The Official Alphabetical List of Author Success

I’ve often been derisively referred to as a “D List Author” by my critics.  Curious, I had to look up where that list came from:

Sadly, as usual my critics suck at everything. This scale is based on how recognizable movie stars are, and since most regular people wouldn’t recognize any but the most famous (or funny looking) authors, it doesn’t really work for us at all. So I have created this super helpful guide so critics know what bucket to arbitrarily stick writers in.

What’s way better than fame? All fame is good for in Hollywood is determining how much they have to pay actors. So screw recognition. Show me the MONEY!

Since the super reliable Guardian newspaper reported that only the top 1% of all authors make more than $100,000 a year from writing and the average mid list author makes around $30,000 a year we’ll just have to extrapolate out from there. Since my critics like to say I’m a D Lister, and I’m doing way better than the Guardian’s 1% cut off, then I can only assume that my critics are really fucking harsh, but a metric is a metric, so here we go!


The Official Alphabetical List of Author Success

A List – High upon Mount Olympus They Gaze Down Upon the Pathetic Mortals = All the $

  • Authors who are worth more than the GDP of some countries.
  • Authors who build their houses out of gold bars.
  • Characters from their books get their own theme parks.
  • The lady who wrote Twilight.

B List – The King(s) =$$$$$$$$$$

  • Authors who have TV shows about their books starring Peter Dinklage.
  • Authors who sleep on large piles of money.
  • Politicians who get illegal campaign contributions masquerading as advances.
  • Oprah’s Book Club.

C List – The Perpetual Bestsellers =$$$$$$$$$

  • Authors who play poker with Castle.
  • Authors who have lesser TV shows not starring Peter Dinklage.
  • Authors who always get sold in airport bookstores.
  • Authors who are rich enough to have sex scandals and it actually makes the news.

D List – My Wallet Says Bad Motherfucker = $$$$$$$$

  • Authors whose quarterly tax withholdings are sufficient to purchase a new Mercedes Benz.
  • Authors who’ve written a shit load of books for a whole lot of years.
  • Snooki
  • The International Lord of Hate.

E List – The 1% =$$$$$$$

  • Authors who make enough off their royalties to impress their mother in law.
  • Authors who lucked into a decent movie deal.
  • Authors who actually have long lines at book signings
  • The Real Housewives.

F List –  The Professionals =$$$$$$

  • Authors who have good lines at book signings.
  • Authors whose quarterly taxes could buy a new Hyundai.
  • Authors who have worked extremely hard to hone their craft over many years.
  • Authors who have consistently treated writing like their career.

G List –  I’m Pretty Awesome At This Writing Thing =$$$$$$

  • Authors who are super excited they got to be Guest of Honor at a convention.
  • Authors who have some people come to a book signing.
  • Authors whose quarterly taxes could buy a used Hyundai.
  • Single authors who’ve sold enough copies they can safely use being a writer as a pick up line at bars.

H List – Holy Shit! I Quit My Day Job! =$$$$$

  • Authors who are still really glad their spouse has a real job.
  • Authors who think that paying quarterly taxes on their royalties is total bullshit.
  • Authors who can go to their high school reunion all smug like, “Oh, you work at Autozone? Well I’m an AUTHOR bitches!”
  • Authors who have made enough from royalties to impress their mom.

I List – Doggone It People Like Me =$$$$$

  • Authors with the first glimmers of real professional success.
  • Authors who begin contemplating how they’re going to tell their boss to shove it.
  • Authors who only check their book’s Amazon rank once a day.
  • Authors who pay their mortgage payments from their royalties.

J List – What the Fuck? I’m a Real Writer? =$$$$

  • Authors who are still getting used to the idea people want to read their crap.
  • Authors who have sold a respectable number of books.
  • Authors who check their book’s Amazon rank every hour.
  • Authors who start to pay most of their bills with their royalties.

K List – Welcome To Mid List =$$$$

  • The average professional author with a writing career.
  • Authors making enough money to be really tempted to quit their day job except their spouse won’t let them.
  • Authors who are still really happy when anybody shows up to a signing.
  • Authors who are still terrified that their fans will realize they’re a talentless fraud any minute now.

L List – I Think I Can. I Think I Can. I Think I Can. =$$$

  • Authors who’ve sold some books.
  • Authors who annoy the shit out of all their friends and families to come to their otherwise empty book signings.
  • Authors who haven’t realized Amazon only updates their ranks hourly and are still checking every fifteen minutes.


  • Authors who’ve published a book or something.
  • Authors who sit in front of their computer, compulsively hitting Refresh over and over to see their Amazon ranking like one of those perpetual motion bird toys. Peck. Peck. Peck.
  • Authors who collect royalties sufficient to eat out once in a while at a restaurant. Okay, maybe Applebees, but they can’t get appetizers.
  • Author on the panel who can’t help but flog their books to the trapped audience with every comment.

N List –  Yeah, I’m Like Totally a Writer, Baby =$.

  • Authors who’ve published a book or maybe some short stories.
  • New Authors who all the other aspiring authors in their writing group secretly hate.
  • Authors who collect enough royalties to eat out occasionally, but only from the Dollar Menu.
  • An average Hugo or Nebula award winner.


  • Authors who don’t realize there isn’t actually any reason to join SFWA.
  • Authors who haven’t made enough off their royalties to pay the dues for SFWA.
  • The average voting member of SFWA.

P List – That Guy =$

  • Author who has maybe sold a couple things or won some contest or something.
  • Know it all author who won’t shut up on a panel about his bullshit who all the professional authors just want to throat punch.
  • Doesn’t know what royalties are, but thinks any author who complains about paying taxes is inherently evil.

Q List – The College Guest Lecturer =$

  • Author who sells something like a short once in a great while to a very tiny audience, so they can go be panelists at conventions in order to bore the living shit out of the poor audience while they drone on about the “rules and definitions” of genre fiction.
  • Never actually sold enough books to earn back their tiny advance, but that’s okay, because writers who make money are sell outs producing bourgeoisie garbage for the masses.
  • Writes pretentious blog posts warning S and U List authors that their fiction has to check the mandatory social justice boxes about nonsense like ending binary gender.

R List – The Artiste  = $

  • Authors who’ve written a pretentious dense piece of unsellable crap.
  • Authors who write for prestigious literary journals where they can be read by literally dozens (if you count the editorial staff).
  • Authors who skip right to B List if Oprah mentions them.

S List – The Struggling

  • Authors who’ve written something, but haven’t had any luck selling it yet.
  • Authors with the most incredibly frustrating job in the universe.
  • The Future of Writing.

T List – The Troglodyte

  • Struggling authors who haven’t realized they need to actually learn to write.
  • When nobody likes their work proclaims “They just don’t understand my brilliance!”
  • Likes to post angry reviews on the internet bashing Authors A-S.

U List – The Aspiring

  • Thinking about writing something.
  • Wonders where they’ll find the time?
  • Don’t feel bad. We all started somewhere.

V List – Oh, You’re a Writer? I’m a Writer Too!

  • Hasn’t actually written anything, but likes to tell professional authors that he’s just like them because he wrote a poem back in high school and his teacher really liked it.
  • Maybe when he retires from his career, he’ll become an author.
  • He’s got this amazing idea, and he’ll share it with you if you do all that actually writing the book part and then you can split the crazy huge profits 50/50.

W List – Huge On Twitter

  • Author who hasn’t ever actually sold anything, but they’ve got a whole lot of Twitter followers, and they’re gonna tell you all about it.
  • Author who will not hesitate to inform A-K level writers they’re doing it wrong, because if they were real writers they’d have better Twitter presence.
  • Author who fails to realize that the only type of follower who counts is the one who will give you money for your product.
  • Lives in their mom’s basement.

X List – The X

  • Writes violent pornographic bondage fan fiction involving My Little Ponies, Voltron, and Breaking Bad on the internet, while dressed in a stained bunny costume that looks like a strange gimp version of that thing from Donnie Darko.
  • Don’t make any sudden moves.
  • We’re just going to walk away real slow now.

Y List – The Yama

  • A primordial creature barely capable of vomiting words onto a page in a blasphemous impersonation of the act of writing, so mind shattering and terrible that a single story threatened to end language forever. He is The Thing That Should Not Be. To read his foul creations will summon the Black Goat of the Woods with its Thousand Young, and it will kill your muse and sodomize the corpse.
  • Is confident that he’d be a much more successful writer than A-X, if only he wasn’t too busy stalking Asian women on the internet to actually submit any of his crayon scribbles.
  • The reason sci-fi conventions have security.

Z List –  The Guardian’s Village Idiot = ($)

  • A kind of Anti-Author.
  • Motivated by delusions of relevancy, crowd sources witch hunts against writers higher on the list.
  • Collects the opposite of royalties, and actually has to be paid a strange sort of “Book Welfare” to produce a book.


Keep in mind that most of us started way down on this list and you can move up and down as your career progresses.  Who knows? Tomorrow the Guardian might say you’ve irreparably damaged your career, and I’ve personally found that will bump your royalties up at least one level on the list!

So carry on, noble author, and let’s defeat that alphabet by making readers happy and selling piles of books!

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315 thoughts on “The Official Alphabetical List of Author Success”

    1. I’m pretty sure she’s considered under “A”, given the whole “Characters from their books get their own theme park.”

    2. A and Z, I suppose, since she made a boatload of money with her work (A), and since she got an 8000-pound grant from the Scottish Arts Council to write her first book (Z).

      I think that’s called a split.

      1. Subsidizing art is foolish, but luckily even my stupid government isn’t quite that stupid… Yet. But since Rowling went on to purchase all of Scotland and single handedly fund the entire British government, I’m going to put her solidly into the A List. If our lone Z Lister ever manages to publish a book and sell it for actual money then I’m sure he’d move up the list too. But since I’ve published like 8 books in the time he’s been polishing his first one, not exactly banking on the good citizens of Britain getting their tax money back anytime soon.

      2. I’ve started, scrapped, and restarted and finished a book and put it out to beta readers since April (Just waiting to hear back from them at this point). I just can’t see spending four plus years working on a single book.

        Honestly, how long until you are just sick of the story yourself? I mean, I understand honing it as well as you can, but day-um.

        1. I’ve been writing, scrapping, rewriting, scrapping again and then finally totally burning down one universe and starting another with so little in common with the original one that you can’t tell that they were once the same for around 6 years.

      3. “Honestly, how long until you are just sick of the story yourself? I mean, I understand honing it as well as you can, but day-um.”

        The mileage varies per author and writing method. There’s one book I’ve been working on steadily for four years and another I’ve been working on intermittently for ten.

        I’m aware of “devoting years to polishing a breakout novel only to have the inevitably rushed sequel flop” syndrome. So those four steady years include writing a draft, setting it aside to crank out a short story or novella, redrafting, seeking advice from beta readers/writing a short story while I wait, revising, querying agents and editors, revising per editorial feedback, repeat.

        This method of “setting manuscripts on the window sill to cool” while starting another project has helped to keep me interested so far. Still, Brandon Mull nailed it when he said that by the time he’s done with them, his books feel like movies he’s already seen a dozen times.

      4. “Subsidizing art is foolish, but luckily even my stupid government isn’t quite that stupid… Yet.”

        Well, except for the National Endowment for the Arts (they haven’t funded novels, AFAIK, but they have contributed to everything from Harry Reid’s cowboy poetry to Robert Mapplethorpe’s gay S&M photos and that “Piss Christ” guy).

        And PBS, of course.

        1. That the government DOES it at all, despite its irrelevance to the national security or public interest, should dispel any malingering doubts about its folly.

  1. Ooh! I’m J-List! (only I don’t check Amazon every hour. Or even every day. So maybe halfway to I). Thanks, Larry, this is funny 😀 Oh yeah, did someone tell you about DW’s blog? He thinks you’re a rootin’ tootin’ gun-shootin’ something or other based off my list.

      1. I don’t know… I went to his blog and about all I see are articles about writing. Which, according to this list, makes that the most useless blog in the history of useless blogs.

        1. Yeah, there wasn’t much there.

          I think Damien had a massive thing for Helen Thomas, and now that he’s lost his opportunity, it’s made him just flat out grump.

          Don’t worry Damien. Even as a corpse, she’ll turn you down every time. 🙂

          1. Helen Thomas? Gack… sorry, I just threw up a little in my mouth.

            If Damien misses her that badly, he should just search on Youtube for “Loco Mama”. That might help him out, though I recommend normal people have some eye bleach handy. *evil grin*

      2. You know what, I think he’s got a thing for Larry. It must be. He keeps fixating on him, and let’s be honest, Larry ain’t that controversial. It’s either that or… er, I have nothing. Can’t think of another reason.

        1. The International Lord of Hate (TM) isn’t that controversial?

          Remember, to someone like Damien, we’re all controversial unless we decide to shut up and get to the back of the SF bus like good non-Libprogs.

      3. Insinuating Damien has a thing for Helen Thomas? That’s almost going too far.

        *Almost*. 😉

    1. I’m impressed. He actually linked your list. And not in the pissy do-not-link way, either.

      1. Behold the Suffering Artist Beset By Philistines:

        “God gives out money to those he doesn’t bless with talent.” – Damien Walter

      1. Probably. is also the first thing that popped into my mind, and it’s a company that specializes in selling Japanese stuff that’s only available in Japan to US clients. And a lot of that stuff is (unsurprisingly) porn, or otherwise sex-related…

        So yeah, randomly wandering around that site while at work is probably not a good idea.

      2. OK ‘Shadowdancer Duskstar / Cutelildrow’ you just leveled up on my list.

        Not for liking the site, but for being self confident enough to say so.

        1. I like the site coz there are some things I can get from there that may be out of stock elsewhere. Like this <a href=""lovely figure. My usual place to buy figures (Hobby Search) went out of stock on this practically the moment it came out, and I happily paid the markup fee for it. They’re also a nice place to look at/source artbooks from (Surprised my hubby with a Guilty Crown artbook and was able to snag a couple of Touhou artbooks that came with DVDs that included the WIP-to-final files). And one day, I’ll get myself that single-serve microwave rice cooker, because there are days that waiting for 15 minutes for rice to cook is too long and I want my rice now!

          *grin* that they happen to sell pr0n too doesn’t bother me in the least. I don’t order from them often though, because they have a rather high charge for shipping to where I live. For this somewhat lapsed otaku, it’s a bit of an ‘ah well…’

          1. If you don’t mind second hand, there’s also Mandarake for obscure bits.

            I managed to get the old Revoltech Anubis for my shelf, for way cheaper than on auction sites.

            Don’t know about artbooks etc, but they seem to stock damn near everything else.

        1. Well, they sell a drink called Tentacle Grape…

          But yeah, there’s gonna be some of the other tentacle thing going on too. If the hentai ain’t your thing though, they have a version of the site that omits it, I prefer CDJapan and it’s affiliate sites for most stuff though, and Hobby Search for figures, and a few good ebay sellers. JList has the occasional doujin-work up for sale (Kinda sad I missed out on Carnelian’s artbook; her stuff is pretty… but you’re not likely to find it if you go for the Safe For Work site because some of the work she does goes straight to hentai or yaoi/yuri visual novel games – some of which actually got the hentai stripped out and turned into mainstream anime.)

      3. Ad Astra,

        Think of it as an online department store that specializes in anything and everything that might be of interest to anime fans (which means a certain amount of branching out as well). Talking about tentacles on J-List is kind of like asking if Amazon carries steampunk.


        Unlike Shadowdancer, I haven’t used the site myself (or J-Box). But I see their banner ads a lot. I would imagine that most of the stuff on their site is work safe. But it’s always the porn that gets the attention (though given J-Lists banner ads, they probably don’t mind). And if the J-List site runs their own banner ads (which frequently include border-line risqué anime females), then you might not want co-workers looking over your shoulder even if you stay in the non-adult products.

        1. Heh, it’s probably the adverts, on reflection, that relegate emails from them being sent to my spam box. I wish it didn’t do that the first time I ordered something from them because it cost me being able to respond about a pre-order about a set of little Tachikoma figures. (The 1-person sized cute run with AIs spider-mech from Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex)

          But yeah, I prefer Hobby Search for figures. I’ve never had a problem with them, and they’re great about responding to customer queries and emails. A birthday pressie for my hubby arrived just yesterday and she now graces the space above his computer.

      4. Doh. Missing out on that collection sucks! You could have put one up on a soap box, and reenacted the Call to Marxism scene!

        (They did have that scene in the TV series, didn’t they? I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a manga-only thing.)

        1. I think they did, actually; but one of these days I’ll actually sit down and watch all of GitS-SAC. I like the idea of the re-enactment. I dunno; maybe I’ll save up for the set, even if it’s expensive, but I get distracted by things like books and manga.

          Oh, they have a prequel series now, according to TVTropes.

          1. Back before I dropped Netflix, GITS: Arise was there. It was subbed, not dubbed. I get distracted far too easily and so rarely watch subs, but I watched and enjoyed all four prequel episodes.

      5. I would imagine so. But I’m inclined to think that it’s another alternate setting for GitS (so we’ve got four now? Manga, Movies, SAC, and now Arise), as I think the very first episode disagreed with SAC about how and when Togusa joined Section 8.

        Now if only they could get even *one* decent Appleseed animated story out…


      6. Oh, yeah, the CG movies *looked* gorgeous. But the storylines… well…

        Also, did you know that Briareos is black?


        There’s supposed to be a new animated OVA/Movie/Thing that just got released, though it’s not supposed to look as good. I only found out about it the other day completely by accident.

        1. Yep, I did, and that Deunan is, for all intents and purposes an ethnic mutt (and her mother, while never shown as far as I recalled, was hinted at to be black as well). Hubby has the translated manga collected. Some of our early ‘dates’ (such as they were) involved us sitting on his bed and reading his collection and watching Serial Experiments Lain

          I’d be quite happy with the style of the CG movies and actually following the manga – at least storylinewise; that’d be nice.

          I’m trying to remember the other TV series that’s supposedly set in the same universe as GitS, but something like a hundred years prior. It was reputedly more cerebral and less action-based but I never got around to watching it (was too busy with jobs at the time.)

      7. Here we go…

        Appleseed Alpha – advance digital release 7/15/2014. Supposedly a prequel to the first movie, featuring Deunan and Briareos before they went to Olympus.

    1. I knew where the list was headed as I read down towards Z. But it was still fun to get there.

  2. OK, so I’m an L-list writer. At this point, I’m not really going to complain.

    But at least my stuff has “too much insane killing”. Of course, if she thought that, she’s gonna LOVE the next book. 😀

      1. Tom… all you need to do to rock the literature world is make Helen Thomas a sympathetic and believable heroine in your next romance novel. Good luck with that. 🙂 Guaranteed president of the SFWA in for you if you can pull that off.

      1. I’m L-list too. I’m using the funds from the last books to pay for the next ones, but if the trend continues, in a few months I’ll be able to go to St@rbucks and get the big latte (or buy new tires for the pick-up. Those might be cheaper). Whee! The life of a wild and crazy writer!

        1. As an S list, I some day aspire to L (and eventually beyond.). You’re further up the chart than I am. Keep climbing (which is the beauty of ladders).

      1. The Trogs are the ones who write all those one-star Amazon reviews, right? Especially the ones where it’s obvious that they never actually bothered to read the book they supposedly “reviewed?”

      2. The T-list are where many of Larry’s Warbound reviews seem to be coming from these days. You know, the ones that always complain about his manly men and “weak women” and “the Yellow Peril”.

      3. Christopher, that review also hits the check point of “being ignorant of history while accusing Larry of being ignorant of history”. I particularly like his attempt to slam Larry over the name “Office of the Coordinator of Information” as the dumbest made-up gov’t agency name ever, when in reality, it was a real albeit short-lived agency started by FDR.

      4. Christopher, that review also hits the check point of “being ignorant of history while accusing Larry of being ignorant of history”. I particularly like his attempt to slam Larry over the name “Office of the Coordinator of Information” as the dumbest made-up gov’t agency name ever, when in reality, it was a real albeit short-lived agency started by FDR.

        Yep, OCI is a precursor to OSS (Office of Strategic Service) and both entities were headed by one William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan, winner of Congressional Medal of Honor from WWI, Wall Street lawyer, and essentially the founder of modern American intelligence service.

        1. Looks like it’s been edited: “…which is one of the most clumsily named government agencies ever to be resurrected for the purposes of fiction.”

  3. Nothing in the double letters yet??? Damn… One book, no panels (no invites either), but I CAN order appetizers (occasionally)… 🙂 I’d say I’m about AD… Maybe single letter one of these days…

  4. When people ask, I tell them that my royalties put gas in my Harley. Folks who ride know just how small a tank that is. 😉 So I guess I’m “N List”?

    Where’s my Nebula for “If You Were a 2009 Sportster, My Love?”

  5. OK, that’s hilarious.

    …Just wondering – given the likely outcome of this year’s Hugo voting – where the late Robert Jordan fits in on this list. (I’m guessing he still qualifies as an A-lister, despite that whole being dead thing. Brandon Sanderson, OTOH, is probably right there with Larry…)

    1. I’m not sure because I don’t now how much Jordan made. I’m guessing he was an A or B. Brandon is probably a B or C+ now. That dude is kicking serious ass.

      Dan Wells and I were at a book signing across from Brandon at Westercon. We’re both solid Ds. Then Dan looked over at Brandon’s line and said “You know, no matter how well you’re doing it is hard to feel like a success when you’re friends with Brandon.” 😀

      1. IIRC from a press release back in the day, Jordan used to get advances in the neighbourhood of $3 million per book — solid B-minus money. He was probably at the high end of the B’s before he died, because his books sold interminably as backlist; so that somewhere along the way (despite Macmillan’s worst intentions), he actually earned out those advances and made more money.

      2. *grins*

        Hey, that’s how we feel about you! Calmer Half was puzzled at why the LibertyCon staff gave him a signing at all, and even more happily surprised when people showed up. If he was at ever at a book signing with you, well…
        It’s turtles all the way down. 😀

    1. It’s easy. Just be born a hard working farm boy, hold down two jobs and have a part time job writing as well.

      Part time job like “I show up every morning ready to write at 5:00 am, write till 8:00 am, then go to my other jobs.” 7 days a week.

      When you get writer’s block, just remember that plumbers can’t get ‘plumber’s block’. They still have to work, regardless of how they feel that morning.

      And yes, that’s all pretty much a direct quote from our host.

    1. I’m thinking “Y” is pretty familiar, too. OTOH, I’m not sure I want to know who “X” is…


      1. Doc M, that’s actually kinda unfair to fursuiters. Most of the ones I’ve seen are actually pretty good, from a technical viewpoint, and generally well cared for. (At hundreds of $$$ for a good suit, you bet your ass they’re not going to leave it uncared for.)

  6. Larry, you should probably mention on the Z-list that said “author” has mentioned that his “baby” is in its 17th trimester, which means he’s been “writing” it for over four years.

    I’m trying to figure what’s the deal. I mean, is he trying to use telekinesis to hit the keys?

    1. For clarification, this is not to take away from people who work full time and only have a few minutes per day to write. However, Damien has written volumes bashing real writers, so he gets special ridicule. 🙂

      1. For a lot of writers the problem comes down to “PEBKaC” otherwise known as “ass (not) in chair” syndrome. I’m delighted to currently be an S-list author, and I work full time. (It’s still up from where I started after all) There a lot of days I don’t do any writing, sometimes for legit reasons some for stupid ones. But a mere 250 per day still gets you a rough draft in about a year for anything besides door stoppers.

        Mr. Z-List is a reporter about things a lot of authors do on their free time anyway, so I have little to no sympathy for him taking so freaking long to write a book as he almost certainly has more time than the rest of us.

        Of course… if the goal is writing a book you can actually sell, well that takes a lot more work. Most of us are following the plan of write a book, edit it, put it out there, and immediately start writing a new book, with the hope that each one gets better by process of practice. Pretty sure he’s taking the lit professor route where he flails on a single book until its perfect.

        And now back to editing for me. S-List isn’t a bad place to be for awhile, but I aspire to a bit higher than that.

        1. Well, you know, a book a decade is apparently a solid pace for someone like him.

          Of course, the fact that no one who reads the first book will even remember his name when the next one comes out is irrelevant.

  7. I seem to be in the process of graduating from S to N, but my Evil Alter Blogger, H. Smiggy McStudge, is auditioning for Q. (It’s a great relief to have an outlet for my inner arsehole; and some people seem to be amused by the snark.)

    Anyway, while I do seem to be stuck in the back half of the alphabet, there is some relief in knowing that there are writers worse than myself. Thanks.

  8. U-list all the way, bay-be! Unless writing snarky blog posts counts for something. I guess I could edit ’em and put them up on Amazon… heck, if Scalzi can publish his email, that’s *got* to be proof that *someone* would buy my loosely-knit ravings.

  9. Clamps ranked higher than Damien? Endless LOLs! Thanks Larry, this is full of Awesome And Win.

    I guess writing about “sparkling fish semen” gets you ranked higher than writing nothing at all! 😀

    1. Well, in his favor, Yama has actually “written” some stores and put them on DeviantArt, which puts him just ahead of Damien.

      On the other hand, this post will spawn a thousand Yama-Alts to slam it.

      1. “•The reason sci-fi conventions have security.”

        I just had an evil, yet thoroughly hilarious mental image: Clamps going to Wiscon.

        1. I LOLed, and it came out evil….

          Of course, Clamps going to WisCon would require either a popular author like Larry going there, or an attractive Asian woman for him to stalk, and since both are an impossibility there, they’re safe for now.

      2. Damien actually has some stories story-shaped mud-pies on his blog. Clamps’s scribbles can be entertaining in the manner of Eye of Argon; Damien’s writings, while more literate, have no such redeeming value.

        1. I have dozens of stories on my DA Account, and even chapters of my book in (slow) progress. The difference being people have liked them enough for me to decide to take them “Pro” (since writing isn’t really appreciated on DeviantArt). I’ve even submitted to Asimov’s a time or three, and these days I think of those rejections with pride now that they run stories about Aliens eliminating all men or space chickens that make wormholes by running in circles.

          Now while asking for a Book Bomb for a Novelette is a but presumptuous, I wouldn’t mind a Book Grenade….

        1. Once I learned what to look for, I began to see checklist liberalism crammed into stories. A possibly interesting story of a conflict between humans and Monstrous creatures at the terminator line of a tidally locked planet eventually turned the female “Protagonist” (not the best word, viewpoint character?) against her own kind, and she becomes a sort of cultural anthropologist sympathetic to the creatures that got wiped out, and it was full of anti-military screeds, and then, on the last page, for the extra point, she’s revealed to be a lesbian.

    2. Yeah, well, Clamps doesn’t need a subsidy for his … stuff… so that’s actually a valid point higher than the Guardian Village Idiot.

      I laughed, somewhat like Vincent Price I think, because my kids ran in wanting to know what’s so funny.

  10. *Proudly hoists his U-List banner from atop mount Aspirant!*

    However, its the wife who actually fulfilled the primary mission of GET PAID for getting her books on Perl published. Kind of the triple salchow inverted half-pipe of the GeekTechPub universe.

    Me? I just keep threatening to stop putting random game setting crap on google sites and actually try my hand at a coherent story line one of these days…

  11. Hey! I’m a U-list writer! However, if I should ever find the time to write, I’m more than a little afraid that I’ll end up a Y-List…

      1. Oh… Clamps… OK, missed that reference. I’m pretty sure I can write stuff better than that. So, that would advance me to what? T-List?

        1. Not really sure, but it damn sure keeps you out of the Y-list.

          And really, DW being ranked behind a pathetic troll like Clamps? I mean, at that point, you just should give up at life and become a hobo.

  12. This list needs its own mini-wiki. I can see detailed entries for each letter, with known habitat, seasonal plumage, allergies, alignment on the lawful-legacy, chaotic-indie spectrum, etc. Four lines per entry are not enough for all the pent-up snark I *know* is out there.

      1. There are places online like wikispaces that host wikis. Just create an account, and start writing.

  13. I guess I’m on the Q list, sort of. I sold a few technical magazine articles years ago. But one of them got footnoted in someone else’s article, so I guess that makes me An Authority!

  14. An absolute hoot as always Mr. Corriea! 😀
    I’m all the way up at the S list, whoo!

    I have had a question nagging at me for some time now, and although I doubt it will be read it can’t hurt to mention it.
    I’ve read before that you promoted your work heavily, but how does someone do that without acting like an annoying parasite? I know it’s the internet, but I do believe in some level of etiquette so that one isn’t lumped in with spammers.

    I’d appreciate any reply or input anyone else might have. 🙂

    1. Put your stuff out there, talk to people, and don’t annoy the hell out of them. It is just like being popular at social gatherings. Nobody likes somebody who comes on too strong, and if you’re like me and can’t help but be loud and obnoxious at least try to be funny about it.

      1. Nathan Filion had some great advice at Phoenix Comicon on how to be funny:

        “It’s much easier to get people to laugh at you than to laugh with you.”

      2. Pretty much. Figure out how self-deprecating humor works and you should do well. And also be willing to laugh if someone makes a friendly jibe at your expense. A little humility goes a long way.

      3. I think the best promotion I’ve done is to share the negative stuff people have said about my stuff.

        A reviewer says “Too much insane killing”, and I sell a dozen copies. Clamps tells me I’m as bad as Larry, Tom Kratman, etc, sell a few more.

        I kind of wear those negative comments as a badge of pride. 😀

      4. Well, T.L. Knighton, let’s put it this way. I just bought both of your books on the weight of “Too much insane killing” and you posting here.

        That, and they were both priced at 99 cents each.

  15. I’m sensing a capitalistic opportunity here.

    “Become a Evil League of Evil author, and get your rank Certified by the International Lord of Hate, for the low, low price of only $$$, today!”

    Badges, web icons, certificates, monthly dues – I’ve got to get on this!

    (Right after I finish a book. Novella. Short story. Drabble. Something!) 😀

  16. Let me see: Despite the many kind compliments I have received from my fellow Evil Overlords, I hover somewhere around K list, the guy who hopes his fan (Hi, Mom!) won’t realize he steals all his ideas from role playing games, whereas Larry Correia is solidly at D List.

    I hope he and I can still be members of the United Underworld of Evil together, despite the huge gap. I can be the Toad to Larry’s awesome Magneto.

    By awesome, I mean I just read the scene in MONSTER HUNTER VENDETTA where the hero has the stuffing kicked out of him by lawn ornaments, and you know who I mean, and I turned to the wife and said, “Any reviewer who thinks this is Mary Sue wish fulfillment either (a) should report to the depersonalization machine of Ming the Merciless to have their brains removed ( or (b) has very, very odd ideas about what wishes he thinks the author wants to fulfill.”

      1. So option B then? The reviewer was right? (Waves a blackgloved fist to his fawning minions to put the depersonalization machine back into the Museum of Horror.)

      2. My wife’s maiden name means, ‘Gnome’. When I told my Norwegian cousins what her name was on the phone there was silence then, “Nielsen?”
        “No, Nisse.”
        “Nisse, like jule nisse?”
        Me, sigh, “Yes, like jule nisse.”
        “Hey, Don married a jule nisse!” a bunch of Norwegian rattling back and forth in the background then gales of cruel laughter.
        Never marry a gnome. Since she’s barely five feet tall and our shortest daughter is nearly six feet tall the kids are certain she’s actually a hobbit who had a foot reduction plastic surgery.

  17. U List – The Aspiring
    •Thinking about writing something.

    Or more accurately, wrote about 20 pages and then drifted back to real life for a while. Then started something else. Sigh.

    LOL at the Peter Dinklage part of the metric!

  18. Wow, I actually read some of the stuff about Yama and the stalking bit. He’s a real creep. I guess I’m between U and V, since I’m told I’m a good writer, but I’m not pursuing the career.

  19. Interesting list, but commercial success is not an indicator of quality.

    No I am not a type ‘R.’ (Thank gawd!) More of a ‘U’ with a couple of long ago shots at ‘S’

    But as an example John Biggin’s historical adventure novels which kicked off in 1991 with ‘A Sailor of Austria.’ Everyone I know who read them said how great they were and made favourable comparisons with the Flashman novels. Yet they never caught on, and Mr Biggins gave up the series in ’95.

    Okay, taste is subjective so maybe these stories weren’t actually that great. But I don’t think so. Or maybe Stephanie Meyer’s prose really does rock! -g-

    Btw and FWIW, I have read, and enjoyed ‘Twilight.’ But I never felt the urge to read any others in the series.

    And, of course, commercial success is not an indicator of an absence of quality ‘cos people will read good stuff and pay good money for the privilege.

    Well that’s my two-pennyworth of IMHO.

    Apart from, the Type-Zeds; are they really idiots? Okay they may not write anything anyone wants to read, but they still manage to make a living doing it . . .

    1. Down that road lies madness. You can’t really put a numeric rank on quality because taste–by definition–can’t really be wrong. How would you? Any prestigious award system ultimately turns into a popularity contest and then the only question is it popular with a small group of judges or a large group of voters? Your taste may say one author sucks, but then ten teenage girls disagree and think that author is amazing.

      Except for Clamps. Everybody agrees his writing sucks balls.

      Besides, this is list is about an author’s success, not their relative goodness. There are plenty of B and C list actors who can act circles around Ben Affleck or Matt Damon, but they don’t get invited to the fancy parties now do they?

      1. On an aside… anyone else think that B – list should be reserved solely for actors like Lance Henrikson, and Bruce Campbell?

        You know the ones that as Larry put it, “are like bacon for movies.”

        just a thought

      2. Yeah, that’s a valid point, commercial sales are an objective measurement whilst “quality” is subjective.

        That said, and this is purely a hypothetical, if MHI had stayed as a small independently published print run and never hit the NYT best-seller list; it would still have been awesome?

        And as an aside and OT, Lance Henrikson, and Bruce Campbell “are like bacon for movies.” Agreed. (If I’m getting the analogy of course.) But only up to a point; an indifferent cheeseburger, or ice-cream, can be uplifted by the addition of bacon. OTOH adding bacon to a turd-burger is just a waste of bacon . . .

        Or am I stretching analogies to the point of it being torture on the rack? -eg-

      3. RE: Fruitbat’s question- Christopher Walken is the ultimate in movie bacon*. Christopher Walken was the best thing in “Gigili”… but to see his part, you had to watch “Gigili” (or Youtube it)… at which point one should just watch “King of New York” instead.

        *Two words: “Pulp Fiction”

      4. “That said, and this is purely a hypothetical, if MHI had stayed as a small independently published print run and never hit the NYT best-seller list; it would still have been awesome?”


        The set of all awesome books includes bestsellers and books that sell horribly.

        Conversely, the set of all sucky books includes only books that sell horribly.



    2. “Sailor of Austria”: I’ve read ’em, loved ’em, and passed them on to two of my fellow history nerds. Sad that there won’t be any more.

      1. Ditto. And of course, now we’ll never know what Flashman got up to during the American Civil War. -sigh-

  20. Hmmm, I have one Novelette on Amazon, I think that gets me all the way up to N. I’ve gotten away from checking the stats daily though. It is interesting on an intellectual level to try to guess at the math when it takes a day to drop 100,000 rank points right after a sale, but two weeks to lose 100,000 points as you approach the million mark (and then jump back up 900,000 points with one sale. Wash, Rise, Repeat.)

  21. Be silent and accept my forceful remuneration this instant!

    I love your work.

    (Now…the next MHI book?)

  22. You need something more precise. Maybe a modification of James White’s Sector General Species code for aliens (eg. DDBO, the sentient caterpillars and it scares me I remembered that). One letter for financial success, one letter for recognizability, one letter for asshole quotient, etc.

    For example, Stephen King: A for wealth, B for recognizability (some people just don’t read), A for assholery, R for Vanity (I’m so big I can sell my garbage!), etc.

    So Stephen King, Type ABAR out to as many figures as you need…

    1. For Mr King you could legitimately add an ‘H’ to his code. As to quote Mr Correia “He’s also one of the best damned wordsmiths who has ever lived.”

      Caveat; when he’s on form. I haven’t read much, if any, of his recent stuff. But what I did came across as being written on auto-pilot. But at his best, well, he earned his A.

      JIMHO of course, but I do recall picking it up one of his at 3pm and finishing it a 3am . . .

      1. King and Rice have the same problem in that they’re too big to edit and as a consequence their books get bigger and thicker till you could use them to prop up heavy machinery. The last King book I read (IT) would’ve been 35% better if it had been 20% shorter, and from what I’ve seen they’ve just gotten worse from there. King’s best work is his short stories, some of which are real art.

      2. Dr Sleep was the best King book I’ve read since the late 80’s. Sobriety seems to be good for him.

  23. As a My Little Pony fan, I was all set to object to your description of X-List authors writing “violent pornographic bondage fan fiction involving My Little Ponies.” Then I remembered that I’ve actually seen some of that stuff, and if anything, your description doesn’t do justice to its awfulness.

    1. Wow, I’d forgotten all about Cupcakes and Rainbow Factory. I’m amazed at all the variations on the themes out now.

  24. Please forgive an impertinent question, O Dread Lord of Hate, but where would Jim Theis (author of the SF classic _The Eye of Argon_) rate on this scale? 🙂

    1. I don’t know. Did he ever get paid for that thing? If he got a buck per convention reading he’d probably be mid list at least. 🙂

      1. I only wish he’d got a buck per reading; the poor guy deserved it. Actually, he was so mortified by being made the laughingstock of the entire con circuit, he gave up writing and never put pen to paper in anger again until he died.

        It’s a pity, considering that he wrote ‘Argon’ at the age of about 15. How many of us would willingly expose our own juvenilia to the baboon critics in the consuites? If not for that youthful indiscretion, he might have gone on to be a pretty fair writer.

    2. I’d personally rank him somewhere above Y if he never earned anything from it. I’ve read the Eye of Argon. There’s a recognizable story there, a plot, and the guy did use proper sentence structure and voice, even though he used it badly and the prose was bruised purple. He might rank T because of ‘Struggling authors who haven’t realized they need to actually learn to write.’

  25. Ha!

    I made the list!
    I’m a dedicated V lister! 🙂

    Seriously. It’s a fantastic “world” concept. Uberly flexible in that it covers a large part of the galaxy and has room for a planet or few of every possible ideological mix.

    All I need is someone to do the actual writing.

    1. You, too, Pugmak?!?! I wrote a poem in the 8th grade my teacher liked and it won an award!

      Oh, and Larry, I had this great opening when I woke up the other morning…:)

    2. Hey, another one! I to am a world-builder who hasn’t quite gotten something good AND complete on paper. I probably have half a dozen ideas bouncing around in my head that would do okay if I could get them down, I’m still working on the “practice practice practice” part. Or someone to help with the writing. They probably wouldn’t even need to do all of it either.

      I’d place myself somewhere around “S” though the descriptions denote some sort of delusion of grandeur, which I don’t have, but I haven’t even tried to sell anything yet, so I’m not higher either.

  26. My writing pays the bills for my new sports car, its gas and the insurance. If I’d just buckle down and work harder at it I think I could make ‘J’ within a year or three.
    I think the biggest thing people lower on the list don’t understand (but the ones at the top -do-) is that writing is WORK, and sometimes it can be hard work. Also that the key to success is to never stop, but to keep writing.

      1. He actually bought TWO! I have my eye on that particular model as well, but I have this weird mindset that I want my current Subaru to make it to 300K miles before I retire it. It’s almost there and still going strong.

        1. Ahahahahaha two?! That’s winning, right there. I like seeing friends get on in the world. ^___^

          Me, my first criteria for a car is ‘see over dashboard AND reach pedals at the same time without having to duct-tape spam cans to the pedals and without seat belt trying to cut into my throat.’ First though, I gotta learn to actually drive (although, I have my learners’ license!)

    1. Since just visiting Linux Journal puts people on a terrorism watch list, sure as hell put us all on yet another list.

      1. It does? What the everliving FSCK? *goes over there* Oh. Bwa hahahahahahaha! I’m sure every visitor to say, Phoronix or any KDE or Debian forum or page is on the NSA watchlist coz zomg people who may know how to code! That needs regulating.

        ‘Scuse me gonna head over to PJMedia and Gates of Vienna now, earning myself, I’m sure, another tick in the ‘conservative extremist’ tickbox.

      2. “Sipsey Street Irregulars” and/or WRSA should handle all your one-stop, add-me-to-the-watchlist-now needs…


  27. I’m guessing The Guardian has made more money for you than for Son of Omen 3.

    What’s SFWA-list?

  28. Geez–short story writers like me, being professionally published for 34 years in lots of places, don’t seem to have a place in this list; (guess we might be footnotes?)

    But surprisingly, I do know writers and wannabes who fit each of these categories, and was not previously aware I even knew 26 kinds of writers.

    Good list!

  29. Thank you. I’ve had a rough day and the list and comments are just what I needed for relaxation.

  30. “Tomorrow the Guardian might say you’ve irreparably damaged your career, and I’ve personally found that will bump your royalties up at least one level on the list!”

    Heh. I hadn’t heard of you, Larry, until the Guardian and other assorted Social Justice elves and sprites started stamping their little feet and shrieking about what a Bad Man you are for making fun of “abolishing gender binary”. Bad Larry!

    It made me curious enough to buy Monster Hunter International on Kindle. I hadn’t read any fantasy novels since Tolkien, but you had me at Owen beating his werewolf boss to death.

    Since then I’ve bought all your Monster Hunter books. After Nemesis, I devoured the Grimnoir series. I look forward to more sordid capitalist transactions of this nature in future.

    And I’d like to say thank you to the Guardian for letting me know about your work.

    1. I aspire to ‘L’. Currently about ‘M’. The $12 I got from Amazon last month would buy me a lunch at Applebies, wouldn’t it? Gack, need to write the sequel.

      1. On a faintly serious note, do it. I didn’t see my sales start moving until I got the second book in the series out, and the third book has kicked things even higher.

  31. I think I fit somewhere with S and U, thankfully while I can be stubborn, I think I generally avoid T through recognition that I really do have improvement to make. Practice, practice, submit, practice, practice, or something like that, now that I am on summer break I should probably get back to writing.

  32. I was reading this list and kept going, “I know someone like that. And someone like that. And that. Does that actually- Yes, now that I think about it, Y does exist.”

    Personally I’m a U lister going for S list. Not a darn clue what to do when/if I ever finish what I’m writing, but I haven’t really planned anything so far, why start now?

  33. Hilarious list, Larry. Made me laugh like a madwoman. Sitting on L-list myself because of Authors who’ve sold some books. On sole authorship though I’m either U or S. (There doesn’t seem to be a category for ‘in process of writing something…)

    Possibly related to the list, but where do fanfiction authors with huge followings land on the list? They’re not monetarily successful, (I don’t think…?) but are successful in the sense of having a following. If they make the leap and translate their fanfiction to original work they might end up with the next Twilight, so… thoughts anyone?

      1. Funny how “Fifty Shades of Crap” is acceptable to the literary gatekeepers while “Paladin of OH JOHN RINGO NO” isn’t, no?

        Especially since “Fifty Shades” is just “Ghost” with less gunplay, a lot more literary pretentiousness, worse writing and a hefty side order of Twilight fan-fic. Blecch.

        (Full disclosure: I didn’t so much read “Fifty Shades” as just skim through it with a couple of friends at a Barnes and Noble…and we got some really weird looks from other patrons because of all the snarking, sniggering and outright guffawing.)

      2. A story where lots of bad guys get killed is obviously attempting to appeal to the lowest common denominator. As such, Mr. Ringo’s inclusion of sex is obviously yet another part of his attempt to appeal to the baser natures of his very base readership.

        Something like Fifty Shades, however, contains no brazen murders by psychopaths masquerading as good guys! As such, obviously the inclusion of sex merely goes to show what great art it is!

        Philistines like yourself obviously don’t understand how true art works!


        Over at Ace of Spades, the term “Mommy Porn” was heard more than once when the movie trailer was linked.

  34. When I was writing comic books back in the ’80s, I was an H-list author. Fast forward to 2014, exactly three months after the release of my first ebook on Amazon (print-on-demand edition up Real Soon Now), and I’m an L-list novelist. I’m currently polishing novel two for a September release (fingers crossed) and have the first draft of novel three, which I hope to release by Christmas, finished. I’m hoping to hit G-list by the end of next year (no one ever got to the top by setting low expectations).

    I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to discover there’s more of a market for old-style planetary romance stories that I’d suspected. As adage goes, write books you would want to read. Chances are there will be others who want to read it, too.

  35. OMG, I think I’m a J with K aspirations! As of this month, I netted just about enough to pay my rent for the year. Of course, I’d be better off it those Shitlords running things saw fit to give me a grant because racism. Or maybe not, I’d probably end up whining on my blog instead of actually trying to write 2K words a day.

    1. >On a faintly serious note, do it. I didn’t see my sales start moving until I got the second book in the series out, and the third book has kicked things even higher.

      Good point; things have taken off after my second novel came out. Another thing I’ve found useful for self-pubs using Amazon: putting the first book on sale during the launch of the sequel. That really pushed up my sales and I’m still seeing a positive bounce back weeks later. When the third book of my current series comes out, I’m planning on making the first novel free for five days.

      1. When #2 came out, I dropped the price on #1. I’ve decided to leave it down, because sales numbers are making up for the lower per-unit income.

      1. >TXRed, on July 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm said:
        When #2 came out, I dropped the price on #1. I’ve decided to leave it down, because sales numbers are making up for the lower per-unit income.

        Hmm. Something else to consider.

    2. Of course, letting a bunch of your old Rifts fans know you’re writing fiction now might boost you into a larger bracket. I had no idea you wrote novels. But you haven’t let me down in like twenty years with your RPG work, so I’ll give your fiction a go as well.

      1. Not so much interested in Rifts, but I’m a big fan of Witchcraft and I’ll admit to a fanboy moment when I recognized your name.

  36. Thanks, Larry! Your posts like this always motivate me to keep plugging away on the sad excuse for a novel I work on in my free time. I appreciate the kick in the arse 🙂

  37. Writing 2K words per day, blah!

    Years ago, back when the internet ran in text mode, I started archiving my outgoing mail, something that wasn’t automatically done by my mailer. I was quite active on a number of mailing lists, and after a few months I noticed I was sending about a megabyte of plain ASCII text (not headers, just message bodies) per month. That’s the length of a nice fat novel or anthology.

    Too bad I wasted all that typing on discussion instead of putting the effort toward something that might net a royalty check…

    1. Yep, I know the feeling. I’ve been participating in Internet discussions since the days of the Illuminati BBS (ah, the days when you knew you’d connected to the ‘net when the 1200k modem whined and screeched through the speakers) and the word count spent in nerdraging, flame warring and pedantic arguments would have filled several War and Peace-sized novels…

      1. It was great typing practice, but it led to bad habits like backspacing entire sentences instead of selecting and deleting. (I bet you still do that). I used to do a bunch of BBSes in Philly back in the ’80’s. Had a lot of great storyboards going too.

      2. Dr. Mauser, on July 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm said:
        It was great typing practice, but it led to bad habits like backspacing entire sentences instead of selecting and deleting. (I bet you still do that).

        On occasion (been working on breaking that kind of habit for a long time). And now I feel my age. 🙂

      3. Yeah, but then I have my keyboard repeat rate set to 75 characters per second with a 200 millisecond delay. I used to have a memory-resident utility to do that back under DOS; KDE does it for me now.

        I can zip a cursor about the screen with the arrow keys in less time than it takes to grab the mouse.

      4. With me, my far, far too many hours in IRC still winds up typing stuff like ‘/me’ to do an action in chat even lo these many years later.

      5. /me, or : if you spent enough time on Muds/Mucks. Those were not just good typing practice, but good for thinking on your feet (Or butt, to be honest).

      6. Ah, those were the days. There was a time when I could tell the difference between a 1200 baud modem, a 2400, and (oh, luxury!) a U.S. Robotics 9600 HST, just by the sound.

        On the bright side, if all those megabytes of BBS posts were done in a serious effort to entertain or persuade other people, they count for partial credit towards your official Million Words of Crap.

  38. I guess I’m a G, although the only reason I was a Guest of Honor at a convention was because the author they wanted (Spider Robinson) couldn’t make it. Story of my life: I’ve twice been hired as an actor by our local professional company because “the guy we wanted had to bow out.” But they still paid, so hey!

    1. the only reason I was a Guest of Honor at a convention was because the author they wanted (Spider Robinson) couldn’t make it.

      As Neil Gaiman said, “you get work however you get work”. One of my first sales was to the late Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy magazine. It was the third of three sales (one to Analog, one a non-fiction article, and this one) that finally made me a “professional writer”. It was the first to see print, with a remarkably short lead time. The acceptance letter and contract was sent back by “special delivery” and the same issue had an editorial where she griped about people simultaneous submitting and then pulling stories she’d already committed for.

      She never said so but I’m quite convinced I got that sale because someone had pulled a story at the last minute that she had already committed to and mine happened to be a “not impossible” story that fit that particular hole. I do know that I never managed to sell to her again although she was always helpful and supportive in our correspondence. (The why I, based on recent revelations, find myself in a very odd place in my head indeed: )

      1. Yep. Having been a full-time freelancer for just over two decades now, believe me, I know all about getting work “however.” Although my best piece of writing advice? Marry an engineer like I did. Helps smooth out the income bumps.

  39. This *might* be Damien’s response, but I can’t vouch for it:

    “Ah, the chronic insecurity of the right wing conservative ideologue. Predictable as clockwork.”

    Personally, I find Damien be very motivating. I want to succeed, not only for myself, but to get up the noses of people like him. 🙂

      1. I think he’s quoting William Gibson from a post he linked to, but yes, when he posts like that, sans atribution, it’s confusing. Typical Damien riteing skilz.

        And the comments are just priceless.

  40. I’m off the meta-list altogether; it’s been years since I’ve even pretended to myself that I could be an author if I just got my shit together.

  41. S or U I guess. Have written, have submitted, haven’t sold, but mostly thinks about what I want to write instead of writing it.

    So… I guess that was a public confession.

  42. “Writes violent pornographic bondage fan fiction involving My Little Ponies, Voltron, and Breaking Bad on the internet”

    You know, part of me suspects that there really is such a thing, and not just you throwing together random stuff… but the other part of me REALLY Does. Not. Want. To. Know. Valuing what little sanity I have, I’m not going looking for examples.

    (I’m nowhere on the list, as I don’t consider myself a writer. I don’t count some Wing Commander fanfic I’ve done, even if it’s not fetish fic [not even a flash of skin in them… though some skin is flashed into vapor by a tachyon cannon burst].)

      1. Not just Rule 34, but there’s another Rule that if you make something up, a website dedicated to that fetish will pop into existence, and by Ugol’s law, there will be at least two people into it.

        1. Oh great. I was reminded of there being live action MLP…cosplay?… porn that apparently has a fairly solid following and the props used are a fetish product line. I say ‘cosplay’ because the props are wigs with horse-ear headbands, tails which are… attached… to the user, painted on cutie marks and not much else.

          The ONLY reason why I know about this is coz someone linked me an article boggling over the existence of such a thing, laughing hysterically and WTFing at the same time. Very little surprises me any more, but apparently this has a huge… brony… fanbase, at which point I just came to the following conclusion:

          Ya know, pretending to be a pony doesn’t mean a bloke’s gonna be hung like a horse, no matter how much the filly-player pretends. Even magic ponies. The brain may be the biggest and most important organ when it comes to well, sexual stimuli… but it doesn’t have the ability to warp reality for real.

          1. Somebody gave me a link once to a promotional video of said products. The phrases “Somebody’s out to make a quick buck” and “What utter cheap crap.” came to mind. It didn’t come from any real fan based source, It was just re-branded novelty crap.

      2. I’m suddenly reminded of one of the missions in the video game “Saints Row 3”. You have to rescue a kidnapped guy from a brothel. Said guy is wearing a pony tail, and you escape in a rickshaw he’s pulling. So yeah, he’s basically cosplaying a pony pulling a cart.


        The whole thing is treated in a rather silly fashion, as befits the Saints Row series.

  43. Har! Thanks for the interesting glimpse into the world of authors, not being one myself. Damn, I didn’t even win an award in grade school so I’m not on the list at all.

  44. Yay! I made the N list…. kinda sorta.
    This reminds me a bit of my German teacher in High School. He used to use the entire alphabet when grading, so it was not unusual to receive a quiz back with a big red “K-” or “M+”.

  45. As someone located around M or N on this list, who has actually taken his wife out to Applebee’s on his sale earnings, I would just like to mention that they have this really great two-for-twenty deal that comes with a tasty appetizer.

  46. So how many A listers total? Maybe 20?

    people shouldn’t knock the X List. That is where EL James (50 shades) got her start.

  47. Obviously tongue-in-cheek but wouldn’t Martin rank as A List. His most recognizable property is generating millions of dollars per year, tens of millions for HBO, and a potential box office film would dwarf any individual Twilight film, maybe even eclipse multiple film grosses. HBO GO, likely only behind netflix and NFL Sunday ticket, in terms of streaming popularity/potential, is largely being propelled by Game of Thrones.

    I am not sure about book sales but Game of Thrones may be the most valuable television property on cable, perhaps all of television, due to its measurable popularity and largely immeasurable presence online. No amusement park rides yet. Porn parody, yes, but not sure that gets an author beyond C list.

    1. Not being able to see their royalty statements, these are only my best guesses. Either way, GRRM is WAY THE HELL UP THERE. 🙂

      1. GRRM provides a lot of laughs lately.
        I saw a spoof of an NRA bumper sticker that said “Guns don’t kill people, George R. R. Martin kills people.”

        Also saw a twitter conversation that said:

        “Hey, my bus driver looks like GRRM.”
        “Get off the bus. NOW!”

  48. I’d like to see some mention of those sad people who write for poetry magazines that pay “in copies.” I suppose the magazines themselves are on the Z-list, because they’re subsidized by their colleges, but the writer gets nothing but “proof” that someone was willing to publish them–as long as they didn’t have to pay them.

  49. So can you jump a level or two by writing a character specifically designed for Peter Dinklage in your uploading heroic fantasy?

  50. I think this post deserves a mention on the “Best of MHN” tab.

    As a relatively new reader of the site, I’ve found that static page quite entertaining, and that this one belongs there.

    Though the fact that I live about 45 minutes away from the Yama does little for my peace of mind, I suppose it is better to know such things than not know them.

  51. Hmm… Where does wrote one, co-authored another book (sold through the advances) and gets the occasional short gig, and stopped cold because Other Things To Do?

  52. Took me long enough, but I finally moved up on the list! M-List attitude and compulsion (minus the whole flogging-the-captive-audience bit), N-List sales and royalties.

  53. I’m not really an aspiring writer at all. But if I were, I’d be happy to have my royalties support my reading habit. Books… crack would be cheaper. (Note: I happily pay the $7.99/paperback to support awesome authors like Jean Johnson, whose tweet brought me here).

  54. ROFLMAO.

    Met most of that list, except A. Didn’t want to meet some of it. Really didn’t want to meet some of it…

  55. I noticed that the list doesn’t have an “authors who have made enough to impress their dad” entry. I’m trying to decide if this is an oversight, or if it’s not there because it’s a statistical impossibility.

  56. This is great for fiction writers, but how about people who write non-fiction, mostly of a technical nature, as an adjunt to their profession, like a veterinarian who writes a book on veterinary medicine? I make only the equivalent of a decent vacation a year off royalties, but it does burnish professional credentials, and of course I would never dream of writing for a living. Is there a place on he scale for this?

  57. Sir, you owe me (a) one cup of black coffee, (b) one replacement keyboard, and (c) a huge apology to a now-pissed-off wet cat.

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