and caustic writer like yourself, without dragging the old canard that left-of-Rand politics are the politics of envy into it.

      2. He’s probably bowed to the inevitable, that the left is unable to separate hatred of non-totalitarians and what passes for thought.

    2. I think you’re confusing a political ideology with racism, sexism and generally supporting defamatory group bigotry. Politics is not insulting or hating 100 million people at a swipe.

      1. James, I like your posts, and you seem a very decent person. However, I’ve been studying politics for hours a day for the last 5 years.

        I believe both of sentences in your post are 100% incorrect.

        Politics is the act of getting people to give up their power to you.

        Racism, sexism, defamatory group bigotry, insults and hating 100 million people at a time are *all* established political tactics today, and have been for at least half a decade.

        I could give you many links to each and every one of the above tactics if you need them. And yes, it’s all in pursuit of ‘power for my side’.

      2. I apologize for my comment being unclear. I was specifically referring to the line-up of names. I thought using the words “intelligent” and “articulate” in regard to some of SFF’s chief witchhunters and their supporters was humorous.

        We’re probably having a semantic difference. I agree demagoguery and rabble-rousing have been put at the service of political aims. In the specific dust ups we’ve been seeing within SFF, the politically correct are maintaining their main driver is social justice for gays, PoC, and women. In other words politics. To me the main driver is simple hatred with clever theories attached like “white privilege.” The PC are neither acknowledging nor separating out the presence of bigots among themselves who are PoC, gay or women; the PC consider such a thing impossible, which is childish. It is more than possible, they are there.

        I maintain the main driver within SFF for the witch hunts originates from black gay feminism and its sheer animus for whites, straights and men falsely promoted as justice. These people make no secret of their view of the moral failings of the cishetero racist white supremacist patriarchy. The rhetoric of Hines, Scalzi and Kowal is parrot-talk from bell hooks.

        To me a political ideology is something like systems of gov’t. An ideology of hatred that falsely masks itself as concerning itself with systems of gov’t is just lying to achieve credibility and make hatred seem reasonable. See: Nazis, Jews. This is the great intellectual failure of the PC and also the source of division within SFF. One side is presenting hatred as justice, the other side is saying, “no, it’s just hate.”

        When binary-girl Alex MacFarlane is publicly writing “cis peeeoooople” in a pejorative sense, that is group hatred. When her colleagues ignore that, they are affirming MacFarlane’s identity is incapable of such hatred, though it is clear what their reaction to “homo peeeoooople” would be.

        So, “tactic” or “ideology,” you’re correct: they sit side by side, but they are not the same, though put to the same ends and frequently confused with one another. My view is one where we out this practice within SFF, marginalize the few main players, and have peace return and put the SFF back in SFF, rather than have it dominated by moronic and paranoid discussions by NOW, the NAACP and GLAAD.

        The short version is saying that particular list of names would do a better job in discussing this is like saying David Duke would do a better job of discussing race. The precise reason Hines, Okorafor, Kowal, Mohanraj and Nicoll don’t like Correia is because he speaks in terms of principles that are good for everyone. He talks about right and wrong. Those names talk about identity as being right and wrong themselves, as if what they actually do, no matter how wrong or racist, is meaningless. There you have the great divide – identity vs. principle.

    3. When someone posts “You should stop being so successful because its depriving us of the chance to be successful”, they kinda opened up with the ideology first. However, the fact that you didn’t notice it is interesting.

      1. That’s not ideology, that’s just teh stupidz disguised as a legitimate grievance. Envy is a dangerous tool, which has been successfully used by the extreme “right” and the extreme “left” in the past.

        1. That’s not ideology, that’s just teh stupidz disguised as a legitimate grievance.

          You’ve just defined leftism. It is the politics of envy, the fear that someone, somewhere might have more than the Special Snowflakes.

          The attempt to draw moral equivalence is noted with amusement.

      2. No Orangemike, that is ideology.

        “You are more successful than I am. Boo hoo, that’s not fair! Stop writing so other people have a chance. Everyone should have an equal chance. Everyone should have equal space on the bookshelf.”

        Yeah, ideology.

      3. Orange Mike just wants to confuse us, so we won’t notice that leftist ideology produces a lot of stupid and harmful ideas.

    4. “This is column space that could have been used by a Mary Anne Mohanraj, a Nnedi Okorafor, an Ulrika O’Brien, a Chip Delany, an Arthur Hlavaty, a James Nicoll, a Jim Hines, a Mary Robinette Kowal, a Ryk Spoor, or any of dozens of more intelligent and articulate people who know what they are talking about.”

      Um, are you trying to be sarcastic here? Because if not, it sounds like you’re making the EXACT same argument that ninny in the HuffPo article was trying to make. Nothing is stopping any of those people from writing about this topic any more than JK Rowling is stopping whatshername from selling her books.

      1. Now be fair, J.K. Rowling is enabling others to not buy those books. “Thank God I have something good to read” and “shut up and take my money” is the sort of thing enabled people say.

      2. I think I missed a better insight to what you point out. There is nothing stopping these people from writing what they want. Google apps is free. They can even share it across the interwebs for free. What they can’t do is compel others to pay them for it. So, let’s not pretend it’s about them having creative freedom or artistic open space. They really just want to snuff out the opportunity of others to find better stories to spend money on.

      3. I meant that the Huffington Post was wasting THEIR space by publishing stuff by that ninny, instead of any of the folks I named. Larry’s space is Larry’s to apportion, and nobody else’s.

    5. “This is column space that could have been used”–

      Stop right there. This is Larry’s space. Those other people have their own spaces. Larry fisking the column does not prevent them from doing the same, with their own thoughts, and–dare I say–ideology attached, in their own spaces.

      Unless you think there’s a finite amount of column space (on the internet! LOL) and that Larry just used up some of it–in which case you’re part of the problem.

  34. How is it that you can write exactly what I’m thinking? Must be because I’m an accountant, an Aggie (class of ’05), love guns, and have a hot wife.

  35. I came across this last night and dismissed it. I thought it was just written by a bitter person, and had no value one way or another. I didn’t realize how potentially damaging it was because who brought it to my attention

    Another author called the writer a bully. It’s part of her campaign against critics who say “not nice” things. She goes on ad nauseum about how critics should not write mean reviews. Calling anyone with negative opinions a troll, regardless of the merit of their critique. At times she even links to negative amazon reviews and mysteriously reviews that are years old with 9/10 find it helpful drop to 9/300 find this review helpful. The reviewer is flamed until they pull their review, or Amazon does.

    Your fisking taught me a valuable lesson. Read the articles independently of the source or commentary that brought them to my attention. I dismissed the danger of the article because the author that brought it to my attention has some extremely warped views from time to time.

    From now on I’ll read the article first, and then consider the commentary or fisking. Rather than dismiss the article because of who brought it to my attention.

    Great fisking btw, and it gives me hope as a hopeful writer. I know it’s a long haul, and it’s nice to be reminded that another’s success doesn’t hurt my potential.

  36. Ah, thank you so much for this. I can calm down now (“fiskings by Larry Correia” are definitely one of my favorite things, if someone can work that into the Julie Andrews’ song. Educational AND fun!)

    1. Challenge accepted:

      …. uhhh, crap. I’ll have to get back to you. Comm boxes aren’t the place to do long term creative thinking like that 😛

  37. Reblogged this on Lagrandil and commented:
    Larry Correia knocked it out of the park, so I am doing a rare re-blog on his post.

    Let me put it this way from the exact opposite corner of the spectrum. I’m a struggling author and I’ve been at this for three years now with no real success apart from friends who threaten to shoot me if I stop writing. The ones who haven’t threatened to shoot me own swords. That’s one sort of success.

    The only way I’m going to get to the financial and fame part of success is to keep on writing while others give up and go away! It doesn’t matter whether Larry or Butcher sell another billion dollars worth of books. They have worked hard for it and more power to them! Not only do I get to enjoy their books, but I get inspiration, things I think I can do better, things I would do differently, and MUCH more examples of things that I had better up my game about if I am going to make a living as an entertainer.

    They aren’t my competition. Until I sell a million books I won’t even smear them with the title colleagues! But they are proof that it can be done, a challenge to keep doing it, and an example of what persistence and hard work look like!

    Are they making bank? Yep, compared to me. If I can afford Chinese food on a month’s royalties I am having a good month. BUT I’ve had to tell the IRS where the royalties come from, so I’m officially an author. Any way that these guys succeed, that’s great! They can’t possibly write enough books to satisfy their customers day in and day out, so let them make a big market for urban fantasy, action, and non-lib-idiot stories. I can try and supply demand. They aren’t taking a penny away from me to succeed!

    If anything, Rowling, Correia, and Butcher are spurring me on to success.

    (Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go type something explosive on top of a water tower in Cincinnati.)

  38. Somehow, I’ve missed your work until now. Stupid other other authors bogged your sales! As a writer, reader and Capitalist, I applaud you and will now head over to Amazon one of your.books. If I like it, I will buy more. I will never buy anything written by Whiny McWriterson from the land of HuffPo.

  39. As for Lynn Shepard, there’s a reason that JK Rowling blows her off the shelves. It’s in the first line of Lynn’s first book:
    “About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntington, with only 7000 pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram,” and on and on, drawing out every detail of the lady’s life, written as if came from a parish record or something, as the first most important sentence in her story. Compare that to the first line in Harry Potter:” Mr. and Mrs. Dursely of Four Privet Drive were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Right off the bar you know that something perfectly abnormal is happening in the Dursley’s lives and you haven’t even met Harry yet. You want to though, so you keep reading. That’s how a good storyteller works.

    1. My favorite openings tend to come from Jim Butcher’s books: “The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault”

  40. Reblogged this on A Single Step and commented:
    This is the response I wish I’d written. I could whine and cry and say “but, I had to work all day so I couldn’t get to it in time” but, no, Larry Correia is the man and says everything I would have been to scared to say. Seriously, this is a must read.

  41. There’s a lot to piss me off in her article, but I think what really grinds my gears in this case, is the line, “I did think it a shame that adults were reading them (rather than just reading them to their children, which is another thing altogether), mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.” In the grand scheme of things, I guess it’s understandable, the explosion of the YA market is a recent phenomena, and it could be simply a sign that she’s behind on the times, but the fact she admits to coming to said conclusion without even reading the source material is snootiness from the highest ivory tower.

    by her standard, Narnia was to simplistic for her evolved adult mind, or L’Engle, or *insert YA work of your choice here*. Having a piece of work aimed towards a younger audience doesn’t make it good or bad any more than writing adult work is a sign of maturity, it just means that it’s geared towards a specific audience. The only way to decide for yourself is to read the source material, anything else is just arrogance.

    1. Like I said above, at first I dismissed her article. Though that line stuck with me too.

      She comes off as a literary snob, which is funny considering what CS Lewis has to say on children’s books. I’m pretty sure CS Lewis is still required reading in English lit departments.

      “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
      ― C.S. Lewis

      I love snobs, they provide so much entertainment.

      1. That actually reminds me of an interview Sarah Palin went through a few years ago where someone asked her who her favorite author spiritually was. She answered Lewis and for a while the media had a snicker at her expense because they automatically assumed she was talking about the chronicles. Now I realize that she is a bit of a polarizing figure, but when you start snickering at someone for citing the author of Mere Christianity and Till we Have Faces, because you’re assuming it reflects her reading level, the joke’s on you.

      2. You just reminded me, time to go read the Narnia books to my kids. Plus, C.S. Lewis is awesome. Plus, Larry’s 100% right.

      3. I believe Lewis said to his niece, concerning The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, that someday she’d be too old for things like this. Then she would get older and hopefully be old enough for fairy stories once again.

        It’s sort of like when you’re a little kid and you think your parents know everything. Then you get older and they know nothing. Then you grow up and realize that the 3 year old you was right all along: they DO know everything.

        Same with good YA novels: only when you’re immature are you too old for them.

  42. I’d watch a Monster Hunter TV show.
    Presuming it had anything at all to do with the books, and wasn’t unrelated waffle like the Dresden Files one apparently was.

    Well, I wouldn’t watch it as such; I’d wait for it to come out on DVD, because television is a nonstop barrage of hippie rubbish.

    1. I normally despise live action adaptations of books, but I was impressed with this one.

      I really liked the Dresden Files show, and I’ve read all the books at least 5 times. I guess they did about as well as they could with Murphy, since there aren’t many young actresses with 20 years of martial arts training. I thought the visualization of Bob was about perfect (they had to him a back life, because there are limits to audience imagination).

      For what they were doing, it was pretty good. The books weren’t written with screenplay in mind, and it was way too much inside Dresden’s head (which requires voice narration). He was also a real loner, which couldn’t be done well in a series.

      1. I liked the guy they cast as Dresden, and Bob was okay, and the scene where he blasted the greenhouse simply rocked. Most of the rest of it just made me cringe (I’m not sure which irked me more, the hockey stick staff or the drumstick blasting rod). There was one scene where he violated the hell out of the laws of magic that made me facepalm hard.

  43. Poor Lynn has not figured out the secret to writing. Even though it’s a super duper ultra top secret secret, I’m going to ruin writing for every other author and tell everyone what it is.


    The secret to writing is to write something you, the author, would like to read. After you write it, read it. Early on, it’s probably best if you let the work sit for a while between writing and reading, so you can distance yourself from what you wrote. If you find that you like what you wrote, huzzah! Now you can see if anyone else likes it, too. (And if they don’t, all that means is you won’t be selling that bit of writing. But if you still like it, keep it and read it again some time.) Repeat until you write something other people like or have built up a big ol’ library of stuff that you like.

    Back in the ’80s, I was into superhero comic books. I wrote stories I would like to read, worked with artists, and self-published the stories. Then another publisher picked us up and, all told, I ended up selling a few hundred thousand copies because it turned out others wanted to read what I wrote.

    Now, thirty years later, my first science fiction novel is about to be released by Bruce Bethke’s Rampant Loon Media (Bruce is the guy who coined the term “cyberpunk,” to those who don’t know). The novel is in the planetary romance sub-genre. Is there a crying need for a new planetary romance novel? Gosh, I hope so! But I wrote it because I’ve always loved the sub-genre and wanted to read a new planetary romance. I like what I wrote and will continue to like it even if no one else buys the book.

    I don’t need Larry or J.K. or anyone else to stop writing out of deference to my tender, writerly sensibilities because the only person who can possibly stand in my way is myself.

    Oh, and shameless plug time. My novel is titled Scout’s Honor by Henry Vogel. It should be available from Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, iTunes, and other fine purveyors of digital books in the next week or two. There will be hardcopies available through a print-on-demand service, but I don’t yet know which one Bruce has chosen to use. Larry, tell me how to send a copy to you and I’ll be happy to do so. I have no expectation of a review or a book bomb or even a mention of the thing, of course — it just seems like the neighborly thing to do (even if I live in North Carolina and have never even been to Utah).

    1. “The secret to writing is to write something you, the author, would like to read.”
      What if you’re a nitwit, or a HuffPo contributor? Alas, I repeat myself.

  44. I am so glad this fisking happened. I had the bad? luck to be banned at Huffpo just a few days ago for unknown reasons and couldn’t respond appropriately.

    Of course, now Larry’s gone and done it so well that we might as well as hang up ANY chance of fisking ANYONE…..ever.


  45. There’s a big logical disconnect in la Shepard’s article.
    “If only J.K. Rowling would stop writing, people would buy my books/the only reason my stuff isn’t selling is that customers are buying J.K. Rowling’s stuff instead of mine!”
    Nope, nope, nope. The reason Lynn isn’t getting Edgar Awards invites isn’t That Horrible Rowling Person; it’s Lynn.
    I play (at) bass guitar. I have fun, but I’m nowhere near professional quality. In fact, I’m pretty bad. If Lemmy Kilminister, Geddy Lee, Les Claypool, and Flea all quit music at the same time (“to stop sucking all the oxygen out of music”, or whatever) would I suddenly get called to fill in with Rush’s next tour or to do studio work for the next hot crossover album?
    Nope, because I’m STILL not that good. The only thing that matters is how good you are, not who else is in the field who’s more popular than you are. If I could play on the level of Les or Lemmy, I wouldn’t NEED to ask them to “step aside”; I could just walk right up and join them. Since there’s no way I could ever play on that level it makes no difference to my prospects if all four of them retire next year or keep playing for the next twenty.

    1. Same thing with my writing and self-publishing on Amazon. I’m happy for what few readers I get, because I’m writing for my own amusement.

      Sales are gravy. Tasty, lump-free gravy…

    1. I sense a disturbance in the sensitive/ touchy feely sphere, as if thousands of litarati cried out at once and were suddenly silenced.

      Seriously though, a BBC quote is damn good.

  46. As I posted on AtH:

    So, Shepherd thinks certain people should stop writing for the benefit of Reading Itself. So, if we accept the premise that Reading Itself can be benefited by certain people ceasing to write, we should dig deeper into her premise and see who should stop writing. Should it be a) a woman who wrote a book that sold insane amounts, and got more children reading than Fun with Dick and Jane, or b) Someone with a GHH who thinks that her writing will succeed if only the competition were eliminated, and whose writing probably turns more people OFF of reading than on.

    Hmmm, I’m more inclined to go with b) myself.

  47. That’s mighty white of you, Lynn …

    Okay, now you’re just trolling for leftists to Skim Until Offended. No fair counting score on how many people you can make hit the checklist, not when you set out such juicy bait for them! 😛

    Seriously, though, you’re absolutely right. The presence of greatness in your field of endeavor has nothing to do with your success or failure. I’m not an author (barely an aspiring one: I have a couple story ideas knocking around in my head, but when I’ve tried to write them, the results aren’t anywhere close to what I want to write), but my field is one that’s loosely connected: computer programming. As in writing, you start with a blank screen that you have to fill with the output of your brain, and there are those who are better at it than you. But does the existence of Linus Torvalds, or Rich Hickey, or Guido van Rossum (not to mention the hundreds of others I could name) make me give up and say “I’ll never be as good as them”? No! I study their work so that I can become a better programmer. The fact that there are thousands of better programmers than me out there doesn’t worry me in the slightest — in fact, if I COULDN’T name any better programmers than me, that’s when I should be worried. Because there are always going to be ways you could improve your work, but it’s very hard to improve without good examples to study. So if there’s nobody more skilled whose work you can study, you’ll tend to plateau and have a hard time improving.

  48. If only all of the good athletes would have recused themselves, then us fat, slow, uncoordinated types would have a chance to play in the big time! (sure, nobody would ever watch football again, but that’s besides the point!)

    Now I feel the need to defend Larry against the accusation of being Fat. I believe they call your body type “Voluptuous” now..

    1. Naw, Larry’s just a huge farmboy. The shirts he wears makes him look fatter because he never tucks them in his pants. The waist is a lot narrower than it looks in pictures because of the billowing loose shirt to conceal at least one double stack .45. He might have abomination tucked under there too, for all I know.

      I’ve bumped into him in an elevator. It’s not lard.

      1. People don’t realize that. I’m in better shape than many of the pictures on the internet make me look, (not saying that I’m in good shape by any means!) Untucked makes me look fatter than I actually am, but:
        1. I like to carry in a OWB pancake holster for comfort.
        2. I prefer to carry full size double stack 1911s, because I shoot them well, but they are pretty big.
        3. I’m married to a hot chick, so don’t need to look like I’m in shape. 🙂

  49. Larry, I’ve just emailed this weblink to a couple of friends. I love it when you do this stuff! A friend loaned me MHI last year, and I’ve been wanting to get the rest of the books, but I’ve been busy keeping the stupid minivan roadworthy since then. But this clinches it! For my birthday, I’m officially throwing a (pitifully small in my case) pile of money and getting all the MHI novels I can afford! I will also loan them to friends as a “free sample” to get them hooked on the Correia Heroin.

  50. Well done Larry! Authors should be lifting each other up, not wallowing in jealous tantrums. Whatever encourages readership benefits ALL authors, and reading the works of good authors helps writers improve their craft. And I will definitely be checking into your series now…yay!

  51. Before the article I had only one comment on Huffington Post posted quite a while ago. I usually don’t bother with it. This article made me leave another one:

    “I’m saddened by this article. Surely you must have known the reaction it would cause. The fact that you haven’t read her Potter books, or that you’re telling people what they should read or enjoy only further cements this feeling. As an author, and I’m going to assume reader (though you’re obviously limited by your tastes), you should know that writing isn’t a zero-sum game. Another author’s success won’t hamper your own attempts, nor will it prevent people from reading your work. Like most readers out there, I don’t buy just one book a year, or even one a month. I read a lot which means I buy a lot. So, her success isn’t preventing you from being read. Attitude and writing style and story are your enemies. And as enemies they are formidable. They could have minions, I suppose, but that is a different discussion. Anyway, I don’t know you at all nor have I read anything you’ve written which means I don’t know if you’re being tag-teamed by all three these bad guys. So what I suggest you do, and please know, this is only a suggestion–I won’t ever dare to tell anyone what to do–but get your defenses up, and protect yourself from these tag-teaming cowards. They have this thing where they color your lenses, twist your perception of reality. I suspect that’s mostly Attitude’s doing. He’s a slimy bastard that one. But don’t fret, there are weapons you can use. Rowling harnessed those and she won.”

  52. “so what the hell is your excuse now? Electrons that touched her books won’t touch yours?”

    I think Rowling’s electrons are just so *negative* that they actually push Lynn’s away.

  53. I don’t like Rowlings. Her writing isn’t actually very good, only makes C grade thanks to some fantastic editors; but more than this, she’s a nasty piece of work. However, this idea from Lynn Shepherd that authors should only be allowed to write X number of books for profit, and then be stopped from doing any more is ludicrous.

  54. Nope — your screed has some truth to it too like Lynn’s but not all you say is true either. For instance, when my book purchase puts a dollar into the pocket of JK Rowling, it probably does deny Ms. Shepherd a dollar in her pocket. Money in general is an “unlimited resource” of sorts but most individuals have a limited supply of it at their disposal and must make decisions where and how to use it. Putting my dollar over there means it is not going over here. Buying a Rowling book means I have fewer dollars to use to buy a Shepherd book.
    I looked her up on Amazon and found she has more than one book in print. Looked at the description of one of them and thought it sounded like an interesting concept and might even be an interesting book to read — but also looked at the ratings and reviews and they were average. I would borrow it from the library first before buying — informed consumer rather than just following the herd mentality — and buy only if i thought I would read it again sometime.
    However, after her whiny Huffington Post post I decided to even forget about finding her book(s) at my library.
    As for Rowling being an overnight success, I bought the first book on impulse as I walked through the children’s book department of Barnes and Noble in Minneapolis (it was part of the “skyway” system) because the cover caught my eye. This was a few YEARS before the general public discovered the books and then they went stratospheric. Not so much an “overnight success” …

    1. Actually, I am entirely correct. But hey, I was only an accountant, auditor, and finance manager for 15 years who is now doing pretty good on the business side of the writing world.

      Bookstore customers do not purchase one book. Bookstore customers do not purchase one book at a time. Individual customers may only have X number of dollars, but one favorite author can only write Y number of books per year, and X is usually much larger than Y, and the customer still wants to read. People who read tend to read many books over any given year. And even if they have bought Y and used up all of their dollars, they will have more dollars next payday, and will need a new book to read, wheras the author of Y won’t have another book out for six months to two years from now.

      And even if they have dollars left and they want another book, there is no guarentee that they’d buy Shepherd’s book. Looking at the stats, they are way the hell more likely to buy one of mine, or a book from one of six or seven hundred other authors that are more popular than she is. So that sounds like a marketing problem for her brand now, doesn’t it?

      Your point falls totally apart when you realize that it isn’t customers taking money from one writer to give to another, it is customers taking their entertainment money from ALL WRITERS and giving it to movies and video games. On that particular issue Rowling created more readers and drastically expanded upon the very low number of readers in one particular upcoming generation. Those readers are now our bread and butter. Hence, Rowling GREW our market. Rowling increased the consumer base for genre fiction.

    2. has an infinite shelf, SuseADoodle.

      Anyone can find her work in a half second with a search. She isn’t bubbling to the top of results because most people think that what she writes sucks, and not because Rowling or Larry are pushing her works into Hades.

      Most people buy their books electronically these days, so arguments about shelf space are pretty damned weak.

      1. To be fair, the shelf space argument isn’t the strongest, but it still has significance. For new writers, there has to be some reason for the customer to search for them.

        At Amazon, many sales come from the web page “you might also like” stuff, which is limited in space. There are only 1920 x 1080 pixels on my monitor, and every book of Rowlings, Heinlein, Correia and Ringo pushed at me is space that her books won’t be.

        That in no way contradicts the other arguments of “without HP, everyone would be in the video game section anyway”.

        Just trying to be accurate.

      2. EH:

        Unless someone pays Amazon off, the “you might also like” is based on earlier purchased subgenres and reader reviews.

        If you cannot earn good reader reviews, your work is gonna sink into the cesspit, with the hipster poetry and collections of retarded persons’ crayon drawings.

  55. Did the HuffPo whiner never read Thoreau? I thought ‘Walden’ was required reading for the liberal arts. Maybe not anymore?

    The basic argument she has – if it can even be called that instead of simply whining, or worse a childish temper-tantrum – is that very same as that illustrated by Henry David so many years ago: the ‘Indian” who saw that the white man would pay for native-woven baskets, and so invested a great deal of his time to make baskets. He was then incredibly incensed when for whatever reason, no one would buy HIS baskets. He did his part and failed to understand why would no one else do what he thought was obviously their part.

    Fast forward roughly a hundred and sixty years and that very same befuddled character is now a ‘writer’ for HuffPo.

    As if anyone owes a duty to buy something from someone else. What a clueless bint.

  56. That was an epic fisk, Larry. The latest in a long line of greats.
    That said, don’t you think you’ve done enough awesome fisks by now?
    All the attention your fisks are getting are depriving up-and-coming fiskers of their ability to be noticed.

    1. Hilarously, these fsck’s are part of Larry’s marketing strategy. Say something controversial but intelligent and insightful. Get lots of panties in a wad.

      Half of the readers come to despise all things Correia (and now intentionally don’t buy things) while the other half think he’s great, and look around for other stuff.

      Eventually, the innocent browsers stumble upon the free fiction… then it’s all over, and the MH borg has assissmilated another victim, who joins the screaming hordes of “Shut up and take my money.”

      Worse yet, I think the guest of honor was trying to fsck JK Rowlings, and failed miserably. Apparently, (controversial +*un*intelligent + *un*insightful) doesn’t cut it.

      1. Actually, it’s “Fisk” named after an egregious lefty journalist (but I repeat myself) named Robert Fisk who was so emphatically wrong about everything that one could go line by line through his articles refuting each and every one, to much humor, a process dubbed “Fisking”.

        fcsk is File System ChecK, and that’s when Windows is verifying your hard drive to death and throwing out all the important files.

      2. We are still trying to get Larry to monetize this site for trolling.

        “And next week, Larry will post why the non-family behavior championed by sites like Jezebel is bad for civilization as a whole. Right after he doubles his ad space here.”

  57. because I think that sort of monopoly can make it next to impossible for anything else to survive, let alone thrive.

    Of only she understood what “monopoly” meant…

  58. Reblogged this on Scott Howard Phillips and commented:
    Words of wisdom throughout all of this, but this is probably my favorite part:
    ““Okay, aspiring and new writers, nobody owes you shit. Deal with it. You are an entertainer. Nothing more. If you get really good at entertaining people they will pay you money for your work, so then you need to go find the people who will give you money for your work. If you want more fans, you better keep on improving. As the number of fans grows, you will make more money and sell more books. How you accomplish this is irrelevant, because no matter what, the burden of success is on you and you alone.””

  59. Greetings, Larry. Excellent ad seriatim demolition job you’ve done here.

    Dammit. I wanted to post a link to this in the comments over at FluffPo, but they now want me to “verify” my fake FB account with my phone number. I’ll be damned if I’m giving my number to them. Maybe literally?

    Anyway, this Lynn Shepherd is taking a severe beating in the comments over there. I love it. Being a published writer myself, I found her whole tirade beneath contempt. And all I usually write are papers on physics, engineering, and other arcane subjects. Talk about some vicious competition … 😀

    Rock on, Larry, I love reading your material.

    1. Come on, Tom, you didn’t buy in to the article? Those attention hogs like Hawking, Einstein and Newton can really keep the up-and-comers from getting read. 😉

  60. This twit brings back memories. Years ago, in my youth, I worked in a comic book store. Every now and then we would have writers and/or artists in doing signings. One time, it was the author of a small time (and I mean microscopically small) comic based on Hero Games’ Champions. The artwork was pretty good, but the writing was amateurish and shallow. The book just didn’t sell worth a damn, so the guy spent hours sitting around being ignored by customers. So he started slagging on what they /were/ buying … ‘Dark Knight Returns.’ By Frank Miller. Yeah. /That/ Frank Miller. Facepalming didn’t have a name back then, but that’s what we were all doing.

  61. Reblogged this on Vampires, Crime and Angels…Eclectic Me and commented:
    This post says EVERYTHING I think about this ridiculous post. Personally, and you can find the proof on my blog, I’m a MASSIVE fan of Harry Potter – movies and books. I also have all of JK.’s other books which I plan to read this year, once my schedule clears up. Read this instead of the HuffPost because this is TRUE!

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