War of All Against All: Writers vs Editors vs Publicists vs Reviewers vs Readers vs Evil Monkey

Jeff VanderMeer • January 21st, 2009 @ 10:02 pm • Booklife Now, Writing Tips


(Taken from here.)

We’ve discussed

The Top Five Things Writers Hate About (Editors)

The Top Five Things Editors Hate About (Writers)

Now, Evil Monkey has decided it’d be best to just have a cage match of all against all–in a friendly, we’re-all-in-it-together family kinda way.

So:

writers vs editors
editors vs writers
writers vs reviewers
reviewers vs writers
writers vs writers
publicists vs writers
writers vs publicists
reviewers vs publicists
publicists vs reviewers
reviewers vs readers
readers vs writers
readers vs readers
publicists vs readers
editors vs readers
books vs television
evil monkey vs asparagus
brussel sprouts vs evil monkey
anybody vs anybody i left out
etc.

What do YOU, Spatula, hate about Collander? So to speak, and in a book / writer / reviewer / editor / etc. context…

UPDATE: Livia Llewellyn has thoughtfully provided the following additional death matches in the comments section:

* Professional writers against newbie writers
* Newbie writers against wannabe writers
* Wannabe writers against Publish America writers
* PA writers against Lightning Source
* Bloggers who’d like to write but just don’t have the time against non-published Writers with Great Ideas that can’t be written because you will all STEAL THEM
* Non-published writers with Great Ideas against professional writers that wrote something that read suspiciously like they DONE STOLE their ideas from non-published writers with Great Ideas
* Lulu-published cat-loving poets against Lulu-published war veteran memorialists
* Writers who Livejournal against writers who use WordPress
* Writers who use WordPress against writers who refuse to blog because they are better than all of you
* Writers who use computers against writers who use typewriters against writers who use fountain pens and paper – three-way cage match, with tacks
* Writers who anonymously troll their imagined enemies against writers who use sockpuppet armies against their imagined enemies
* Science fiction writers against fantasy writers
* Epic fantasy writers against urban fantasy writers
* Urban fantasy writers against writers who write contemporary fantasy set in urban cities and are all pissed because they can’t call their novels “urban fantasy” anymore
* Everyone against horror writers
* Professional horror writers against that one horror-writing dude on the messages boards who can’t understand why there aren’t more nipples, rapes and beheadings in contemporary horror and you’re all just a bunch of pussy liberals
* Ursula K. Le Guin against the Casting Society of America
* Peter Watt against all of you
* Wil Wheaton against John Scalzi, because velvet-painting payback is a bitch, man
* Erotica writers against…fuck it. No, seriously, we’d rather just fuck

32 Responses to “War of All Against All: Writers vs Editors vs Publicists vs Reviewers vs Readers vs Evil Monkey”

  1. Alex Carnegie says:

    Battle Royale!

    As a reader & aspirant/unpublished writer, what grinds my gears about other readers (and also other writers if my lecturers are anything to go by) is certain attitudes towards certain genres. Now, I’m not saying I’m squeaky-clean in this regard either, I’ve been known to snort with derision when my girlfriend brings home another trashy romance novel but:

    When you say you read or write Fantasy, people look at you like your entrails have just exploded all over the floor. Or, worse, with a sort of kindly condescension. “Yes, that’s fine… for what it is…”

    I talked to one lecturer (a published writer of “serious literary works”) the other day about what I want to do with short stories and hopefully a novel, and as soon as I mentioned Fantasy, she immediately mentioned Philip Pullman. As if that’s all the genre’s good for – kids’ stories. Absolutely no diss to Pullman, nor to that kind of writing as a whole, at all, but I remain nonetheless irked. I had to hastily turn the conversation to Borges and Italo Calvino just to be taken a little more seriously.

    Wow, that was a bit of a rant. Cathartic though. Bring on Collander, I’ve always hated that guy!

  2. Spatula says:

    That bastard colander is always always going through my garbage for ideas. Not just that, he comes slinking around my frying pan, scraping up my bacon bits — you know, the really awesome crispy critters left over after you’ve Southern fried some kosher dills in the pan without cleaning out the bacon grease first. Then he bitches about doing galley edits, like I’m just supposed to publish his stupid experimental lit stories told in fourth person unsentient (and if you’ve ever tried to copy edit that POV, God bless you too) without letting him see them. Deathless prose, every word, sucker. You come around here again, you’ll get the rusty side of my steel wool and make no mistake.

  3. Gareth says:

    I’m on the side of asparagus, as is every right-thinking person. Brussel sprouts, however, are on their own.

  4. Alex Carnegie says:

    It’s pointless trying to debate with Collander: he’ll never admit it but his arguments are full of holes. That Brussel Sprout’s a windbag too.

  5. John Klima says:

    Oh man, I love brussel sprouts…they are my favorite vegetable. I could eat them every day.

  6. John D. says:

    Right on, Alex. People are too dismissive of genres based on genre-label alone. Why should a mrketing classification dictate whether you like a story?

  7. The Tea says:

    As the tea, I am appalled by a number of impinging elements! It ends with the churlish cows who swill me from clunky mugs, but the abuse begins earlier, oh yes. Is it that degrading little kettle in which I (having been “teabagged”) am dropped and left to soak? To ruminate in the foul effluvia of prior boilings?

    As my own special brand of tea, I wish that my Brewer could produce me without reference to past coffees, white teas, black teas, green teas, and the different leavenings, et c. And the process by which I arrive in the hands of my Brewer… It is to laugh. From the months of enclosure in a dark box, jostled by other tea bags, to the whir and burr of the Great Tea Factory! It’s a wonder I ever make it to the aforementioned churlish cows.

    Some aesthetes will have me packed into a jar and steep me whole, rare Brewers they! And a fine liquor I may in such conditions occasionally produce… but then the twats go on to tell everyone else how much better their tea is than that of the bovine rabble. On such occasions, I sometimes think back to the green flush of leaf and bud, wishing that I never left.

    Can’t they see that I’m just tea, and that there are many ways to prepare me, even if some are more refined than others? The value of me, after all, should be in the drinking.

  8. [links] Link salad, Jeff VanderMeer edition | jlake.com says:

    [...] War of All Against All: Writers vs Editors vs Publicists vs Reviewers vs Readers vs Evil Monkey — Bored of the easy life, Jeff VanderMeer launches a pre-emptive strike on everybody. [...]

  9. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Oh dear. I should’ve known this would happen because my readers are as crazy as I am. Carry on with the insanity. I shall create new post for The Serious.

    Jeff

  10. Livia Llewellyn says:

    * Professional writers against newbie writers
    * Newbie writers against wannabe writers
    * Wannabe writers against Publish America writers
    * PA writers against Lightning Source
    * Bloggers who’d like to write but just don’t have the time against non-published Writers with Great Ideas that can’t be written because you will all STEAL THEM
    * Non-published writers with Great Ideas against professional writers that wrote something that read suspiciously like they DONE STOLE their ideas from non-published writers with Great Ideas
    * Lulu-published cat-loving poets against Lulu-published war veteran memorialists
    * Writers who Livejournal against writers who use WordPress
    * Writers who use WordPress against writers who refuse to blog because they are better than all of you
    * Writers who use computers against writers who use typewriters against writers who use fountain pens and paper – three-way cage match, with tacks
    * Writers who anonymously troll their imagined enemies against writers who use sockpuppet armies against their imagined enemies
    * Science fiction writers against fantasy writers
    * Epic fantasy writers against urban fantasy writers
    * Urban fantasy writers against writers who write contemporary fantasy set in urban cities and are all pissed because they can’t call their novels “urban fantasy” anymore
    * Everyone against horror writers
    * Professional horror writers against that one horror-writing dude on the messages boards who can’t understand why there aren’t more nipples, rapes and beheadings in contemporary horror and you’re all just a bunch of pussy liberals
    * Ursula K. Le Guin against the Casting Society of America
    * Peter Watt against all of you
    * Wil Wheaton against John Scalzi, because velvet-painting payback is a bitch, man
    * Erotica writers against…fuck it. No, seriously, we’d rather just fuck

  11. "Orange Mike" Lowrey says:

    Speaking seriously as a reviewer vs. publicists:
    I hate the way publicists decide for me what is important.
    I want to see midlist.
    I want to see backlist.
    I not only don’t care, but am actively hostile to, the fact that you’re spending 90% of your marketing budget on the latest Extruded Fantasy Product when you’ve got stuff on your list by writers ten times as good that I can’t seem to get a review copy of, unless the author sends me one her/himself. AND THAT’S YOUR JOB, NOT THE WRITER”S!!!!

    By the way:
    Sunrise Book Reviews
    1847 N. 2nd Str.
    Milwaukee, WI 53212-3760

  12. Laird says:

    “* Professional writers against newbie writers
    * Newbie writers against wannabe writers
    * Wannabe writers against Publish America writers”

    Haha! I swing the other way, Livia — although I don’t support public bashing in any form. I must admit it especially galls me when wannabes critique an issue of a pro mag or a year’s best, frx. A wannabe’s time seems better spent figuring out how to emulate success, not presuming to knock it.

    Flame on!

  13. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Livia–that just cracked me up. Orange Mike–thanks for that. Laird–yes, I agree. It’s usually a kind of crass way to try to gain some credibility without any actual accomplishment. On the other hand, anyone should have the freedom on their own blog to say they didn’t like something. I think it’s when the newbie assumes a Position of Authority in their tone. I’m a big believer in a hierarchy of writers based on experience, which is just about respect for oneself and others, really.

    Please continue–what other hatreds have thou? (It’s actually kind of wonderful to be able to initiate a flame war that is not a flame war.)

  14. Laird says:

    Jeff: I agree one hundred percent. I’m talking about the more caustic variety of commentary, not reasonable analysis.

    That prior comment isn’t aimed ay anyone in particular, and certainly not Livia, who kicks all kinds of ass.

  15. Matt Staggs says:

    Hey Mike – I can only speak as a freelancer, but some publicists are under considerable pressure to produce results right now for whatever the current title is that they’re responsible for. Their budgets – advertising, available ARCs and review copies – can also be tied up with just those titles, leaving precious little opportunity for promotion of back titles, as much as the publicist might want to.
    In addition to pressure from the publisher, the authors themselves rightfully expect that the publicist’s working hours will be devoted to their new titles.
    Now, this isn’t always the way it is, and I’ve been fairly lucky in working with authors and publishers who understand the value of maintaining awareness of all of their catalog, but pretty much that’s the way things are from that side of the fence.
    As a reviewer and litblogger myself, I have found a lot of luck in approaching individual publishers and publicists and pitching a project I want to do that will involve some of their back catalog. Most of them are fairly willing to part with a few books for the opportunity to get some exposure to hundreds or even thousands of readers. Especially so now that so many newspapers are cutting their book columns.

  16. Hey, reviewers: how can publicists better help you? « Enter the Octopus says:

    [...] reviewers: how can publicists better help you? 22 01 2009 Jeff VanderMeer has a great thread going at his blog that’s encouraging people to vent their spleen about writers, editors, [...]

  17. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Laird–oh, no, I totally got that from your comment. Sorry. Didn’t mean to indicate otherwise.

    Matt–that’s another thing I’m dealing with in the Booklife book I’m writing. I think a lot of publicists are underappreciated. In part because they’re pushing the books and so the author, oddly, thinks of them as lesser because they’re not on the creative side. But they have to be incredibly creative in this web 2.5 world–and ever book publicist I’ve ever met (except one) loved books and was in the business because they loved books.

    Jeff

  18. Laird says:

    :)

  19. Livia Llewellyn says:

    Laird – you know I was just making fun of all the batshit-crazy INTARWEBZ DRAMA between writers of all types, although newbies/wannabes against pros always makes for the most spectacular fights. It’s like, it’s horrifying, completely unprofessional, and I don’t want to read it or participate in any way whatsoever… and yet I cannot look away. :)

  20. Larry says:

    Of course, you have to include the Judean People’s Literary Front and their battles against the People’s Literary Front of Judea, who both are against the Literary People’s Front of Judea and the Judean Literary People’s Front for being splitters. Then one has to question whether or not the slipstream writers will take umbrage at being called magic realists and if magic realists might be opposed to the Southern Gothic writers being included. Doubtless the shades of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor would be aghast to being compared to any of the above, and Thomas Wolfe’s ghost almost certainly would like to thrash Tom Wolfe’s ass.

    But as for myself, being but a small step above pond scum, or rather, being an unpaid literary critic of all sorts in his spare time and not even a “true” reviewer anymore, I would have to say that I might have to kick the ass of anyone who does not recognize the literary genius that is the Eye of Argon.

    So…whose ass do I get to whip first?

  21. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Welcome back, Larry! You’re in fine spirits after your operation. I know that you didn’t like the “la” on the end of your last name, so now you’re just “Novel”. Excellent.

  22. Larry says:

    After? I haven’t had it yet…waiting on the MRI results; should be tomorrow when I learn. But thanks for the welcome, as I have been mostly out of it the past couple of days! And as for my new nick, at least you aren’t calling me the Short Novel! :P

    I can’t remember all the 60 Great Ideas books, but I’m guessing W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk isn’t on there. A shame, as I’ve been reading this for the past hour during my planning period and I kept thinking what he had to say would fit in so well with that series. I’m going to blog about it later tonight, but not now, as school was just dismissed!

  23. Dot says:

    publicist vs. brussel sprouts

    publicists work so many hours and with so much stress, that they can’t POSSIBLY be expected to eat healthily. brussel sprouts, vegetables? bleccch. give us some cupcakes. chocolate mousse. or funnel cake. or mac & cheese. ooh, peace out, i’m going to dinner.

    publicist vs. reviewer:

    when a certain SOMEONE made fun of my press release, aahahah. you just didn’t understand my metaphor.

  24. Joe Sherry says:

    I wonder, would fried brussel sprouts taste good? I live in a place where the State Fair honors anything that can be put on a stick (hot dish on a stick? got it. bacon on a stick? also got it. one of these two was good), so I think some deep fried brussel sprouts on a stick might be tasty.

    I like Matt’s mention of back list titles. I get why publicists can’t focus on them, but if a particular publicist has a decent idea of what a particular reviewer might like, I don’t see harm in tossing a back / mid list title into a package going out with the new best thing.

  25. Alex Carnegie says:

    Whatever you can think of to be deep fried, a Scottish chip-shop has done it already. I have heard tell that the owners are deep fried after death as a sort of mummification.

  26. Joe Sherry says:

    The Minnesota State Fair put them on a stick and sold them off piece by piece a couple years back. The alligator was better. Less gamey.

  27. jeff vandermeer says:

    hey, joe. nice to see you here.

    had gator once–jumped over one oncetoo–in nawlins and got sick.

  28. Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo says:

    Are translators also in?

  29. jeff vandermeer says:

    yes–what do translators hate?

  30. Larry says:

    Speaking strictly as a fan/amateur translator, I HATE words/phrases that are so dependent upon cultural differences as to make it impossible to render it into English.

  31. Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo says:

    Translators vs reviewers: hey, we want to be acknowledged!

    Once a reviewer noted that the author X had “finally perfected the dialogue” (polished it, made it diamond-sharp, something to that effect). It was the third book in a series, first one I translated. There were different dialects, different levels of formality, old-fashioned language in a diary etc… And Yours Truly had worked hard to get the nuances just right in Finnish. Still fuming…

  32. sinema says:

    At first I thought you told Google to call the library, and it did, and that blew my mind.

    Then I realized that you actually called the library, and my mind became unblown.
    I’ll get back to work…

    If you ask my opinion about this topic I really like. Thank you for sharing your friends. Hope to see you another day.

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