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Day: September 27, 2014

DON’T DO THIS EVER (an advice column for writers): “On Wednesdays, we wear pink” edition

Posted in Uncategorized

You guys know that I have absolutely no love for anti-blogger authors who treat the entire publishing world like their own personal version of high school, right? So just wipe out everything in that sentence after “for” and replace it with, “Jamie McGuire.”

Jamie McGuire. How do I even begin to explain Jamie McGuire?

Jamie McGuire is a #1 New York Times Bestseller of contemporary romance. Or YA, if that’s the award she’s trying to win. She believes that if you don’t like her books, you’ve never lived a hard life. And that reviewers should focus only on the parts of a book they enjoyed, and that negative reviews attack the readers who enjoyed the book. (Screencaps from CuddleBuggery.com) She writes books that sound even more horrifying than 50 Shades of Grey. She’s also been known to whip her devoted readers into a frenzy to attack people who have criticized her, and it truly doesn’t seem to matter how many or how few followers these reviewers and bloggers have on social media. You got 300,000 readers? McGuire will go after you. You got 30? She’ll still be at your door.

It’s no secret in the romance publishing world that McGuire and Jane Litte from Dear Author are never going to sit at the same lunch table. McGuire has accused Litte of being an opportunistic stalker, and Litte appears to get a kick out of poking McGuire. You get those stories from the links further up. So when news broke this week that publisher Ellora’s Cave was suing Litte and Dear Author,  readers saw through one of McGuire’s tweets:

mcguire tweet 1

In fact, she was so happy about the law suit, she tweeted again, hours later:

mcguire tweet 2

and again:

mcguire tweet 3

It turns out that her shade was about as obvious as a backfiring glitter canon, because everyone on twitter knew what she was talking about. The Mean Girls vibe continued on Facebook, where she and author Theresa Mummert celebrated with macros:

mcguire fb
“feeling amused”

So, they’re childishly celebrating the misfortune of their enemies. No harm there, right?

Well… not really. Litte is being sued over her post, “The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave,” in which Litte writes that while a number of authors and editors have not been paid (some for as long as six months), the company owner has publicly bragged of shopping sprees and started up several side ventures, and that while the company posted $15 million in revenues last year, tax liens and salaries are going unpaid. Ellora’s Cave responded to these concerns by slapping Litte with a lawsuit. Litte stands by the allegations made in her post on behalf of her anonymous sources.

McGuire’s tweet opened a floodgate of responses from authors, readers, and bloggers who immediately knew exactly what she and Mummert were talking about:

As it turns out, when you celebrate a blogger getting sued for exposing business practices that are harming authors, and you, yourself are an author, you come across as kind of a traitor. To McGuire and her sycophants, they’d  just won a karmic victory. But many saw it differently.

Like, well. Me, for example. I’m an Ellora’s Cave author. I only have one book there, and it has never been a bestseller, but I love it and I would be heartbroken if it were to end up as part of a bankruptcy settlement. So, I asked for a reversion of my rights last week, after a summer of rumblings from other authors who weren’t happy with their experience with the company. I myself have never had any payment issues with Ellora’s Cave, but having been in the business for almost a decade, I’ve learned that when authors are saying that they aren’t getting paid, other things aren’t getting paid, either. As Litte points out in her post, if a company goes bankrupt, authors can lose their rights permanently, so some Ellora’s Cave authors are faced with a difficult, possibly bridge-burning choice right now. I’ve never met an Ellora’s Cave staff member about whom I could say a bad word, and it pains me to cut ties with a publisher that I feel has treated me well, but in business you have to make hard decisions to protect your interests. For authors who have been with them for twenty or more books, whose careers have begun and flourished there, who have good working and professional relationships with people in the company, the hard decisions are stacking up.

And this is what McGuire is celebrating? That she has been personally vindicated in her ego-fueled spat with Litte through the actions of a company that has recently gained attention for treating its authors badly? You’ll note that when Litte discovered and widely publicized the fact McGuire and other authors had been plagiarized, McGuire called her “courageous” for going public with important information. Litte did something to help authors, and it benefitted McGuire, so she’s courageous; when Litte does something to help authors and McGuire doesn’t benefit in any way, she’ll go ahead and cheer for whoever will tear Dear Author down, even if it means siding against fellow authors.

According to McGuire, we’re all misinterpreting her tweet:

mcguire tweet 4

But if that were the case… why not go into more detail? Why not clarify what her posts were actually about? McGuire is aware that we all know she was talking about the Ellora’s Cave suit, but she’s not interested in actually defending herself here. One of her social media talents is convincing others that she’s being victimized, thus causing a bigger stir.

Remind you of anyone?

mcguire burn book

But McGuire isn’t Regina George, publishing isn’t high school, and the social media Burn Book schtick she’s going for is just as destructive as the one assembled by the Plastics. McGuire’s lack of empathy for her peers and her inability to see past her own interests in order to celebrate some petty revenge seems at odds with the rah-rah supportive attitude she’s shown authors in her clique.

Jamie McGuire: this Ellora’s Cave situation? It isn’t about you. It’s not some cosmic gift crafted especially for you to gloat about. If it was, why would you want it, if it means other writers are facing hardship? Authors out there who just want to keep working and who don’t like the head this situation has come to? Bloggers are viewing this as a clear, serious warning that protecting authors from companies with exploitative business practices is going to result in a messy legal ordeal. So who’ll help you out if a publisher you write for starts to go under? If this plays out the way you clearly want it to in order to serve your petty vengeance, you could one day find that your rights and your royalties go away, and there will be no one willing to stand up for you.

If that happens, well, enjoy the lacrosse team, Jamie.