Sunday, January 27, 2008


Some blog readers appear to be disillusioned.
Lit agent blogs are full of commenters with complaints about us debut authors.
I paraphrase here:
New authors are selfish.
They are too self-absorbed. Blog readers don't want to hear pearls of wisdom about writing. They're sick and tired of hearing every single teeny tiny detail about the publishing process.
They positively HATE debut authors who set themselves up as gurus as if they (and they alone) know the secret to getting requests for fulls and partials.
And that neener neener neener attitude?
It sucks, thank you very much.
So there.
We aren't going to talk about me on this blog post.
We aren't going to talk about what I'm doing or about Baby Horse or giving Paul Theroux riding lessons.
We're not even going to talk about Touloose. Or the fact that I just got SIX copies of my Dutch edition. Or the fact that I'm doing my taxes.
Or that my UK edition made the Tesco chart and I got a perfectly wonderful email from Tess Gerritsen about seeing piles of LOTTERY at the book stores in England and Scotland.
We aren't going to talk about that.
We aren't going to talk about what my next novel is about and how part of my research was learning archery with a toy bow and arrow and it ended up being a total waste of time as I ended up throwing that part of the book out and re writing it.
We aren't going to talk about that.
We aren't going to discuss how too many writers use "as" clauses and "tell not show."
We aren't going to talk about meeting really-cool librarians from Wisconsin who go to Hawaii on vacation and meet debut authors.
And how much fun book clubs are. We DEFINITLY are not going to talk about bookclubs from New Jersey or Maryland or Florida or Ohio or California or New York or Colorado or Hawaii or Maine or...
We aren't going to talk about that.
Not one bit.
I feel much better now demonstrating that I can go for one entire blog post not talking about myself.
Don't you?
So how about it?
What do you want me to not talk about?


A Novel Woman said...

Okay, don't tell anyone, but I LOVE reading about successful authors, particularly first-time authors, and what their journeys are like. And the really good blog entries go in my Inspiration File, which sustains me on Those Days.

Btw, have you ever read THE VOYAGE OF THE NORTHERN MAGIC, by Diane Stuemer? Or AN EMBARRASSMENT OF MANGOES by Ann Vanderhoof? Both are Canadian authors who packed up and took off for the high seas, eh. (Sorry about the 'eh'. You can take the Canadian outta Canada but...)


Chumplet said...

You talk about whatever the hell you want, Sweetheart! You inspire us and give us hope.

Like Pommie said, a debut journey is the best journey of all.

--another Canadian

ORION said...

oh novel! an embarrassment of mangoes was one of the first books I read when I moved aboard- I have cruiser friends who knew her...
yeah chumplet!!! kool!

L.C.McCabe said...


(Note that is with the Scooby Doo sound effect.)

Literary agents dissing author blogs?

Are you kidding me?

I guess those are none of the ones that I follow.

I would think that most agents would be happy to have blogging clients rather than criticizing what they are blogging about.

You have been nothing but positive about your agent, your publisher, and oh, say, I think everyone who has helped bring your book to the the book buying public.

If authors complained on their blogs about specific people and/or whined about things not going exactly the way they wanted within the publishing industry, well then I could see it might set someone's teeth on edge.

Primadonna syndrome and all that rot.

Honey, you keep on keeping on!

And congratulations on every positive step in the journey.


Holly Kennedy said...

Hmmmmm... the axis of your blog spins around the very fact that you ARE an author, but striking a balance quickly becomes necessary, wouldn't you agree?

Once you are published, I think you need to shift blog posts to focus on "readers" who visit, not just fellow writers looking to get published and how you feel you can help them. If they want advice they can contact you offline (and they will.)

I say give your visitors some of your own individual personality. Talk about your research, your bow and arrow set, or your book club chats, if that's what you want to do. After all, it IS what you do for a living and these aren't lecture-like 'how-to posts' that can be found on hundreds of other blogs. They are uniquely yours.

Church Lady said...

I just wrote a couple of days ago on Stephen Parrish's blog that yours is an example of a writing blog that strikes the perfect balance between discussing writing and discussing other stuff.

There are self-absorbed bloggers out there, but not necessarily published. I just removed a link from my sidebar of one such ingrate.

I love your blog the way it is. (Ha! FWIW!!) The important thing is that *you* like it. If people don't want to be here, they should leave. But from what I've seen, there's a lot of positive energy that you generate.

ORION said...

Linda Linda Linda!
Not lit agents!
Commenters on lit agent blogs!
And this is a joke.
kind of.

Sam said...

Methinks there is too much me thinking in this world.

L.C.McCabe said...

Oops, my bad. I read your post far too quickly and missed that subtle difference you made saying it was the commenters on lit blogs making the complaints.

I am glad that you were referencing opinionated malcontents posting responses to lit blogs and not literary agents complaining about aspects of some author blogs.

I also know which comment trail you are referencing. One that became particularly toxic. I was even accused of being an alter-ego (or a sock puppet) of an agent simply because I defended someone in response to character assassination by some Anonymice commenters.

:shakes head:

Honestly, there are ways to make critical comments that are helpful. The comments made on that afore referenced blog were unhelpful because they were thoughtless, nasty, and cruel.

You should not spend any more time thinking about it. Those Anonymice are most likely jealous because they have not achieved success and rather than try to use their time to learn from you and other authors are throwing rocks.

Ignore the trolls. Keep on, keepin' on.


Carleen Brice said...

Where did you read that readers hate debut authors? I want to know so I can stay away! :)

Seriously though, as a blogger I think about how to maintain the balance of promoting my book and offering readers a glimpse of my personality and offering valuable (interesting, informative, entertaining) content. Mostly, I blog as if I'm talking to friends...because mostly that's who I'm talking to.

Kimber An said...

Yep, I'm another one who points to this blog as a fine example of an author's blog. Keep it up, Pat.

ORION said...

Although I was poking fun at meeeeee...
I think there is a way of blogging without being oblivious. That being said.
This is a blog.
It's SUPPOSED to be about me.
It's MY BLOG. I'm King (or queen) of it.
And I can do what I want.

BClark said...

I want you to not talk about "everything". It's your blog and you can talk or not talk about what every you want and if those spoil sports don't like it they can take a long walk off a short pier, phewww. Keep on keeping on, Barbara

A Novel Woman said...

Dear Queen of Everything,

That's it exactly. Blogs are our own mini-kingdoms, where we can do and say as we like. And if readers don't like it, they can blog off.

I actually contacted Ann Vanderhoof after I read her book. I had a cheque in hand for my very first published article and I asked Ann to give it to her friends in Grenada because they had just survived a terrible hurricane which flattened the island. Turns out, after I saw her address in Toronto, that Ann lives steps away from the house where my father grew up. In fact, my grandfather built the house in 1929 and I spent every Sunday evening there. Ann walks or drives by that house every day.

I know it's a cliche, but it really is a small world. And the world wide web provides another bridge.


Travis Erwin said...

I could say Jealousy is an ugly thing, but that would be cliche and as a writer I can't go around using tired worn out phrases. So I'll say I for one enjoy reading about your experience. One day I hope to be in your shoes and every nugget of knowledge you can share is a blessing.

Blog away my friend. Blog away.

Brenda said...

Talk about whatever the hell you want. If some people don't like it, they don't have to drop by.

Me? I drop by often. I love your blog.

Manic Mom said...

Yanno, I've been on some of those debut author blogs where they do the "all-about-me-I'm-so-great-let-me-tell-you-everything-I-know-so-I-can-help-you-too" crap and it's so hilariously ridiculous you just have to wonder do these people HAVE a clue they are so ... so clueless???

I myself am SOOO glad I am not a debut author so I don't have to worry about this problem! hahahah.

You, my friend, never have to worry about getting caught up in that world!!!

And archery!!! Interesting!

By the way, do they let you donate blood all the way out there in Hawaii? ; )

Ello said...

Who cares about what all those others say, I am a selfish reader and damn it I want more YOU! Don't hold back, let us have it! Who are these know it alls that want to spoil my selfish fun? They are just jealous!

LadyBronco said...

This is a blog.
It's SUPPOSED to be about me.
It's MY BLOG. I'm King (or queen) of it.
And I can do what I want.

Damn right - and we love hearing/reading about every thing along the way, so you just nod your head and give those poor-sport commoners the royal wave (see any video of QE2).

The rest of us will happily soak up every bit of knowledge we can.

Bookfool said...

You could tell us about that interesting Hawaiian beer with fruit in it. I haven't the foggiest idea what I'm talking about, but someone near me drank some and rhapsodized about the glories of beer with fruit.

Plus, you could talk Paul into writing a guest blog entry. I would swoon.

And, you can give us long-distance sailing lessons, which will eventually insert into our own bestselling offers (or burn, if nobody ever seens them and the frustration causes us to heap our own books in a towering pyre and light it up.

Kimber An said...

More pictures of Hawaii please! It's very dark in Alaska right now. Toss a few rays of sunshine our way, will ya?

ORION said...

Now those are very good ideas! I will take them under serious consideration.
Fruit in beer???

The Anti-Wife said...

It's your blog. Talk about whatever you damned well please.

Bookfool said...

Pardon all the typos. Offerings, not offers. Sees, not seens. Closed parenthetical phrase.

Never take Ambien and then sit down at the computer.

It was Jon of PDXposed who mentioned fruity beer. Interesting guy. You should chase him down and beg for an interview in May, if only because he's fun to look at and chat with.

Bernita said...

"Blog readers don't want to hear pearls of wisdom about writing. They're sick and tired of hearing every single teeny tiny detail about the publishing process."

Like hell they don't...
Some of us positively slaver for those details.

Doreen Orion said...

Why would anyone go to a writer's blog, other than to learn more about that writer and how she got to where she is?

I love reading about your various "journeys". Besides, anyone who names her boat "Orion" is automatically fabulous in my book.