Poor Sue Grafton. She’s been taking a beating the past week after accidentally revealing her loathing of self-published authors in an interview with Leslea Tash. I commented on Leslea’s interview with Sue a few days ago, and I failed to adequately praise the reporting from this indie author. Leslea recognized a key moment and pushed for clarification. It was a bold move, a kick to a smoldering log that threw up quite a few sparks.
Ever since Sue mistakenly answered some questions with regretful candor, she has been performing damage control. A Facebook friend of mine e-mailed Sue and received a reply that made no sense whatsoever. Sue claimed in this response to have been worried about charlatans and swindlers. Funny. She never mentions them in the original interview. Indie authors are lazy; we are wannabes; we are exhibitionists. But she’s just looking out for us as a mother might. She loves us and hates these bogeymen that she never brings up.
The reason I’m beating a dead horse here with yet another post is because Sue has come forward with an explanation. You can read it here. I call it an explanation, because nowhere does she apologize. Like a politician, she shows regret for causing harm to herself but nothing like a true mea culpa. Instead, she admits to making a “gaffe.” She needs to “clarify her remarks.” She meant no “disrespect” to us wannabes.
In fact, it was our responses to her insults that were egregious! According to Sue, they ranged from “irate” to “downright nasty.” Meaning, none of them were thoughtful rebuttals at all. Not a single one of our replies contained merit, humor, or insight. Just anger and rudeness. We offended her.
How fucking dare this woman? She calls indies lazy, and when the writing community points out that the opposite is true, she calls us mean. No apology. More accusations. No concept that some of us worked for a full ten minutes on humorous graphics for our blogs over this.
Here is my favorite part of her disingenuous backpedaling:
When I’m asked for advice I warn many writers about the charlatans lurking out there. I warn about the risk of being taken in by those who promise more than they actually deliver and do so at a writers expense.
Sue? If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were talking about traditional publishers. Promise more than they deliver? Self-publishing makes no promises. You work your butt off with nothing but your own hopes and dreams. Every success startles. The empty promises I’ve seen made have come from major publishers, who have graciously offered to take my hard work and pay me less money and less frequently while they profit handily. Who are the charlatans? Look around, Sue. They’ve been milking you for years.
Make no mistake, there is a revolution afoot. A technological revolution. A societal revolution. A revolution of artists. It has already hit every major sector of the entertainment industry: music, film, television, comedy, photography. And now the tools of self publishing are slicing through the publishing world like a gleaming guillotine slamming down on a steaming pile of bullshit.
Sue Grafton stated in the original interview that if you write a great work, the universe will come to your aid. If you want to understand the outcry this remark engendered, know that we have just had our Marie Antoinette moment. A beloved queen of the old order has leaned out over the ramparts, peered down at the huddled masses, the beleaguered and starving artists, and has admonished us with: “Eat your fucking cake.”
Again, because I spent ten minutes on the damn thing: