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It’s been more than a week since Hugh Howey posted his Bitch from Worldcon (now deleted) but I think it’s worth talking about anyway. Yes, it’s sexist rape culture bullshit for him to fantasize (even jokingly) about his big moment–which is apparently winning an award–standing in front of a crowd of people, and singling her out to say “Suck it, bitch” while grabbing his crotch.

Hello, small-minded fantasy of success. Hello, sexual threats to a woman he himself believes to be mentally ill. Hello, completely creepy behavior. I don’t care if he thinks it’s non-serious; it’s bullshit.

However, the real point of the post becomes clear right here:

Crazy girl asked who I was published with. “Self-published,” I said. No point in mentioning the Random House deal or the SFWA membership. Those weren’t what I was most proud of. The girl shook her head sadly and also knowingly. It was a complex bit of head shaking.

Bold added by me.

Who is Howey’s main audience? a) other self-publishers who have anointed him the next Amanda Hocking and b) readers who imagine themselves to be cutting-edge iconoclasts predicting the end of the old publishing paradigm. This is his “base,” and as much as he’d like to (and is) expanding beyond them, he’s still making the effort to hold them close.

On one hand, self-publishing is never going to have the legitimacy people want until they stop acting like they’re being assailed from all sides. I say this as a self-publisher myself. There is no revolution, only new opportunities. The people trying to get you to take one side or the other, whether that’s a “crazy girl” at a convention or a best-selling author featured in WSJ and Salon, are wasting your time and/or trying to sell you something.

What’s more, this post is a classic example of numbers #3 and #4 of my post about using social media to build a strong community of assholes. Howey isn’t sending his readers out to attack anyone–perhaps he understands that he shouldn’t punch that far down–but it’s still us-vs-them rah rah bullshit designed to instill loyalty more than inform.

It’s a shitty post. It’s not funny unless you’re looking to wave around pompoms with Howey’s name on one and Amazon’s on the other. It demonstrates that no amount of money or success will make you a better person. And it’s how a lot of authors create their brand.

Added later: Howey has apologized. Someone should explain that “I was just joking!” isn’t much of a defense.

Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
martianmooncrab
Apr. 12th, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
self-publishing is never going to have the legitimacy

maybe its time to rephrase the new paradigm of publishing, what was once vanity press, or self pubbing, its now more of Independent or EPublishing, or Small Independent Press, and when done at ones kitchen table, its a very small press indeed.

For a lot of good writers, (like yourself) who dont make the cut at the BigNamePubHouse because of numbers, or niches or whatever, this still gives the Readers (yeah, remember those folks?) a chance to keep reading what they like, despite the BNPH folks trying to tell them that they need to be reading someone else instead.

Its not just the adult market, but the kids too, I have several YA/Childrens series of books that I think are just wonderful, but the publisher has dropped them after 4 or 6 books because they arent the runaway popular best sellers. I would like to know how the series ends.

burger_eater
Apr. 13th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)
There already is an indie press, and it's been around for years and years. What self-publishers do is quite different, I think.

Still, the terms have changed; self-publishers have grabbed the indie label and run with it, and if there's one thing I've learned it's that you can't fight the way the language evolves.

I'm glad to have the opportunities I have now, though.
sartorias
Apr. 12th, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sigh. Watch the monkeys gibber in their tree and fling poo.
burger_eater
Apr. 13th, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
It brings in the crowds, I guess.
thinking_lotus
Apr. 13th, 2013 12:59 am (UTC)
There is a novel called Wool 4: The Unraveling, and it's not humor? Standards have become so low.
burger_eater
Apr. 13th, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
There's also Casting Off and The Stranded but I have no idea how tongue it cheek the whole thing really is.
geniusofevil
Apr. 13th, 2013 04:48 am (UTC)
These guys all seem to be the same cookie cutter model of the last. Whatever happened to that one guy, the crazy one. What was his name? Bean? Bane? He at least had some entertaining crazy going on.
burger_eater
Apr. 13th, 2013 05:37 am (UTC)
I don't remember any crazy guy named B-something.
geniusofevil
Apr. 14th, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
crazy sci fi sex scenes? I know that covers a lot, but does it help?
ethelmay
Apr. 17th, 2013 03:26 am (UTC)
Not Jordan Bassior?
burger_eater
Apr. 17th, 2013 03:36 am (UTC)
We've never talked about him here.

Edited at 2013-04-17 03:38 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
geniusofevil
Apr. 14th, 2013 08:21 pm (UTC)
lol, I think the guy I was thinking of was crazier, if that's possible. Man, it's driving me crazy that I can't remember his name, but I haven't thought about him in years.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )