Hugh Howey at DearAuthor
When I was in college, I took a chemistry requirement in the summer. On the first day of class, the professor walked into the room, dropped her briefcase, and said, "I'd like to inform you that if you have part time jobs you're going to have to quit in order to keep up with this class because I'm the most demanding professor in this department. If that's an issue with anyone, feel free to leave right now." I looked around the lecture room at all the terrified faces, grabbed my books, and stood up. As I turned to leave I smiled at the professor and just kept walking toward the door. I dropped that summer course, picked it up the following September with another professor I knew I wouldn't have an issue with, and I received an A. I learned early that some people, like that condescending professor in the summer course, tend to make life more difficult than it has to be.
As I was reading a blog post at the DearAuthor web site, it reminded me of that story and that professor. The post is titled, Is Genre Fiction Creating a Market for Lemons? It's a highly subjective (opinionated) piece written with an elitist academic voice that discusses self-published books, book reviews, and book prices. And while I agree with many of the points made, I found it a little insulting in a "sui generis" way and I doubt most of the people reading genre fiction today would even bother to finish it, which is unfortunate. In other words, I could have just said I found it insulting in a "unique" way, but used "sui generis" to either impress you or make you feel stupid. Because, you know, I went to college and I have them big time degrees hanging on my wall.
In any event, I think you get my point. But the post does get interesting when the author brings up Hugh Howey's books. It doesn't get easier to read; just interesting. It's a clever passive aggressive approach that at one point questions Amazon reviews and the quality of reviews. Again, it's subjective and in a way it points out some of the issues I've posted about previously with regard to all reviews in a general sense. Just look at the reviews I've posted about for the TV show, Looking, and the various ways so many gay men have received the show. When I reviewed a review of Looking I wanted to point this out clearly. I also find that the reviews for Looking are honest and balanced...even though I don't agree with them all. That honesty and balance I find with Looking reviews doesn't always happen for me with Amazon reviews.
If you can manage to get through the entire DA post, you'll find a very interesting comment thread where author, Hugh Howey, replies to the author of the post in that humble, down-home, honest way he has that could melt proverbial butter. One comment he made in particular made me read twice:
I remember thinking, when my reviews hit 3,000+ and the book still had a 5-star average, that this was getting ridiculous, and could it please stop. It was a great relief to see the average fall to 4.5 stars, which was less obnoxious.
Talk about sui generis. I can only say that I have worked in publishing for over twenty years. I have best friends who have worked in publishing for over forty years. And I have never once, not in all that time, heard anyone say they wish they had less good reviews. And that's because I have never seen anyone get only good reviews. Never. Most reviews for most books are always balanced...or at least somewhat balanced. If you don't believe me hop over to goodreads and check out the reviews for Pulitzer Prize winning authors like Anne Tyler.
There are also a few comments on the thread left by the always graceful romance author, Courtney Milan, who has a gift for balancing the most subjective topics in the most elegant, civil ways.
You can read the entire piece here. I think it's worth the time and effort just to read the comment thread alone. And, for the record, in spite of my own snark, I don't disagree with the post by any means. I just wish it had been written with less condescension and more to the point. Because the topic is something we're all dealing with now: authors, self-published authors, publishers, and readers. Most of us are not happy about it.
God Punishes Gays
Lately, there seems to be something more outrageous in the news as each day passes. This time it's about a pastor in Tennessee who thinks God punishes gays and lesbians by making them effeminate or mannish. Ugh!
‘God turning people over to their own desires, men lusting after men, women after women, and they receive in their own bodies the penalties for their sin,’ he says, as Right Wing Watch first reported.
‘I have watched people go into a lifestyle, and all of a sudden they become...a man starts to become very effeminate - mannerisms, speech.
‘I’ve seen the reverse, I’ve seen the same thing with women [who] start becoming mannish.
‘What’s going on? They’re taking in their bodies a penalty for deviating from God’s loving design and plan.’
You can read more here. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I just feel sorry for the people who believe this guy.
Miss Kentucky Was Queer
In a piece that directly negates the above post with regard to effeminate and mannish gays, a former Miss Kentucky recently came out and said she's queer.
Her passion has been really ‘fueled’ by a federal judge, who ordered the state of Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages on Thursday (27 February). ]
As a child, Trent describes how she couldn’t understand why God made her ‘wrong'.
She said she was scared her family members were going to walk out of her life if she were to admit she is queer.
She's absolutely beautiful, on the inside and out.
You can read more here.