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Don’t Do This Ever: “C*** Juggling Thunder C***” edition

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People in the indie book world are sharply divided on whether or not crowd funding your author life is ethical or not. The arguments around authors starting Kickstarters and GoFundMes to either fund the writing of their novel or finish a series (with the implication that readers would not receive the conclusion to the series unless the fundraising goal was met) is always pretty much the same: one side feels it’s unethical or “just not done”, the other thinks that any objection to the crowdfunding model is a denial of any author’s right to compensation for their work.

But one thing both sides probably will agree on? Don’t call people who disapprove of your model “cock juggling thunder cunts.”

Author Payne Hawthorne has a dream to quit her day job and write full time:

I’ve spent the last 5 years struggling to become a full time author. I’ve been working odd and part time jobs and writing at night. I’m tired, but I’ve managed to produce 4 series, 9 individual titles, (All big/real books).

I’ve also produced 4 of these as audio books. (Invested $3500.00 just in the audio books).

I’m getting noticed and I’m getting awesome reviews on all of my books. I’m not however making enough to sit and write full time, (which would allow me to also sleep).

As a jaded sort of person, I have to admit that I snerked a little at five years of struggle. Everyone in the business can name someone who’s struggled for four times longer without achieving the goal of living off their writing. But that’s my person feeling, and it’s not necessarily wrong of Hawthorne to feel this way, even if it comes off as a bit entitled to other authors.

My goal is simple. I need to generate a $1000.00 a month. I do have partial support from my family. It’s not a full-time living by any means

Currently the sales of E-books and Audio books brings on average between $100-$200.00/month.

Again, considering I can name authors who make that figure per year, it’s difficult to sympathize. But no one is forced to donate to her campaign, so again, there’s nothing unethical about her sharing these feelings.

Most E-books sell for under $3.00, or less than a cup of coffee, and I get one dollar from that sale. Said E-book took me about 6 months to produce and roughly $1000.00 after paying for cover designers and editors.

Hold up. Her ebooks sell for under $3.00 a pop (less than a cup of coffee…why has a cup of coffee become a marker for what we should and shouldn’t spend our money on?), but her lowest donation amount is $5.00. For that $5.00 you get…

For $5, you get Hawthorne's "undying appreciation".

Hmmm. But whatever. She’s giving this information up front, so people donating know what they’re getting into, and they can spend their money to support her however they want.

Most readers are unaware it takes 20-30 hours of writing/editing/polishing time to produce 1 hour of readable/publishable material.

Show of hands, readers. How many of you are unaware that books take a lot of time and effort to produce?

Exactly.

Plus, it should take you longer than 20-30 hours to write a book, if you’re producing quality work. And 20-30 hours is a second job for most people. In other words…writing is already your job. Your second job. It just isn’t paying minimum wage.

Yes, its the most thankless, time consuming non-job on the planet.

The reasonable train has now just derailed and slammed into the station, causing mass casualties and millions of dollars of damage, lost wages, and worker compensation. First of all, if it’s a “non-job,” then it’s a hobby. And if you consider your hobby too “thankless and time consuming,” then you find a new hobby. Plus, I don’t consider writing a “non-job.” Since it’s, you know. My job. And a lot of other authors–even those who aren’t full-time writers–feel the same and probably strenuously object to this description.

Plus, writing is not thankless. If one person says they enjoy your stuff, that’s your thanks. Even if that’s all you ever received, you’ve been thanked. You’ve now effectively insulted all the readers who reach out to you and the reviewers who’ve given your book time and consideration. You threw away their “thanks” because it wasn’t thanks enough.

Does this mean that authors should work only for thanks and no compensation? Of course not. But while statistics often turn up a median living wage between $40k and $60k annually for writers, we have to take into account that some authors are paid astronomical sums for their work, likely bumping that median higher than what most authors are actually making. And as The Guardian reported in 2012, half of the authors in the self-publishing world make less than $500 per year. So in reality, Hawthorne is making more than what most indie authors can realistically expect to make.

Still, none of this is unethical. None of this is illegal. So why are people so mad?

hawthorne gofundme

For anyone who can’t read the text in the picture, it reads:

Karen Kennedy 4 hours ago

This is what the charming Payne Hawthorne thinks of people who told her she needs to hone her craft and stop asking for money from people to do something others have to work hard at. “Tonight, not sure why tonight, but my Gofundme campaign got a shit storm of negative comments. It’s been up for 2 weeks. I guess everyone just needed something to hate on. I wanted to say ‘Oh don’t hate me because I’m prettier than you,’ but I didn’t. I might however have called them cunts, or some derivation thereof, something like, Cock Juggling Thunder Cunts (that’s one of my favorites and if you’ve read Lumen, you’d recognize it).’ You’re not pretty, Payne, You’re thoughts make you unattractive to the core – listen to the advice given, go work hard and write something people would actually like to read and stop asking for a handout.

AC Marchman 1 hour ago

So you’re prettier than us? Cock juggling thunder cunts?? Really? You’re so classy. Please keep it up. And maybe if writing doesn’t work out (which it obviously hasn’t) then maybe get a full time job…

These comments were deleted from the GoFundMe page, but Hawthorne doesn’t deny making that Facebook update. In fact, as of writing this, it was still public on her personal Facebook page:

screenshot of Hawthorne's fb post, which is way too long for this box but which I'll dissect in text in the rest of the post. Second part of fb status update that's basically a novel.

Now we’ve reached the real meat and potatoes of this DON’T DO THIS EVER post. First of all:

Okay… please remember this is my personal page. Not a business page.

Here’s a big mistake you can easily avoid, authors: if you don’t want people to see it, don’t post it publicly on your Facebook page. Just saying, “This is my personal page” doesn’t take it off the record, especially if you’ve got readers and authors friended on that personal page. And making the post public? Also not a great idea.

After the “cock juggling thunder cunts” paragraph quoted by Karen Kennedy above, Hawthorne goes on to say:

The reason is simple. How dare these people judge me and condemn me for asking for help. Especially when I’ve not divulged anything else about myself apart from, I need help. I’m struggling in all aspects of my life at the moment. Plain and simple, if I don’t generate something soon, I very well might be at the corner with a cardboard sign asking for help.

Maybe that’s a part of the problem. She didn’t specify that she was in dire need. She said she didn’t want to work an outside job. The dire need was only mentioned, by her admission, two weeks into the campaign, and only after people objected to it.

Why does that garner a better response than what I’m doing? Does it? Do these same Pharisee judgmental bastards spit on the homeless beggars as much as they all just spit on me?

The reason it garners a better response is because for the most part, people are more willing to help someone in dire need than someone who’s asking to have their fantasy lifestyle indulged. The fact that Hawthorne left out the “cardboard sign” portion of her plight might very well have everything to do with the negative response she received, although if she were to include that bit of information, she might want to remove the part where she says she’s spent upwards of $3k producing her own audiobooks (which aren’t a part of many indie authors’ models for the simple fact that they do cost so much to produce, release, and distribute). It should go without saying that objecting to a controversial payment model is not in any way comparable to physically spitting on a homeless person.

I’m kind of shocked all these wonderful, upstanding citizens who apparently have full time jobs, and families, and they write full time as well, how do they have time to malign me? It’s really interested actually.

Is she accusing other authors of not working enough? I’m not sure what this has to do with anything.

I’d like to challenge each and every one of these wonderful women to a writing contest. How about an 80K (that’s 80,000 words people, not dollars!) novel. It needs to be fully edited, proofed and a professional cover designed for it. Oh, and they have only 6 months to do all this. Ok, go. Get back to me on this when you have time in between all the shit slinging. (Oh yeah, I’ve written 12 novels people! 12, over 70K word novel in less than 5 years!)

Okay. I accept the challenge. Let me check my watch. Yup, I won.

The output Hawthorne is bragging on isn’t any different from what many indie authors are producing, many in much shorter time frame. Hawthorne seems to be under the impression that authors are paid for the volume they produce, when the truth is, we’re not even paid for the quality we produce. It’s clear that she feels cheated by readers because they haven’t thrown gobs of money in her face, but that’s not the way the industry has ever worked.

And what happened to the old adage; It never hurts to ask? When was the last time you asked someone for something and they turned all venomous on you? Like turned it back around to make you feel like shit for asking? Did I just manage to block all the passive aggressive bitches lingering in the trenches? Good!

I agree, there’s nothing wrong with asking for something. People were mad when Stacey Jay asked for money to finish her series, it’s true, but mostly it was because she flatly said that she wouldn’t be finishing her series if her Kickstarter goal wasn’t met, and negative opinions were generally centered around that; readers felt the book was being held hostage. But for the most part, just asking isn’t a bad thing at all. I’ve done it. I’ve got a Patreon, and I used to accept Google wallet donations. Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” TED Talk changed my life, because I realized that I could ask for help. Did people think I was being a jerk for asking? Yup. And I still get the occasional email or Facebook message saying that I shouldn’t have a Patreon for my blog. People have a hard time accepting a crowd-funded model. This isn’t news to the industry.

How dare you come to my page, my house, and insult me the way you all just did! How dare you treat me like a less than because I’m asking for help. In what world do we live in where if someone is humble enough to ask, we treat them like shit?

But Hawthorne wasn’t humble. Her GoFundMe description indicated that she felt she deserved more than what most people are making for doing the same job. Again, nothing at all wrong with asking, but publicly declaring that you haven’t been thanked enough or compensated to the standards you expected isn’t being humble. It’s asking with one hand and doling out ingratitude with the other.

Seriously people? I know full well that most, if not all of you who I spent the entire evening deleting and blocking, are Christians. How dare you treat someone else, anyone, and especially another child of Jesus the way you all treated me tonight.

What’s Jesus’ policy on calling people “cock juggling thunder cunts” or comparing your desire for a full-time writing job to being homeless? I’m not a child of Jesus, so I’m a little unclear here.

It’s not only absurd, but malignant and cancerous, and no, I will not stoop to a reply. You don’t deserve the space for the comment in the first place. And yes, I delete and block all of you. I don’t care if I lose every single friend.

She said, in her reply, which she will not stoop to make.

I made myself from nothing and got this far all by myself. You have no fucking idea what I’ve been through or how hard I’ve struggled to get to where I am. No fucking idea! How dare you pre-judge me without even knowing me! And funny thing, not one of the twenty something blocks I enacted tonight were friends. They know nothing about me in the slightest.

This paragraph highlights exactly what people have been objecting to every time an author puts up a GoFundMe or a Kickstarter asking for living wages while working on their books. Every author struggles. Even mega names like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have struggled. Yes, even E.L. “astronomical success out of nowhere” James produced her work without expectation of payment at the beginning. No one is guaranteed success or money for their work in any artistic field. Is it right or fair? No, but no small business owner is guaranteed success. And that’s what authorship is. It’s running a small business.

One of my friends on Facebook suggested that authors have started taking the “starving artist” thing a little too close to heart. Maybe that’s so. But Hawthorne seems to be suggesting that every author who objects to crowdfunding has never known a taste of struggle. We all have. Believe me.

So yes, I called them, Cock Juggling Thunder Cunts for a reason. They are! I pity the men in their lives. I pity their children. Run far, run wide. How dare they malign me in such a way, in my house no less!

Back it up, drama queen. The internet isn’t your house. And while Hawthorne has every right to delete negative comments from her Facebook or remove people from her online life if they’re causing her psychological stress, no one has actually come into her house and attacked her. And again, trying to take the moral Christian high ground while calling people cunts and suggesting they’re somehow abusive to their families (who should leave them) isn’t a tactic likely to open wallets.

Yes, they are fucking cunts and if that means I am excising potential readers, so be it! I wouldn’t want them in my life or my words. My words are precious and every single story I write is one of my children.

Honestly, I would be less turned off by an author calling someone a cunt than I would be reading them calling their words “precious” or their books their children. That’s honestly the red flag that keeps me away from a lot of authors, and I know this is true of other readers, too.

And on a final note, have any of you heard of sponsors for artists? Like seriously people, starving artists get donations all the time. I personally know of quite a few authors who have kickstarters or crowdfunding campaigns. What is the difference between me asking for help and some other artist being gifted money to continue painting, or sculpting or what have you. I simply don’t get it.

And here’s where we reach another real problem with her campaign. Patrons of the arts give money so that art can be created. But they’re not under an obligation to purchase that art after it’s produced. If I donate money to someone working on a screenplay, I probably get a copy of the movie for free. If I become a regular donor to the local symphony, I probably get better seats or free tickets for some kind of upcoming gala or something. Patrons give artists money to ensure that future creations will be funded. But what Hawthorne is offering to readers is material that’s already been produced (other levels upward of $5 are offered audiobooks or ebook collections from her backlist), and it’s assumed that she still expects readers to pay for her books in the future. Other authors who crowdfund their projects offer the future product to their backers, not the work they’ve already produced.

So it offends you? Move along, walk away, slither back into the shadows. What gives you the right to kick me when I am at my most vulnerable?

None of these people knew that Hawthorne was at her “most vulnerable” based on her GoFundMe page. What they saw was a writer describing the average life and larger than average compensation of any indie author and asking for more. And while there’s nothing wrong with asking, some people don’t like the model. If they sent abusive comments, that’s not right. But neither is suggesting that anyone who disagrees is just jealous because she’s prettier than they are, or calling them “cock juggling thunder cunts,” which is, by the way, not original to Hawthorne’s book, but a well known and often quoted insult from Blade: Trinity. 

Whatever your stance on author crowdfunding, invoking Jesus and Christianity, comparing your larger-than-average author salary to the life of a homeless person, repeatedly insulting authors and readers, and invoking hardships you’ve never previously mentioned as a way to shame people into giving you money in your very public author meltdown is a big, big Don’t Do This Ever.

 

179 Comments

  1. Stella
    Stella

    That lovely Cock jugging comment is a line fro Blade Trinity. Hannibal King says it to Parker Posey’s character Danica Talos.

    So great for ripping off a movie quote and passing it off as your own

    But I agree… this is badly done. And A Patreon would have been fine… I know tons of people using them. She didnt think… and cleary doesnt have the knowledge of how to go about this industry correctly, which also means that she isnt surrounding herself with allies (all of which would have told her to NOT DO THIS AT ALL). Sad, but the lack of known professionalism in the indie world these days is insane.

    September 14, 2015
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    • Elisabeth
      Elisabeth

      I recognized the insult immediately, and I suspect a lot of other people did too. And wow, that’s one of the most epic author temper tantrums I’ve ever seen.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • JC
      JC

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and say her charming personality isn’t exactly suited for “surrounding herself with allies”. People don’t tend to want to help you if you’re an asshole.

      September 15, 2015
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    • Petra47
      Petra47

      That’s exactly where I added it to my vocabulary from.

      September 18, 2015
      |Reply
  2. Sigh. I’ve been published for about a year and I’ve made $30 in profits. (Like, I made more than that, but I had to pay for some stuff too.) Am I ungrateful for that? No. Every time I get a deposit from Amazon for $10 I think “Cool, free pizza.” At no point will I think that I deserve recognition or money. I have to earn it and/or get lucky.

    September 14, 2015
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  3. Jessi
    Jessi

    “So yes, I called them, Cock Juggling Thunder Cunts for a reason. They are! I pity the men in their lives. I pity their children.”

    Have some misogyny with this pile of bullshit, for good measure.

    And btw, I’d bet more money than she thinks she’s entitled to that actual homeless people are abused much more severely on a regular basis than she was by this negative feedback.

    September 14, 2015
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    • xebi
      xebi

      Yeah, cos obviously all women have male partners and children, because that’s what women are for dammit.

      September 14, 2015
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      • Yeah, and because it was only women who were commenting. *Eye roll* Plenty of men commented as well. Sigh. There were a lot of authors trying to tell her not to do this (not the GFM, but the rant), and rather than listening to them, she blocked them and called them all cunts and haters. For. Trying. To. Help. Her. For trying to talk her out of committing career suicide. Oh well. Can’t fix stupid, and the trolls are starting to ding her books with 1-stars.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
        • Spockchick
          Spockchick

          Agreed, that aspect was odd (as if the rest wasn’t!) that all her venom was directed at women. What she said was bizarre, and she seems to lack any self-reflection or perspective. But re-reading the rant, it seems like she may genuinely be mentally unwell. I found her diatribe to be disturbing, although that is not an excuse for such behaviour.

          September 18, 2015
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  4. Avalon
    Avalon

    Translation: “Waaaaaaaaah, why won’t people just give me money for being pretty and awesome? I don’t get it, it’s not like I’m asking for anything important, and it will go to helping me be more pretty and awesome! That’s a worthwhile cause!!

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  5. I’ve never heard of her, and if her books are written anything like her Facebook post or her plea on her crowd-funding page, I think I know why she’s not making a lot of money…

    September 14, 2015
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    • Serious apostrophe abuse on her Twitter page as well, not to mention spelling mistakes. Perhaps she could spend the money she raises on a dictionary and a good ‘how to write’ book.

      September 15, 2015
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    • Ha! I hadn’t read through the comments yet when I commented, but I said much the same thing. 🙂

      September 15, 2015
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  6. This whole mess reminds me of something I heard on The Dana Gould Hour where he reads from a series of letters between Rod Serling and a struggling writer named Frank Thompson. The writer (a former college prof who had quit his job to become a full-time writer) had sent a letter to Serling asking for patronage. Serling’s response (in part, it’s somewhat trimmed down):

    Most writers I know hold down crummy jobs, and then do their freelancing on kitchen tables late at night. I think your best bet is to work whenever time is available – this is what I did.

    Thompson’s response didn’t include “cock juggling thunder cunts” or Jesus, but it was about as pissy.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
      • Thanks for the link. The episode mentioned the magazine where they had been first reproduced but not a website where they could be found (and my own Googlefu was lacking).

        September 15, 2015
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      • SandorClegane13
        SandorClegane13

        Reading Rod Serling’s replies in the same tones and inflections he used in the Twilight Zone intros made this all the more enjoyable.

        I must say, after reading the Hawthorne rants in this blog post, Frank Thompson’s manners seemed impeccable by comparison.

        September 15, 2015
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  7. Megan M.
    Megan M.

    On the one hand, when I read things about what it’s like to have people attacking you with angry messages online, it seems utterly terrifying and stressful, and I can’t imagine that anyone handles it well. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that this author believed calling people “cock juggling thunder cunts” (an apparently plagiarized insult, no less) would be helpful in any way.

    Now my brain is playing “which is worse?” : cock-juggling thunder cunts OR cum-burping gutter slut?

    September 14, 2015
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    • I’m leaning towards cum-burping only because that sounds genuinely unpleasant. Cock-juggling sounds like a party trick.

      September 14, 2015
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      • I was thinking the same thing! It could be part of a carnival sideshow!

        “Annnnd in this tent, The Amazing Cock-Juggling Thunder Cunt!”

        September 14, 2015
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        • Gray
          Gray

          christ, you guys crack me up. LOL.

          September 18, 2015
          |Reply
    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      I immediately thought of that insult from Apolonia, too! 😉

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • Lady Oscar
      Lady Oscar

      This post totally solved a mystery for me. Years back I watched a Blade movie on a basic cable channel. While laughing at the endless string of dubbed euphemisms like “hoo hoo”, I was confused by a character apparently cursing someone out with what sounded like ” you croc-juggling chunder humper”. Ever since, I have wondered. Now I know.

      September 15, 2015
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      • Spockchick
        Spockchick

        Squeal! That is priceless! Thanks 🙂

        September 18, 2015
        |Reply
    • I can’t decide whether I love you or hate you more, right now.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  8. Artemis
    Artemis

    …has she actually seen the way people react to panhandlers? Because I feel like she maybe has not, if she thinks panhandling on the street gets “a better response” than attempts at online crowdfunding.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  9. Petra (Merlinslaugh)
    Petra (Merlinslaugh)

    Do we really have to have the whole ‘books are not your children they’re a product you offer for sale’ conversation again? I mean do we? Though in all fairness is really does seem to be proving itself to be the shorthand for ‘I’m being a dick’ behavior by certain authors (Kathleen Hale pops to mind as does the author of the gem Jen’s recapping at the moment who isn’t EL James). The problem with this “it’s my baby” cry is that it somehow posits a book as being more meaningful, more worthwhile and therefore more deserving of funds, than any other product. Don’t get me wrong, I am a lifelong reader, a lover of books who will need to move homes soon just to house my library, who was a student for more years than I care to count simply so I could read for a living, but that’s not to say I put it on a pedalstool above other art, or even the ‘artistry’ of the guy who got my washing machine working (that’s pure magic as far as I’m concerned). Why should you get paid over and above the cost of your product over that author over there or (for the sake of this argument) that guy who fixed my washer? Oh because the book is your child you say? Well here’s a heads up for free; kids are expensive if you can’t afford them don’t write them maybe?

    Honestly this stuff gets me really mad and it’s not that I have a problem with someone asking for cash, even in the tone deaf way this person did; I don’t. I do have a problem with her response to criticism which ran something like; “poor me, my life is hard, book babies, you meanies, grrr, plagiarized awful insult, oh woe is me, insult, insult, the end.” Don’t get me started on that insult that she most definitely tried to pass off as her own work (if you’ve read my book…) because with that proverbial nail I’m afraid if that’s the best she’s got maybe the problem with her books not selling is closer to home than she thinks – just a thought. I also think that asking $5 for “appreciation” is a bit rich (especially when her books are only $3) and kinda defeats the purpose of the whole appreciation thing in the first place. The upshot for me to all of this, wether it be her problems with affording to write, or her apalling reaction to questions/criticism, is if you can’t stand the heat step away from the keyboard.

    September 14, 2015
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    • Lucy
      Lucy

      Are we nit supposed to sell our babies? *twitchy eyes* Her babies are cheap though. A cup of coffee equals a baby. Bargain!!!

      September 14, 2015
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      • Mandi Rei Serra
        Mandi Rei Serra

        I can’t call my writing my babies. I. Just. Can’t.

        My writing is a product, one meant to be gutted and rebuilt into something better. My writing is Frankenstein’s Monster, not a damn baby I have to coddle and hug and change stinky diapers and burp, before watching it take its first steps, then BAM, it’s college and I’m holding my hankie to my face while mopping away proud mommy tears.

        However, the Ideas Behind The Writing… well, those are more special than the words used to emote it. As long as the ideas remain intact, do what thou will.

        Funny story: my first novel, I spent almost ten years on, workshopping and editing, and just trying to get to the level of perfection I demanded of myself. I still consider that work to be more literature than anything else, and I am proud to have produced it (even though it does have some issues with internalized misogyny and what not). Second novel? Pumped out in 6 months, not my best work, yet it has outsold the *good* novel time and again. It’s disheartening, but it doesn’t keep me from working on other tales so I can purge them from my mind.

        Payne Hawthorne sounds like an unpleasant person. I can’t trust people who proclaim to be followers of Jesus yet actions demonstrate another avenue of action. Calling people names isn’t Christ-like, imho, especially when the name calling is focused on debasing people. Not cool.

        September 15, 2015
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    • Laughing Giraffe
      Laughing Giraffe

      I totally get the whole “my art is my kids” thing, I really do. However, just as I don’t expect most people to love me as my much as my mom does, I don’t expect most of my audience to feel the same about my plays as I do.

      September 14, 2015
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      • As a fellow writer, I get MAYBE thinking like that of your first draft, when it’s still messy and new and doesn’t know any better and no one else will see it and take care of it but you. Maybe then it’s your baby.

        But after that? Uh, no. After that it’s a product and no one’s obliged to love and pamper it just because you worked hard to help it grow.

        It’s just so cringe worthy to hear authors still use that as an excuse.

        September 14, 2015
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        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          When I was in Grad school, my professors didn’t just circumcise my baby. They castrated the poor sucker. You want that degree (or in her case, that editor’s acceptance letter/self-publishing readership)? You let them do whatever they have to do to your precious baby, and you THANK them and ask for another, just like in Animal House.

          September 14, 2015
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          • I’m working on my MA in Creative Writing and have several writing workshop classes and holy shit this so hard.. Sure, it feels like death by a thousand cuts sometimes, but you don’t get a princess-cut diamond without bring out the saw.

            September 15, 2015
        • Lindsay
          Lindsay

          Yeah, I agree. I think the other problem with thinking of your work as you’re baby after a first draft is that it limits your ability to be critical and objective. Whenever an author says their work is their baby, red flags go off in my head because it makes me concerned that those are the ones who are going to have a lot of trouble editing their work and taking criticism. Your books are a product. And as a piece of media, they will be and should be subject to objective criticism.

          September 15, 2015
          |Reply
  10. Andrea Taylor
    Andrea Taylor

    Isn’t the payout for a $2.99 book on Amazon more than $1?

    Her books are on KU, so I’m going to check one out. The first one that came up, the main character is named Payne, who is apparently trapped in a loveless marriage and wishing that her real family would come from outer space and take her way. Hoo boy.

    September 14, 2015
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    • xebi
      xebi

      Really? She didn’t even attempt to disguise her Mary Sue? Brilliant.

      September 14, 2015
      |Reply
  11. I think you nailed it all, Jenny. I think if she’d let her patrons know she was really struggling and not just hoping for the fantasy lifestyle, I think she would’ve gotten a better response. I also think it interesting that it took two weeks for this to come out, so someone got incensed and outted her, which wasn’t really necessary, but that’s a bell that can’t be unrung. I agree it never hurts to ask and she certainly had hoodzpah to do so, but I’m not convinced to help when she wants operating expenses rather than extra funds for a special (or additional project). I’ve helped on 2 kickstarter projects and received not only a copy of the book produced (coffee table photography books), but in one my name is listed as a donor. That’s pretty cool. Anyway, your post nailed exactly the whys behind my dismay at her gofundme request.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
    • Sara
      Sara

      It’s not been two weeks. Today is only day 9.

      Her attitude continues, and I can’t help but watch her spiral further and further until she disappears into obscurity…

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  12. Lucy
    Lucy

    I agree with most of your post.

    But (even though you didn’t say that) sometimes people who post on those calls for help just seem annoyed that others might get things done sooner. It’s a whole ‘I had to suffer, so you have to suffer too!’. Often if someone new catches a quick break (through luck, or with a helping hand) it seems like more established people don’t take them seriously because they skipped the ‘long sufferering’ bit. Rather than thinking ‘I suffered for a long time, and life was really hard, and I wish I’d been so lucky, but I’m glad they were spared all that.’ I guess it is really difficult to see others succeed more easily where you didn’t.

    Especially if someone just plain sucks at what they do and/or are horrible people. But then you’re completely justified in disliking them for their insta-success and your wish to see them fall :D. Fuck those people!

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  13. Sushi
    Sushi

    Another day, another awful author to add to my ‘do not buy, do not even pirate’ list of which Anne Rice still holds the number one spot.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  14. This was just so perfectly written that I want to hug you. I DESPISE people who troll authors (or anyone, really!), making shitty, unnecessary comments (I just don’t understand the point of hurting someone, especially someone working up from nothing, just for 5 minutes of personal gratification — but that’s why I’m not a troll).

    I’m 100% for crowdfunding (even helped a friend whose book I wasn’t planning to read just because I wanted to see him get a better shot at success, even though I never even considered this an option for me — and still don’t — that’s ME, and I have nothing against other people doing it).

    But this author. That response. No. NO no no no no. Every response you had: totally on point. And hell, it was pretty freaking polite, too. Does it hurt to have people attack you? Hell yes. Fuck all that ‘grow thicker skin’ shit — that’s what leads to assholes who troll people. But do you engage them, and worse, throw a public tantrum like this? No.

    Also, seriously, if someone is dropping $5 on your campaign, you let them have an ebook or two. And let them pick. It’s SO not hard. That should be the MINIMUM thanks (give your heartfelt thanks at a dollar — those single dollars can add up, too). But then, I’m never going to get rich because I care more about people enjoying my works than I do about money. You don’t become an author for money.

    And I don’t get the ‘thankless’ part. The thanks I have received from my readers mean the absolute world to me. Yes, I’d like money with it, lol! Who wouldn’t? But knowing that there are people who love my worlds and characters? I’m sorry, but that is the ENTIRE reason I write. It’s the reason I told stories to my classmates and made up narratives for games with friends when I was in primary school. Someone laughing at a joke is thanks. Someone asking for the next release date is thanks. In this day and age, writers have more opportunities for thanks than ever before.

    All writers should read this as an example of what to never do. True title, through and through. And not just the indie ones by far. Oh no. There are NTY Bestselling authors that need to read this, too and take Wheaton’s rule to heart: Don’t be a dick. Juggling dicks, however, sounds like an amusing party trick.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
    • There were some crummy comments on her GFM, but most of the “bullying” comments on her Facebook post were other authors telling her she needed to take the rant down and edit her message on the GFM before the REAL trolls hit, that writing is a tough business and simply asking for help wasn’t going to make it any easier (because, let’s face it, the pity money she gets has NOTHING to do with book sales and is, thus, short-lived assistance), and that if her books aren’t selling, she needs to take a step back, figure out why (blurbs, covers, editing, storytelling ability, etc. aren’t catching readers attention, she isn’t advertising enough, and so on), and fix it. For genuinely helpful (albeit “tough-love”) advice like that, those authors were blocked, deleted, and called “cunts” and “haters”. She needs to either open her eyes and realize exactly what success in this business requires or get out because she apparently can’t handle the truth of what writing and publishing is.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  15. Jenn
    Jenn

    I looked at the preview of one of her books, one that looks like it has Mr. Tumnus does Debbie on the cover. Inside the book are 4 images, which apparently are the characters of the book… one of those has a copyright stamp on it. In general, when you license an image for your own commercial use it doesn’t come with that stamp on it. But when you steal it off the internet, it does. Did she license them? Maybe, she doesn’t credit anyone on the ©page if she did. I’m just going to leave this right here without further comment.

    Artists trying to survive and make money and all.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  16. I wish this was on WP, because I really want to reblog this. If she has 12 novels and is making $200 a month, she’s focusing on the wrong issue. Instead of writing a book every couple months, it sounds like she needs to take her time and work on marketing what she already has. I’m so tired of this entitled nation.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  17. Laina
    Laina

    Maybe the problem for her is that it only takes 20-30 hours to write and edit a book… or do I just read too fast? Because an hour of reading is about how long it takes me to read 200-300 pages.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
    • From the looks of it, she isn’t doing very much editing. Perhaps that accounts for the surprisingly quick turnaround time.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
      • JennyTrout
        JennyTrout

        Meanwhile, avid readers will easily finish an 80k book in 1 – 2 hours.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
      • Laina
        Laina

        TEN HOURS?????

        I don’t – unless it is boring me and I am ENRAGED by it and have to stop frequently because I hate it so much, I don’t think I’ve ever ran into a book that took me 10 hours. I read the first 3 Twilight books in a freaking day when I was much younger and less likely to have prolonged periods of reading force me to actually wear my glasses.

        Okay, now you’ve got me googling how long her books are. *goes to Amazon* Ooof her covers are… not great. That font is free on PicMonkey *cough*

        282 pages.
        470 pages.
        407 pages.
        297 pages.
        145 pages.
        310 pages.

        (Unrelated note – her “about the author” is 360 pages long.)

        So, average of 318.5 pages per book. We’ll round that to 319. I know not everyone reads at the same rate, but even at 1 page a minute that’s less than 5 hours.

        If it takes you 10 hours to read that much, no problem! You do you.

        But to assume that EVERYONE reads at that rate seems… unwise.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
        • Laina
          Laina

          *360 WORDS. Not pages. I haven’t slept. Be shocked I could do math XD

          September 15, 2015
          |Reply
  18. Jen
    Jen

    I am curious as to where this woman lives?!? She is asking to make $1000.00 a month from a crowd-funding site so she can write full-time (which may or may not produce actual books- I didn’t see anything regarding additional material for her fans). That is $52,000 a year. This is higher than the average U.S. household income! I would be willing to bet that a large percentage of people reading her material do not even make this much money.
    I’m all for helping people, especially people I consider friends. If Jenny came online one day and said “oh my gosh, I’m broke and I need help to pay my electric bill!” I would help in a heartbeat, and with no expectation of getting free stuff. And I honestly think there are plenty of people out there that would help this author, but I believe that the turn-off comes from the amount she wants to make to (in essence) do nothing.
    I’ve run into this in my personal life also: a friend crowd-funding a baby when both she and her husband were able-bodied, degreed adults with full-time jobs. She got a house and a new car (and a baby), but lost a friend.
    I am really starting to hate the idea of crowd funding.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
    • Barbarella
      Barbarella

      1000.00 x 12 = 12,000.00.

      Was your $52,000 a typo?

      If she works 40 hours a week she’s asking for less than minimum wage. I can’t fault her for the amount.

      September 14, 2015
      |Reply
      • Yeah I actually think the amount she’s asking for isn’t that nuts. By hours, with that salary, it’d be like a part time job with not stellar pay, but pay nonetheless.

        It’s just her attitude, casual sexism, randomly bringing up Jesus–it’s all a mess.

        September 14, 2015
        |Reply
        • JennyTrout
          JennyTrout

          I don’t think it’s an astronomical sum to ask for, but it’s definitely not quit-your-dayjob money.

          September 15, 2015
          |Reply
      • Jen
        Jen

        It’s was a bad math/brain error. I wrote month, but thought it was week. $1000 a month isn’t bad… $1000/week is grotesque.

        September 18, 2015
        |Reply
    • $1000 a month is $12,000 a year, since there are 12 months in a year. I think you are thinking of weeks, maybe, of which there are 52? 😉

      September 14, 2015
      |Reply
    • KAYSAL
      KAYSAL

      That is only 12,000 a year. FYI. 1000 ×12 =12,000.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • Mandi Rei Serra
      Mandi Rei Serra

      She lives in Fort Bragg, California. Northern coastal area. Tourist town that blows up during the summer and dwindles with winter. Gorgeous area with little job opportunities outside the service sector, which again, gets downsized seasonally.

      I love the area. Got married in a victorian B&B (ooh with a ballroom and Swedish breakfast!) and got my first anniversary gift (paper being traditional) via tattoo from the Tattoo Museum. Lumber is the main export; there’s Noyo Harbor and a fishing fleet, but again, they seem to favor tourists.

      In the interview that Sara posted, Payne states she worked for one of the horse facilities– yeah, riding a horse on the beach, that’s a thing… a tourist-driven thing.

      So, obviously, the best thing for her would be to relocate to some place that supports year-long jobs. One goes to Fort Bragg to vacation, perhaps retire if one has the funds for it (the village of Mendocino is pretty much an artist commune) … but the locals have a harder time making a go of it with the economy that city is based. Everything has to be trucked in on gnarly, windy roads through the mountains, prices are high (except for alcohol, because that dulls the reality of living in a tourist trap) and while the town used to be a lumber/mill, that’s faded away considerably.

      Side note: went to Fort Bragg last October (highly recommend going off-season, much less crowded and the autumn weather was perfect) and here’s a vid of a beach about fifteen minutes north of Payne Hawthorn’s stomping grounds.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
      • JennyTrout
        JennyTrout

        Yeah, but not everyone can afford to move from their town, especially if it’s a place they’ve been for a long time, or if their spouse’s job is there.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
        • Mandi Rei Serra
          Mandi Rei Serra

          That is true, which makes me wonder if she grew up in the area or is an import.

          September 15, 2015
          |Reply
        • Laina
          Laina

          I moved a little over 4 blocks in my town this month.

          It cost about a thousand dollars.

          To move 4 blocks.

          We still haven’t paid the security desposit (it’s lenient due to the nature of our housing), and bills with transfer fees haven’t started rolling in. Moving is freaking EXPENSIVE. And 12 grand a year is well below poverty, isn’t it? I assume they have other income, but if you’re working at that income level, it certainly is not easy to come up with moving costs, let alone other factors.

          September 15, 2015
          |Reply
      • I think it also bares mentioning that living in California isn’t exactly, well, cheap.

        September 17, 2015
        |Reply
    • Brandi
      Brandi

      That’s what my husband and I make in a year, both working full-time with degrees. So yeah, she’s asking a lot.

      And your friend had some pretty big stones to crowd fund a freaking CHILD! I feel bad asking my friends to cat sit for me.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • Actually, that’s $12,000 a year at the $1000/month stated.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • Tam
      Tam

      Payne Hawthorne is a 48 year-old redhead who lives in Northern California where she is an accomplished equestrian and horse trainer, and has a corgi named Ginger. In just about every book she has written, her female protagonist is a forty-something redhead, works with horses, has a corgi, and hails from California. I guess she’s a “write what you know” kind of person. All of her stories have disclaimers where she tells people outright that if they are looking for good spelling and punctuation then they need to go elsewhere. This from the person who claimed to pay $1000 to have her work edited. Also, she has to say (in all caps) that the mythical creatures in her stories (demons, werewolves, et al) “DO NOT EXIST.” Because people need to be reminded of this, I suppose.

      I am one of the people who tried to tell her that even Stephen King struggled in his early years as an author, that I know professional authors who have been writing for 50 years, won awards, had books adapted to TV and film, and yet still have to do other jobs (teaching, etc). I did this to show her that she was not alone in her struggle. She deleted my comment and blocked me on FB so I couldn’t see the rant (a friend shared it with me) that ensued. My recommendation that she learn to accept criticism and show humility were completely lost on her. I even told her that I am disabled, live hand to mouth, and my health often makes it difficult for me to write but I still do it and would never ask people to give me $1000/mo to produce two novels a year (which seems to be her speed).

      But her childish rant, and the way she treated anyone who didn’t fall at her feet in worship, made me less sympathetic toward her. I concluded that she is nothing more than a self-entitled, egotistical brat who will always envision herself as some kind of fairy princes (or, according to one of her books, the Queen of Light and Love). Frankly, I cannot decide which sucks more: her writing, or her attitude. Maybe both.

      September 16, 2015
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I still think she has serious issues and SOME compassion is in order, but I have to admit, I have less sympathy now that I know about the “accomplished equestrian” thing. I’m an UN-accomplished equestrian who can barely sit a trot, but I love horses, can’t afford to board one or even go trail-riding very often, and if my day job were working with horses, I wouldn’t want to give it up! I had a state government job when I was finishing my degree (not enough teaching sections available), and I did my research at lunch, night, and on weekends. Compared to a government job, I’d have to deal with a lot LESS horse-shit if I were working in a stable.

        BTW, I know a vocal coach who pays his bills with voice students, music directing shows, accompanying people for auditions or cabaret shows, and transcription, and he STILL manages to churn out unpublished fantasy novels and short stories at a terrifying rate. (On the other hand, the guy doesn’t sleep.)

        September 16, 2015
        |Reply
        • Tam
          Tam

          My sister played a recorded radio talk show Ms. Hawthorne has posted on her website and as we listened, we both agreed the woman sounds like she needs help. She goes on and on in her blog about her intimate relationship with Jesus, how she had been married but her husband realized he was not The One she was waiting for and left, how she had lost her “partner” (I’m not sure if she’s talking about her dog or her horse) of 11 years and the resulting grief which drove her to start writing. Hey, I get that — as do many writers. We often turn to writing as part of an emotional catharsis. And I struggle with mental illness, getting treatment in the form of therapy and medication. I have bad days where I can lash out at people. But then I feel bad and apologize because I know it’s not right and not fair for me to do that. Ms. Hawthorne does not have that kind of self-knowledge. She probably never sought professional grief counseling after her loss. Her attitude toward anyone who tries to help her become a better writer is piss-poor and inexcusable. She has no remorse for the way she treats others, too quickly painting herself as the victim of bullying while laughing as she calls people names and deletes their comments. Yes, she is messed up. I am trying to have sympathy for her but instead I am frustrated and annoyed.

          David Gerrold, an accomplished author whose “The Trouble with Tribbles” is one of the most famous episodes of Star Trek ever written, just posted a wonderful essay on writing today. I am C/P here because I love what he said about always starting over at the bottom even when you’ve been to the top many times. If Ms. Hawthorne could step outside the room full of mirrors where all she can see is herself and her glory, and read this, it might do her some good.

          I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are writers and actors and directors and painters and etc.

          Some are beginners. Some are accomplished. Some are considered masters in their fields.

          The ones who are considered masters are mostly people who’ve been around for twenty or thirty or forty or fifty years and who have a large body of work to demonstrate that they know their craft. Most of the ones who are considered masters have a distinctive and recognizable voice — they have a style or even a “brand.”

          What makes someone a master … ? Well, yes, a large part of it is ability. A larger part is determination, commitment, follow-through, and being too stubborn to quit. And the third part is years and years and years of demonstrating those qualities. (There’s something else too, but I’ll save that for the end.)

          Nobody starts out as a recognized master. Okay, a lot of us are lucky enough to get noticed for a particularly good debut novel. Some of us write one good novel and we’re done. (Confederacy of Dunces, To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind, Frankenstein.)

          But most of us have to climb the ladder the old-fashioned way, one rung at a time. We learn by writing short stories, then novelettes, then finally a novella, and eventually, a real novel. The whole thing is a learning process, a struggle toward literacy. (I’m the outlier. My first real sale was a TV script.)

          I said it some 45 years ago in one of my first books — you have to write a million words before you’re a writer. That has since become a meme. I’m more convinced today that it’s true. That first million words builds up muscle memory. More than that, the third or fourth time you type a cliche, a bad phrase, a terrible simile, you start to notice how truly offal(!) it is and you start looking for better ways, more precise ways, to express the thought.

          That’s where you really learn how to write — by examining each sentence as you type it, listening to the sound of the words, riding the rhythm of the syllables, speaking it aloud in your head, and selecting from the near-infinite set of possibilities in front of you not only what you want to say, but the most interesting way to say it. You start striving for eloquence as well as precision. You look for the surprise in each sentence, each paragraph, each thought. And eventually, you might even realize that simplest is best. How did Hemingway write about sunrise? “The sun rose.”

          But with that first million words of experience, you also learn when to write, “Dawn stretched cold blue shadows sideways across the land.”

          That first million words is only one rung on the ladder. There’s the second and third and tenth million words. Quantity is a path toward quality. Not the only path, but if you’re paying attention, it can be. If you’re still writing the same thing, you haven’t learned anything. But if you’ve recognized how the challenges keep shifting, then your skill with the craft keeps growing. That’s the real challenge for any author — what challenges is he or she going to take on? And who does he or she have to become to meet those challenges head on?

          I don’t think the current dichotomy in the field is a new one — it’s one that has always existed in a lot of different forms in a lot of different places. It’s a symptom of the stress that occurs between those who are happy in the comfort zone and those who are curious about what’s possible in the risk zone.

          There’s a very human condition — we all live in that same place. We are all living in the center of our own universe — and everything around us is either a yipe or a goodie. If we like it, it’s a goodie. If it doesn’t fit our pictures of how the universe should work, it’s a yipe. Once we make that distinction, we are giving into judgment, our little pictures of right and wrong. Even worse, we express our judgments as if they are facts. And then we wonder why other people argue with us about what should be so immediately obvious about what is good and what isn’t. Everybody has their own judgments, their own tastes and distastes. Sometimes, the best times, they can elucidate their views so well, we learn something, we gain insight. But most of the time, we just assign them a judgment of disrespect. How dare they disagree?

          There’s another way to be. Some people call it “enlightenment.” Over here, I consider it a sublimated exhaustion. “The universe is going to do exactly what it is designed to do. That’s all right with me. I’ll work over here, on the part that I can control.”

          Coming back to the bottom of the ladder — a place I feel I am at every time I start a new story — if you’ve never climbed the ladder, if you’re still on the beginning rungs, if you’ve gotten just high enough to have a slightly better view — you probably still have a lot of beliefs about what the rest of the ladder is like and how to climb it. (Whether or not those beliefs are accurate is neither here nor there. They’re still beliefs, because there’s no real experience to support them.)

          So, you do the human thing — you make up a story about the stuff you don’t know —

          Oh, yeah — that’s one of the most human things of all. The human mind cannot stand not knowing. So whenever the most obvious sentence to speak is, “I don’t know,” what falls out of our mouths instead is usually some made-up bullshit, because somewhere we’ve wired ourselves up to believe that “I don’t know” is the worst possible thing in the world to say.

          It goes back to grammar school. The teacher would call on you — you don’t know the answer. But rather than say, “I don’t know,” because that would make you look stupid, you make something up, you guess — hoping that your guess will somehow save you from looking stupid. Because looking stupid is worse than dying. We’d rather die than say, “I don’t know.” And, of course, in grammar school, looking stupid is a kind of death, isn’t it?

          And by the time we get to junior high or high school or college, we’ve become self-programmed masters in the art of making shit up so we won’t have to say “I don’t know.”

          But the truth is — “I don’t know” is one of the best sentences in the world, because the sentence that follows it is, “Let’s find out.” That’s where real learning occurs.

          And I think this is one of the key pieces of mastery — being able to say, “I don’t know how to do this. I’m going to study this thing, I’m going to figure it out. And I’m going to build something that meets this challenge.”

          The question of mastery is one that I’ve been studying since 1981. My first run at it was that Mastery begins as a willingness to not know. But that’s insufficient. Mastery is a continuing willingness to challenge what’s possible so as to expand the limits of what’s possible.

          A competent practitioner of the craft will produce consistently good work, but a master — a true master — will reinvent the craft. He or she will redefine the craft itself. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Stravinsky, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Lennon/McCartney, John Coltrane, Hitchcock, John Ford, David Lean, Kubrick, Tarantino, Heinlein, Ellison, LeGuin, Herbert, Niven, Tolkien, Pratchett, King, and so on. That’s mastery.

          You get there by climbing the ladder — and when you run out of ladder, you build more ladder. And as near as I can tell, there are no shortcuts. Dammit.”

          September 16, 2015
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            All true, and works for acting too. I’m way better than I was when I started, by even my last show, a few months later I found myself thinking, “During that one scene, I should have….” The show went well, I just think it would have paced that particular scene better.
            BTW, “Tribbles” has to be my 2nd favorite episode–fave is “Mudd’s Women,” which permanently changed my concept of “what makes you beautiful.” (And it’s the polar opposite of the One Direction concept.)

            September 16, 2015
  19. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Well, sheeit…getting an academic article published doesn’t pay SQUAT. It is supposed to enhance one’s chances for a tenure-track job, but it ain’t happened yet.
    Dang, I wish I’d thought up that CJTC phrase. That just SINGS.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  20. And the moral of the story is: if people haven’t heard of you before, they certainly will hear of your giant meltdown where you insulted your readers, thereby turning away future readers.

    Speaking of 80k word novels, I just hit 80 k on my Warcraft fan fiction! Huzzah!

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
    • It’s safe to say that money isn’t being spent on PR.

      And congrats on the word count!

      September 14, 2015
      |Reply
      • Thanks!

        And shit, I don’t even know what a stellar PR team could do with this mess. I’d rather save the money (and save face) by a) ignoring and blocking abusive comments, b) write a blog post thanking supporters and politely acknowledge criticisms by thanking them for their time and that you will be taking their concerns to heart to better run my GoFundMe, and c) work diligently to meeting deadlines and such.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
        • Maybe hire someone to swat her hands away from the keyboard before she writes something that stupid again.

          September 15, 2015
          |Reply
  21. June M.
    June M.

    As a reader, I will NEVER buy any of her books. And she couldn’t even come up with her own insult, had to steal it from Blade Trinity! LOL Wonder if anything in her “12 books” was come by the same way O.o

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  22. Katsuro Ricksand
    Katsuro Ricksand

    I think it’s perfectly fair that the $5 level doesn’t include any of her $3 books. I don’t know about you, but I’d gladly pay $2 extra for the privilege of not having to read them.

    Okay, that might seem harsh, but I took a look at the free sample of her book “Faith” on Amazon, and not only is she unable to make up her mind about whether she should use purple prose when mentioning dirty bodyparts or not, she’s also unwilling to proofread worth a darn. She writes “you’re” when she means “your.” She uses a full stop when she should use a comma, and that’s on the second line of the book. Also, she love susing a comma when a full stop would work better.

    I checked a few of her other samples, and the same thing goes there. It’s the kind of error that’s easy to spot if you proofread your work just once. I’m Swedish, and I spotted all these errors that it seems like she couldn’t be bothered to look for and fix.

    It reeks of disrespect to her readers.

    September 14, 2015
    |Reply
  23. So I sympathize with this woman’s money concerns; I’m about to begin the process of trying to sell my novel myself, and I know what it’s like to be unsure about future income. But her entitlement is out of control – and her reaction quite asshole-ish.

    Also, I know this is bitchy, but I downloaded a free kindle sample of one of her books and…hoo, boy. Like, I’ve read worse in terms of romance/erotic scifi or whatever she’s going for, but…I’ve mostly read better. Unless you’re Harper Lee or something, you generally shouldn’t act like you’re doing the world a favor by writing full-time. And even then, if you have any class at all you should usually just be grateful for your success. Like you said, Jenny, as an author one is offering a product and in the creative fields one simply not guaranteed riches and fame – or even a living wage! We’re writing because we love writing and we hope that at least some other people enjoy what we write, too, and most of us have to do it while holding down other jobs or sourcing income elsewhere.

    TL;DR – Jenny is right as per usual and I’m rolling my eyes at Ms. Hawthorne and her entitlement.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  24. Margaret
    Margaret

    Not sure this sort of thing would inspire me to read her work either. From one of her Amazon book descriptions: “DISCLAIMER: This title is NOT a masterpiece of literature. It is a fun, sexy, erotic, naughty, comedic, highly inappropriate piece of fiction. Often, vapid, vain, unbelievable, two-dimensional and fictional characters are portrayed. If you expect perfection in grammar and punctuation, this title is not for you. If you find offense in politically incorrect dialog, terribly naughty language, and obscene situations, then again, this is not a read for you. No grammar Nazi’s, no prudes; no humans below the age of 18. If you have a stick up your ass, or if you’ve never considered pleasure from being spanked, then once again, move along. This is a work of fiction and the author is unapologetic about its tasteless content or the few errors you will certainly find.”

    I don’t generally enjoy being insulted while simultaneously being told that the author didn’t bother to edit. 😉

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • If I saw a disclaimer like that on fanfic I wouldn’t click, and fic is *free*.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • Lieke
      Lieke

      That’s like a very long ‘don’t like it, don’t read it’ comment and I hate those.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • Jo
      Jo

      Oh, my God, is she the author of My Immortal?

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • Elisabeth
      Elisabeth

      That disclaimer is hugely unprofessional and would be a turn-off for me (and many other potential readers). Plus, she can’t be unapologetic about errors and poor writing quality and then throw a huge tantrum about not getting lots of money for her work.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
      • Lieke
        Lieke

        The author makes weird assumptions. Like, her book is not a masterpiece of literature, because it is fun. Can’t be both, you know.

        And after asserting that her book is fun she casually remarks that there will be errors galore. Dear author, reading a book rife with errors is not ‘fun.’ You don’t have to be a Grammar Nazi (I loathe that term) to read that admission and think: skip.

        In conclusion, she keeps using ‘fun,’ but I don’t think that word means what she thinks it means.

        September 16, 2015
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          But–that’s inconceivable!

          September 16, 2015
          |Reply
        • Spockchick
          Spockchick

          Ideed, Douglas Adams was ‘fun’, but his writing was wonderful (to me anyway).

          September 18, 2015
          |Reply
    • What a long-winded way to say “my book isn’t worth picking up.”

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  25. Dana
    Dana

    As I started writing they told not to quit my day job because it’s hard being an independent writer. But one thing I have to point out…she said she’s struggling and did it on her own….now wait for it…in her gofundme page it says she has help just not enough. So she didn’t do it by herself and sitting at home on your ass writing full time you should put out a damn book every other month. Bitch please you are fake.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  26. RobotBoy
    RobotBoy

    Great blog post as usual;

    Just a note to say that median averages aren’t that affected by extreme values, unless the data set is tiny; it’s mean averages that are, which is why it’s usually best to use the median. Therefore, if the median really is between 40 and 60 thousand dollars, you can think of this as half of the authors will be earning more, and half of the authors will be earning less.

    To illustrate with a mini example;
    Say your data set contained the following numbers:
    2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8, 12, 450, 5000
    The mean is 252, which feels really unrepresentative of the data set – it’s been totally thrown off by the 450 and the 5000.
    The median, however, is 5, and describes this data set much better, because the median is the mid-point of those numbers, and so changing the numbers at the end won’t really affect it.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      5 is also the mode–the greatest amount of like items.
      It’s amazing how statistics can misrepresent without actually falsifying the numbers.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
      • GS
        GS

        Thank you. As a Math student, I wondered about that myself, but wasn’t sure if it was due to language difficulties (if “Median” in German is the same as “median” in English), but you cleared that up for me. Thanks!

        September 16, 2015
        |Reply
  27. Tracy
    Tracy

    It’s the “how dare you”s that get me.
    Look, I’ve written and told stories all my life. Nothing published mind you-online diaries and blogs and the like. A few years ago I took a play writing course which led me to start a novel which broke down to a series of three that I’m still writing. I’m also an artist, a double hit in the pocketbook, but I’m dedicated to my craft. Ok, so my point.
    Having finished my drafts and now editing and proofreading myself (no way I can afford an editor) I have started researching publishing and joining all kinds of facebook groups about self publishing, distribution, so on and on. A lot of the groups promote newly published authors, and, forgive me because I don’t mean to insult anyone, but having test read some samplings, I have to say most of them are just dreck. Payne sounds like one of these authors-someone who thinks their talent is ineffable and that every word they spew is golden. Of course it doesn’t need to be edited! Proof read and beta? Whatever for?
    Self publishing has opened the door to any would be writer who in many cases can barely string together a coherent sentence. EL James success has led authors to believe that anyone can throw together a bit of purple prose about kinky sex and have a success, good writing be damned. They believe they are somehow entitled because…art. Having spent nearly 30 years pursuing a career in the creative arts, I can, like I’m sure most of you, attest to the pain of the struggle. But, isn’t our work worth the struggle? If you’re not passionate about the process, why bother? I have no problem with someone asking for help either, but if you’re going to act like your work is so goddamned important that the whole world should be begging to fund you, then you can’t be surprised when people take offense.
    I guess that’s my rant, and it being nearly 6 in the morning and me working at two of the jobs (from home) that support my art career, I may have been less than coherent.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • Her blog interview (link posted) tells me she doesn’t take her writing very seriously either. I have many “author friends” on Facebook that take their work through multiple edits to get it as error free as possible, but she flat out says if you care about rules and grammar, don’t read it.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • Taylor
      Taylor

      I wrote a 2500 word fanfic once that’s about half porn and went through 4 major and 2 minor rewrites and a ~5000 word one that went through 9 beta runs and looked like odd-colored Skittles (different color for every revision) by the time I felt it was ready to post.

      No way in hell 80K+ (which presumably has some kind of plot to go with the porn) doesn’t need at least that much editing.

      Also, if I saw that disclaimer on fanfic I’d be “fuck no”, let alone actually paying money. There are times when good grammar isn’t necessarily the way to go (people don’t always talk or think in complete sentences and such) but that should be because the author makes a choice to do that, not just a choice to not give a fuck whether her spelling and grammar are correct which is what her disclaimer makes it sound like she did.

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
  28. Tracy
    Tracy

    I really should have edited that first-I meant would be authors emulating EL James. Not all authors. Sorry.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  29. A. Noyd
    A. Noyd

    Yikes. If you read the disclaimer in the front of AdventuresinPayne: REMNANT, it’s clear this woman has specialsnowflakeitis something awful. For instance, this bit: “I’ve been told many ways I should change this. Many formula fixes. I don’t do formula. I do other than.”

    Well lah-dee-dah for her. Also, her stories aren’t just her children: “This story is a piece of me. It’s how I healed myself after great loss and suicidal depression.”

    When you treat your writing that way, a meltdown is pretty much inevitable.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      I worked in comic books for a while. A lot of writing happens when you’re hungover from the concert you went to last night and/or sore from the guy who assaulted you on the subway, and your editor comes over and says he needs 4-1/2 grafs of back matter because someone pulled an ad, or he wants to do a story break on a sword-and-sorcery series, so you pull something out of your back pocket that you cribbed from a Celtic author who’s been dead long enough so there is no copyright, because you want your editor to go away so you can nurse your bruises and your hangover.
      Inspiration, my left glute.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  30. Lydia
    Lydia

    I had never heard of her until last night. I can’t say that she gave me a compelling reason to either feel sorry for her or buy her books. I am not a struggling writer so I can’t say I understand where she is coming from although I would assume that most writers do struggle at first and that they expect to.
    I am however a single parent who works a full time job and still struggle to make ends meet. Do I say that to gain sympathy? No. I am saying that now so that when I say what I have to say next you will understand why.
    I feel like it is a huge slap in the face for her to have the nerve to ask people to fund her lifestyle so that she doesn’t have to have a job outside of her home. I know many people who would love to stay home and have someone pay for them to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.
    I guess what I am trying to say is this, would it be okay if I were to start a gofundme to pay my bills so that I don’t have to work seven 10 hr days and still have to decide what bills get paid? NO, it wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t ask! I work to feed my family and pay my bills like a responsible adult. If we have to go without extra things so be it, at least I know I earned everything that I have.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • nichole
      nichole

      Exactly….cause, you know, I would like it if everyone paid me to not work a 9-5 job so I can hang out and ride my horses all day. Maybe if I used bad grammar and talked dirty everyone would pay me to watch. What the fuck ever with this spoiled brat! I have no sympathy for her FINALLY getting the reaction her parents should have given her entitled ass years ago. Grow up and welcome to the real world, honey!

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  31. Did she just challenge the entire world to an 80K write off with the time frame of six months? I eat 80K for breakfast and dip it in my coffee when I’m done and I’m sure most other writers do, too. Really mature of her, isn’t it?

    Fantastic post! Thank you for putting this mess into perspective. 😀 And, now I must be off to write.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • Laina
      Laina

      My question – does the book NEED to be 80k? The just under 60k book I’m revising could PROBABLY be 80k… but it would also be full of purple prose and stuff needing to be cut.

      These are sublties that seem to escape her some.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
    • April
      April

      I know. 80,000 words in 6 months is an easy challenge. That can be done in 1 month by most writers.

      September 16, 2015
      |Reply
  32. Carolina West
    Carolina West

    Judging from some of the comments, it sounds like Little Miss Snowflake here put more effort into her “oh, boo hoo, poor me” rant than she ever has in any of her “children”. That tells me all I need to know about her.

    And that brings up another point, at least where I’m concerned. I’ve always found it a little creepy whenever anybody refers to their work as their “child”. It brings to mind an image of Gollum fawning over the Ring and muttering, “Precious, my precious…” over and over. It’s unsettling.

    And as much as her stupid little rant bugs me, I have to admit the “mike drop, fuckers” bit did earn a chuckle, though it would’ve sounded better as “mike drop, bitches”.

    Yeah, I’ve got a weird sense of humor. -_-

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  33. Desire
    Desire

    I don’t get why this was needed.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  34. Victoriana
    Victoriana

    Wow. I don’t think a GoFundMe/Kickstarter/Patreon is inherently unethical if it’s presented in an appropriate way with reasonable rewards for each level of donation (including $5) but this is definitely not the way to go about it and most definitely not the way to react. If your trying to sell something to the public, you need to learn at the very least to take any rants to private or offline communications. A public meltdown with colorful name calling only hurts your public image and reputation.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  35. Sara
    Sara

    Her ebooks are actually $4-8. I caught this before it went public and I gave her my opinion as a reader. I told her that I didn’t care about the GFM, but that her meltdown was the reason I wouldn’t be supporting her in any way. Actually, what I said was when she’s as big as King, Rice, or Martin, THEN she can treat potential fans this way. Until then, she needs every fucking reader she can get. She spent much of her free time over the last few days blocking and deleting people who weren’t kissing her ass. Before I was blocked, there was lots of free advice given, including “get rid of this post and hope for redemption.” As yet, she still does not listen…

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • Hey, fellow blockee! She blocked me, too, for advising her to remove the rant before the REAL trolls found it. She’s made it quite clear that she 1) doesn’t actually want to make it as a writer, 2) just wants the money and the attention, and 3) won’t ever learn. Another one goes down in flames, and that is perhaps best for the rest of us (both the readers and the authors)—less junk to sort through to find the gems.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  36. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Let’s try to be kind. I think this woman may have serious issues, and piling on is probably not the best thing for us to do. Something about these posts is more defensive than standard clueless-author-overestimating-her-marketability.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      PS I don’t mean kind about reviewing her work, per Woolf’s detestable “Angel in the House”–a good review will address the merits (or lack thereof) of any work. I mean let’s not pick her personality apart, because judging the likability of the person instead of the work was how my 5th-grade teacher did things, and you DON’T want to follow in her footsteps.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
      • JC
        JC

        Idk, but having spent time with a lot of artists, defensiveness and entitlement like this (perhaps not this epic, but at least in the same neighborhood) is not THAT rare.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
    • carmelita
      carmelita

      While I would agree with you on a normal basis, I’ve seen her PERSONAL attacks on a couple of my friends who were trying to give her some advice on how this could backfire. She went off on them–full guns blazing.

      These are well respected bloggers and editors in the Indie community. She is just an entitled brat. Couldn’t take some constructive criticism.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I guess I would be pretty offended if she expected people to crowd-fund her acting career so she wouldn’t have to wait tables or take temp jobs like the rest of us. The assumption is, most people who want to do theatre will have to do something else to pay the bills, and while a few people can make a paying career out of it, you wouldn’t want to go into it if money is your only goal.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
      • Tam
        Tam

        She is now blocking anyone who agrees with the “haters.” If you ‘like’ a comment telling her she needs to stop asking for handouts, or anything of that nature, she will block you. Haters by proxy.

        September 17, 2015
        |Reply
    • Tracy
      Tracy

      From the little I read on her site, she seems unbalanced.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I agree. I’ve had auditions that made me go home in tears, and comments from professors on my writing that made me curl up in fetal position on the living room floor, but these are fields where learning to cope with rejection is part of the drill. This woman seems to be taking everything very personally, and I’m actually kind of worried about her.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
  37. Jacque
    Jacque

    Look, I get wanting to stay home and do something you love and get paid to do it. But that is a fantasy. Reality is if you want something bad enough you have to work hard to achieve it. Isn’t that something we teach our children? Does she not know the meaning ‘it’s the journey not the destination’? I know anything I have worked hard to achieve I value much more than what was handed to me. I know authors that I admire and respect are very appreciative of their fans and they have worked HARD to get to where they are. I’m not saying she hasn’t worked hard but wanting people to support her while she stays home and write…SMH. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t readers purchasing her books they way a reader is SUPPOSE to support an author. Although at this point her career is in the shitter. Especially since she seems to have forgotten all her manners and rules everybody should live be particularly:
    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  38. Indie authors have a crowdfunding model: You produce work, and readers, if they find it meritorious and you’re successful in alerting them that it’s available, give you money for it.

    The odds of making a living wage from that crowdfunding model are awful. But far better than the traditional route.

    It seems that our sassy Miss Thunder Cunts objects to the fact that the weighing mechanism the world has chosen for reading material is failing to reward her in a manner commensurate with her high opinions of her work’s worth. I can share that disappointment. Before I became a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author I produced 10 or so novels in about 7 months and had little but carpal tunnel syndrome and sleep deprivation to show for it. I did not, however, put out the begging hat while chastising those who felt that begging was deplorable behavior for a capable adult living in the richest country in the world, where even the poor have better lifestyles than the vast majority of the planet. I wrote more books, worked even harder, and coaxed lightning into striking. As do most authors.

    I think the reason she got such backlash is simple: it comes off as smug entitlement. In a world where everyone is supposed to get an A for just showing up, expectations run counter to how reality rewards us. I personally don’t care much whether folks contribute to campaigns like these or not – I don’t use them, nor would I, because I have no problem with the current feedback/reward system where readers pay me for my work if they find it worthy of paying for. But if someone wants to take the money they worked hard for (presumably) and gift it so someone who feels they should have a better life than they’ve earned, well, soon parted, and all that.

    I did not mean to offend any thunder cunts with my post, nor were any cock jugglers harmed in its writing.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • nichole
      nichole

      Awesome! Just Awesome!

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  39. Victoriana
    Victoriana

    While this is an extremely poor example, with an author who is acting extremely unprofessionally, I don’t think there is anything inherently unethical or even entitled with crowd-sourcing patronage as a business model to help fund future books/projects. Arts patronage is a really old practice and has been crucial to the development of art history. Shakespeare himself had several patrons, without whom we never would have heard of him or his plays, which would be a great shame. Of course in those days, patrons were royals and nobles, and with the rise of capitalism and the bourgeoisie, these systems of patronage diminished. But I don’t think pure capitalism necessarily serves art all that well. The cream doesn’t always rise to the top (just look at the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon) and quality (and quantity) doesn’t always make an author successful enough to continue her career. Rising income inequality doesn’t exactly provide a level playing field either. Look, I’m not saying everyone who wants to make a living writing books is entitled to it. Far from it. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with a published author asking for voluntary donations to help her complete a project. If people think that author’s work is good, they may contribute. If not, then the Kickstarter dies out and that’s that. But there’s no harm in asking. On the contrary, I think both authors and readers and the general community can only benefit from having more creative models to sustain and produce good art.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I don’t see many people here saying that it’s unethical, though. I think it only becomes unethical if you’re threatening your readership (“If you don’t, then I will stop producing FOREVER”) or if you accept the funds and don’t deliver the product. Most people are objecting to her sense of entitlement, as both her GFM post and her FB rant displayed an attitude of “I put out this many books and this is how much work it takes and I deserve more than everyone else.”

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
      • Victoriana
        Victoriana

        Yeah, I agree threats and not delivering the product are unethical. And this author definitely displayed entitlement and a very poor attitude, so she has only herself to blame if her Kickstarter fails.

        September 15, 2015
        |Reply
    • Mandi
      Mandi

      The issue is that she DIDN’T ask for voluntary donations to complete a project. She wants people to pay her MORE than the asking price on Amazon for things she has already published, and her “prizes” are things from her backlist, at a huge markup from what they’d be if you bought at Amazon.

      Things like Patreon exist for authors and artists to gain monthly donations to continue producing work. But that’s the difference, they are continually producing new work. Not asking people $5 a pop to have the privilege to read a 3 year old story that they sold for $0.99 on Amazon.

      For me, the biggest issue is her reaction. No matter what happens, if you are in the public eye, you learn to take criticism. You learn to shut up and thank people graciously whether they are raging “cock juggling cunts” or otherwise. You cultivate an aura of politeness and respectfulness because that. is. your. reputation. She failed, and has committed career suicide.

      She’ll likely blame everyone else for being so “mean” and “judgmental” and flat out refuse to see that she played a huge part in her downfall, as these entitled people will always cast blame in a wide arc away from themselves and their actions.

      Good news is that many fellow indie authors can learn from her mistakes and maybe we’ll see less of these blowups that make us all look bad in the future.

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  40. Candy Apple
    Candy Apple

    I thought “cock juggling thunder cunts” was from the TV show Weeds

    Thanks, Jenny, for a very trenchant analysis of her rant.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  41. As a writer who works 60 hours a week and writes in every inch of spare time she gets in the day, I find this whole ‘gofundme’ thing offensive.

    I get the desire to make enough that you can write full time, but this isn’t the way to reach that dream. Asking for handouts, asking for someone ELSE to pay your way is to deprive yourself of the human experience of struggling and EARNING something for yourself.

    I won’t ever be a James, Meyer, King or Rowling but what I will be is someone who wrote my stories despite all the blocks life put in my way. I will be someone who did this because I LOVED it, not because I wanted compensation.

    And I will be someone who won’t turn around at the first sign of negativity and call everyone nasty names.

    *sigh* I hope Miss Hawthorne learns from this mistake and emerges a better, more matured individual.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • April
      April

      Amen to that!

      September 16, 2015
      |Reply
  42. carmelita
    carmelita

    THIS is the BEST responsive article to this author. I’ve been following the drama queen go OFF on so many EX-supporters of her.

    I love how she throws God, religion, starvation into the equation and yet she belittles and BULLIES anyone who questions her campaign.

    I am a FIRM supporter of Indie authors. I LOVE reading new authors and books and I am friends with many of them on FB, supported them at events, autographs, hard copies, etc….

    I am the ultimate consumer and yet, I fall under the Thunder-cunt category. Well, I’d rather be a TC than support Payne EVER again!!!

    She is a lazy cow who thinks the world owes her. Struggle?? She doesn’t KNOW the word struggle. Anyone that contributes any money to her–I have an empty lot in Tijuana I want to sell you. Idiots!!!

    She pretty much has dug her own grave. She won’t ever sell more than 30 books ever again. I hope she is more creative in another sense, cause writing and publishing ain’t going to bring her anymore money.

    Blacklist?? Yup…She is now the MOST HATED AUTHOR in Kindleland, eBookville and Nooksville.

    Don’t let the door hit your thundercunt on the way out Payne!!!

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  43. Rona
    Rona

    By the way, she’s responded on her Facebook page. Not to apologize, but to say that she called people cunts because folks are so offended by that word (but not her), and that what they really are are gashes.

    I just…I just don’t think she gets it. At all. And I don’t think she cares to. It’s a pity, because she writes in a genre I often read, but not this author. Not ever.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  44. JC
    JC

    I’m not a writer but an illustrator in a pretty specific field, and I’ve been fairly successful in getting published, but financially? It’s been shit. It’s been frustrating. I’ve had some great clients, but I’ve also had clients who squeezed me for as much work as possible for little to no payment, clients who’ve thrown me major curveballs without fair compensation or even having any regard for how unreasonable their requests were. I’m lucky that I can at least still pursue art, because my husband earns enough to make that possible, but I do struggle sometimes with guilt over not financially contributing to the household. It is, however, the business I’ve chosen. I knew it would be rough going in, I chose it anyways. And I’m fortunate that I can do it without having to worry about putting food on the table, which is more than a lot of people get.
    Honestly the frustrations she expressed in her posts before jumping off the deep end rubbed me the wrong way, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had some of those thoughts myself on occasion. But I know better than to publicly share those thoughts, because that’s not how you do business. The arts aren’t fair – the best person isn’t always the most successful. And if you’re going to ask for help, for the love of Pete be humble about it. A public tantrum makes you just look like an entitled brat.
    People as thin-skinned as her shouldn’t even bother with a field like this. You don’t get better from headpats. My biggest takeaways from art school were these: you need to learn to get ripped a new one sometimes, and constructive criticism is your friend. I have no idea what her writing’s like, but her defensiveness alone makes me not only dislike her as a person, but think her books are probably shit.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  45. “I need to generate a $1000.00 a month.”

    As someone who actually cares about grammar, style, punctuation, etc., this sentence here makes me think this woman doesn’t deserve to make a living off of writing.

    But I’m bitchy about that stuff.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
    • And as I continue reading, I see she does not have a very good grasp of the basic writing rules. *sigh*

      September 15, 2015
      |Reply
  46. LoriAnn
    LoriAnn

    LOL… gees… I think she has her panties (*cough* – diaper) in a twist! Geez, someone needs to welcome her to the real world. It’s called… working for a living. All of the time she has spent whining about it… um… she could have been well… writing something constructive maybe? Talk about killing your reader fan base in a moment of insanity!

    How you doing Jenny?… *Smile*

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  47. Norah
    Norah

    Never heard of this person before, but she just guaranteed I will never spend a dime on her work. Publicity, how not to do it.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  48. Not much sympathy here for this so-called writer. I work freelance writing for others and in the meantime have written two novels, 1/3 into a third one, and have written countless other things – just for me. I am also chronically ill and don’t have a lot of energy to go around doing all this stuff. BUT writing is my passion, I know I have the craft and skill developed for it, and I work hard. A few hospital stays a year keep me off schedule, to say the least, but I continue. I call it the monkey on my back – I can’t not write. I’m waiting for a liver transplant and hope it will come soon. Then I’ll have more energy, but I will just add more freelance to make a bit more money, and of course, continue writing. No one is entitled to a guaranteed – well, anything at all, really. I don’t see the professional writer in this woman. She’s healthy, energetic and she’s young. Get work to support your art, dearie.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  49. Anon123
    Anon123

    “I need to generate a $1000.00 a month. I do have partial support from my family. It’s not a full-time living by any means”

    $1000 a month? That’s about what I make from self-published erotica (I’m lucky, I know) after I take out the 14% social security (because I’m self-employed). It’s not an amazing living by any means, but it’s also not so little that “partial support from family” seems necessary. Like…she’s taking this attitude that it’s so little to ask, but that’s pretty cushy by my standards if she’s got consistent support besides.

    The other day my friend asked me to loan him $20 because he only gets $1000 a month (social security) and his (special low-income housing) rent is $218 a month. I gave him the money and he did pay me back, but part of me was like, “Uh, after you do income minus rent, you have $782 leftover; for me, it’s $496–so why am *I* loaning *you* money again?”

    That’s what this reminds me of. Sometimes I rag on myself for being too privileged, too lucky, not working very hard (I’m disabled by daily migraines, but I finally gave up trying to get my case approved in court, because I make over $1000 a month–passive income, but apparently it still counts as if I’m able to consistently hold down a full-time job, argh). Then I hear about other people whining about their tiaras being too heavy (ah, good ol’ fanfic standbys…I miss you 🙂 ) and I’m just like, “Wut.”

    Perspective, folks! 😀 Okay I’ll stop ranting and go read the Grey post–WOOHOO Grey posts, go Jenny! B-)

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  50. My friend G made a post about her rant, too. You are not alone in this, Jenny! Nobody wants to be called names.

    I found her post to be really ridiculous and insulting to authors/readers worldwide. She messed up.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  51. joblo
    joblo

    I guess I’m just pleased to learn that it isn’t possible to make a decent living by writing 12 paranormal romance novels.

    September 15, 2015
    |Reply
  52. Hi, I’m homeless, and deeply offended by the compariso. Also, as a child of Jesus, I can tell you that he would proooobably be against calling someone names because they won’t give you what you want. There’s charity towards the less fortunate, and then there’s feeding entitlement. He DID say to give to whoever asks of you, but no-one really lives by that, like 94% of the actual Bible. Also, being called names for not giving into her entitlement makes me want to not buy her books ever or support her in any way, even if I could, and I would like to assert that I am much more beautiful than this person. So are you, by the way, Jenny, and thanks for bringing this to our attention so we know exactly which GoFundMe not to donate to.

    Seriously, though, I had one up for my husband’s college fund because ytf not. No one cared and that’s just fine with us. No need to go be a dick about it, just shut it down and go actually spange on the street. Try “I Want Attention”. Or “Needy for Wish Fulfillment”.

    September 16, 2015
    |Reply
  53. Ashley
    Ashley

    Seriously the gofundme account may only be two weeks old but she’s been at this begging for money song and for more than a year now through other social media outlets like pinterest and instagram . I didn’t even need read the whole article to know it would be some crazy BS just seeing her name

    September 16, 2015
    |Reply
  54. Eh, artists who crowd fund also get told all the time that they shouldn’t be asking for money (and then yes, the ‘perks’ for donating are items still to be made not pieces that are already for sale and then at a higher price than what they usually sell for!)
    And, if you offer items that are already usually for sale in your business for some crowd funding, you offer them for a discount!
    When at the beginning of this month I put out a call on my FB page to my followers to please help me help my mum pay for vet bills, I offered 25% off, not 2 dollars more per item! And even then I was told by someone that really, financial help should only go towards helping children and not animals O.o

    September 16, 2015
    |Reply
  55. Buffy
    Buffy

    Out of curiosity I checked out Hawthorne’s Amazon offerings and the associated comments/reviews. I found this little (excerpt from a) response to a negative review, from Hawthorne herself.

    “I realize my stuff can always be better, execution can always be improved, that’s sort of a given when you are buying a title for under $3.00, (or receiving titles for FREE!). I am striving to get better, always better, and I know for a fact I am doing just that!”

    I can appreciate that she is trying to get better, but the fact that her works cost only $3 does not excuse poor writing, nor does it give her an excuse to ignore constructive criticism (the review itself was, in my opinion, both constructive and respectful). And sure, it doesn’t hurt to ask, but don’t get all pissy when people don’t want to fund your attempts at “striving to get better.”

    September 16, 2015
    |Reply
    • Tam
      Tam

      I am horrified when something I’ve written, which has gone through editors and proofreaders, comes out in finished form…and I spot an error. Something everyone missed. It’s a blemish which stands out like a pimple on prom night, and I feel terrible because I don’t think it’s fair to the readers — whether they paid $30 or nothing at all. There’s such a thing as taking pride in one’s work. Ms. Hawthorne refers to his books as her “children.” What self-respecting parent would allow her child to go out in public looking less than presentable? I’m not saying kids have to be perfect, but when people see a dirty, disheveled child the first thing they often think is “why don’t your parents take better care of you?” The difference between kids and books is that kids are SUPPOSED to get messy — it’s part of being a kid. But books are supposed to look their best when they go out. No one wants to be around a child who needs a diaper change; by that same token, no one wants to read a book that’s full of shit (bad grammar/spelling/punctuation).

      September 16, 2015
      |Reply
      • Tam
        Tam

        Ah! And I see I said “his” when I meant “her.” Someone pass the Clearasil…

        September 16, 2015
        |Reply
      • Spockchick
        Spockchick

        I heart that comment!

        September 18, 2015
        |Reply
  56. D3nna
    D3nna

    Um, she’s not getting less than a dollar if her books are around the three dollar range. If she is, then she’s dumb to select the 35% royalty when she could be getting the 70% royalty.

    Tons of people wake up early to do this before their ‘real jobs’. Or stay up late. Or write on the weekends. Because it’s their passion. And if they happen to make a living at it, WONDERFUL.

    But people shouldn’t pay you to indulge in your passion.

    September 16, 2015
    |Reply
  57. Nikki
    Nikki

    holy moly, woman just committed literary suicide. I won’t read anything by someone who is so self-absorbed with entitlement issues. Grow the fuck up!

    September 16, 2015
    |Reply
    • Tam
      Tam

      I see she also gave herself five stars (all her books) a month ago. Wow.

      September 16, 2015
      |Reply
      • This just keeps getting better and better.

        September 16, 2015
        |Reply
  58. Marie
    Marie

    I’m just gonna leave this quote from her website right here …

    “I’ve never worked in the traditional sense, but everything I’ve ever wanted, (apart from that elusive relationship), has been provided to me.”

    Pretty telling, no?

    September 17, 2015
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      “everything I’ve ever wanted, (apart from that elusive relationship), has been provided to me.”…sounds like “The Secret” rather than the Bible. “she had been married but her husband realized he was not The One she was waiting for and left,” — well, sounds better than “Sumbitch walked out on me for that spray-tanned bimbo and emptied our joint checking account too.”
      Seriously, this woman sounds very fragile and delusional. I’ve never met either a devout Christian or a spoiled trust-baby who talked quite like this.

      September 17, 2015
      |Reply
      • April
        April

        That’s funny. I’m in awe of her husband, the guy’s good. He convinced her that he was doing her a favor when he dumped her. I’m sure he was madly in love with her, but her happiness was of utmost importance, so he sacrificed the love of his life (her) so that she could find the true love of her life… then he went to Vegas with his friends and screwed a stripper.

        September 17, 2015
        |Reply
      • I went through the Goodreads entries and there’s a lot of self-aggrandizing and trying to make her depression sound unique (I sympathize with depression because I also have to deal with it like a lot of people, but this reads like something from a high school LJ post). She talks in one about how she wore a backless shirt to a writing workshop one day, and then another shirt that was not and how people were just intimidated by her good looks.

        There’s this other entry which is just… yeah. Misogyny and a random story about how a friend thought she was trying to steal her husband right in the middle of it:

        I’ve actually had one gal accuse me of trying to steal her husband, this was a couple years ago, and before I was writing all this erotic stuff, and simply because he liked a post of mine on Facebook, and we chatted back and forth, publicly, (not privately!). I can’t even imagine what she would think of me now. It does kind of make me laugh, and it also makes me wonder what kind of wonderful husband she has that someone would take the time, and make the effort to steal him. Seriously? Really? Either that means she thinks I am fucking awesome and capable of the heist, or she has no faith in her husband. Of course, it says everything about her, and nothing about me. It is funny though.

        I do feel I should add some sort of disclaimer that I am not after anyone else’s husband, and especially now that I write all this raunch and erotica, I’m writing it for us girls, you know, as something to get our minds off the barnacles in our lives, not to steal some one else’s man and hoard them all for myself. Not sure why they are all so paranoid anyway. Have you gals looked at the men you’re married too? Trust me, I don’t want them, and more than likely, if you’re reading my stuff, you kinda don’t either!

        I’ve actually been celibate for well over four years because I don’t want any of them!! I have yet to meet a guy that I can both talk too, and turns me on physically. Not that I couldn’t be persuaded, I am a girl after all, and if you talk to me and respond enough, you know carry on an adult conversation? I can overlook all the other stuff and get into it. BUT!!! And there is a big huge BUTT, I don’t want a guy that is taken, married, partnered, roommates, I don’t care, if he belongs to you, I don’t want him, can’t see him, he doesn’t exist! I am stating this clear as day because I have a few casual girlfriends that have unfriended me as of late, and I really can’t figure out why, unless it is because of the above mentioned issue, or they are embarrassed to be my friend. Either way, bye-bye, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

        There’s another post in there where she’s angry that she didn’t get recognition for something she had written (I believe it’s at the writer’s conference mentioned earlier) and I’m not wondering if this isn’t narcissistic personality disorder. Of course, I’m diagnosing this based on what I read on the Mayo Clinic website, but it does seem to fit from her posts.

        September 17, 2015
        |Reply
        • Spockchick
          Spockchick

          “Have you gals looked at the men you’re married too? Trust me, I don’t want them, and more than likely, if you’re reading my stuff, you kinda don’t either!”

          Excuse me?

          ‘Married too?’ WTF? The grammar book is launched out of the window. Also, the totally horrible assumption that women who read romance books do so because their husbands are unwanted. This is very teenage/child-like.

          September 18, 2015
          |Reply
          • Nice how she simultaneously insults potential readers (you know, those people who could be giving her money for her work?) and the genre in which she’s writing. Makes you really want to read her stuff, doesn’t it?

            September 18, 2015
        • L
          L

          I can’t comment on her mental state, but she needs a change of attitude if she ever hopes to succeed. If her poor writing skills and the endorsement of rape* in her books didn’t already turn me off, her bad attitude surely would.

          * I looked up her work. Someone reviewed one of her books and quoted from it to show that the love interest gets molested by a male nurse when she’s in a coma. Of course, this is supposed to be sexy and romantic.

          September 23, 2015
          |Reply
          • L
            L

            Silly me. I meant to say that the protagonist is molested, and that the male nurse is the love interest.

            September 23, 2015
          • Tam
            Tam

            You can always tell someone who has never been raped or known anyone who was raped, because they always romanticize it. A nurse molesting a patient in a coma is SEXY? I think I may throw up. No, really. With that information, I have just decided Ms. Hawthorne is one very sick, dangerous, and certifiably crazy bitch. She is repulsive.

            September 23, 2015
  59. Wow. I’ll admit, I’ve been there a few times, but I’d never handle it quite like that. I generally just give myself a bitch slap, go to bed early, then get up the next morning and start as afresh as I know how.

    In many respects, it’s a double-edged sword. I know many writers who put their work out there with absurdly low price tags on them — because that’s what the market will bear, I suppose. But those trickles of income must be incredibly stressful, especially for those who depend on this kind of thing for an income. We expect so much of creative people, and thanks to the dynamics of the internet, where everything is essentially free, we dont want to pay for any of it.

    I dont know what the solution is, to be honest. I doubt she’s alone in her rage. I just imagine others handle it offline by throwing large pieces of crockery against the wall. But something seriously has to be done to change this, unless we do expect people to work for pittance solely for our pleasure.

    September 17, 2015
    |Reply
  60. […] to the number of writers who consider their books their babies. **Read the whole thing here (Don’t Do This Ever [language warning]) because this blog post isn’t even touching on the actual incident.** It was […]

    September 17, 2015
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  61. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon

    I agree with you and to be honest she sounds a bit unhinged to me. I’m just a bit worried you’re going to make Anne Rice get behind her now. ..:P

    September 17, 2015
    |Reply
  62. Tam
    Tam

    She also talks about how, at some writing workshop, someone remarked that she writes circles around “50 Shades.” Well, most people do…but seeing as she thinks that is one of the greatest works of literature to ever grace the planet, it was quite the ego-boo for her. If I were EL James and someone told me Payne Hawthorne was a better writer than me, I would never write again.

    September 17, 2015
    |Reply
  63. Kastil Eavenshade
    Kastil Eavenshade

    Me thinks she protests too much. Her address omvthe Go Fund Me is Fort Bragg, a miltary base. So I’m going to believe that her spouse is military because she does state she’s not the only income. So the homeless thing is a bit farfetched. At this point, I’m starting to believe the spouse said get a job and she’s all like “but I want to write” ad nauseum.

    I see a lot of untruths to think she’s sincere at all.

    September 18, 2015
    |Reply
  64. It’s honestly not fun to watch someone spontaneously combust in public, but man, she brought her own gas can and matches to this shit show, didn’t she?

    Also, in re the writing contest, lots of writers have gotten 80K novels done and ready for publication in six weeks. The lovely hostess of this blog is one of them. I’m another. It simply isn’t that hard. Six months? Luxury.

    September 18, 2015
    |Reply
  65. Tam
    Tam

    In most of her books, she seems to have an aversion to the word “woman.” It’s always “female.” “He looked at the female.” “She was an attractive female.” That struck me as odd, but now that it has been pointed out how vehement she is toward anyone of her own gender who comments (and so far, the biggest contributor to her campaign was a man), I’m beginning to wonder even more. Didn’t she also accuse other women of thinking she was stealing their husbands? And she’s used juvenile statements like “don’t hate me because I’m prettier.” I guess she likes to think of herself as the only “female” who really matters, and all others are beneath her. Isn’t there a term for that? Other than just “being a bitch,” I mean…

    September 18, 2015
    |Reply
    • I sincerely hate when people refer to women as “the female” (noun form, as an adjective it doesn’t really bother me). It just comes off really gross.

      And yeah, I was reading through her Goodreads posts and it’s just rife with hatred towards all women except maybe two or three she deems worthy of her friendship.

      September 18, 2015
      |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      “internalized misogyny”

      September 18, 2015
      |Reply
    • Tamara
      Tamara

      In the military, we tend to refer to people by their gender, such as “Go talk to Petty Officer Smith in Supply. Female second class with glasses, can’t miss her.” Or if there are two Petty Officer Smiths of different genders, it would be, “Go talk to Petty Officer Smith in Supply, female type.”

      But outside of the military, where the designation is pretty much always used as a description in much the same way you’d name someone’s hair or eye color, it does sound weird.

      I’ve heard ‘male’ and ‘female’ used in civilian settings, and it feels almost pejorative depending on the context.

      September 19, 2015
      |Reply
      • I’ve been away all weekend and not had a chance to comment as I’ve seen people post, but I was going to say something similar. My fiance is Navy and I dated a Marine for 10 years. Someone commented above that this woman’s address is on a military base and then she refers to women in her books as “female”?

        Hmmm. I wonder if she’s trolling us.

        September 21, 2015
        |Reply
  66. Tam
    Tam

    Most of my very happily and long time married lady friends not only read erotica but write it as well. And many of them right gay fiction. We’re talking man on man, which goes along with that old thing about straight men liking lesbian porn; in this case, it’s straight women enjoying gay porn. But Ms. Hawthorne’s assumption that women read her books because they’re not getting what they need from their hubbies is both ludicrous and egotistical. Further proof of how she lives in a fantasy world.

    September 18, 2015
    |Reply
  67. Luc
    Luc

    If you think EL James is a good writer, if you think 12 novels in five years is tremendous output, if you think you’re entitled to compensation for your art, if not one of your 12 novels has been good enough to merit an advance and if you think that your lack of compensation is a cosmic injustice, rather than an indicator that you need to hone your craft, then you just might need to consider a different career.

    Run on sentence writers unite!

    September 18, 2015
    |Reply
  68. M
    M

    I agree that it doesn’t hurt to ask. That’s about the end of where I agree with the author, though.

    I followed my passion and entered an underfunded career. I certainly don’t crowdfund for my own needs, but I am about to set up a page in hopes that some kind donors will help me take my deserving (but not entitled!) government students to Washington DC over spring break. We need at least $20,000, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try crowdfunding $2,000 among our other fundraising efforts. The majority of my students live in poverty, so traditional school fundraisers that rely on parents and neighbors buying useless stuff doesn’t work well in our community — there simply isn’t enough money to spare — so I’ll be asking my friends to help us out by coming to our car wash, eating certain places on certain nights for our restaurant fundraisers, etc. I think it’s a fairly unselfish cause, but I’m not about to lose my temper if we’re unable to find sufficient donors. The students know it isn’t a sure thing, but we are all excited by the possibility, so we’re trying, because it doesn’t hurt to ask. If we raise money, but not enough to go, we’ve already selected a charity to send our money to.

    I just can’t imagine getting mad because someone didn’t donate to something or voiced why they didn’t do so. Donations have to come from the heart (or a desire for a tax break :p); they should not be coerced, and I do think people should be critical about where they send their money and what they support.

    September 19, 2015
    |Reply
  69. Thea
    Thea

    Firstly, I can’t believe I just read this whole post plus responses about some woman and her product that I have never heard of or care to read. I enjoy reading what Jenny and Friends have written about the topic. Mostly I can’t believe I read this BEFORE the Grey Recap!!! What is wrong with me????

    Perhaps someone can explain how the author’s reward system works. It seems like the more you give, the more of her old work she will heap upon you. Now, it occurred to me that if you were a supporter and a fan, you would ALREADY own some or all of her stuff. So then what? I mean, if I gave her $500, I think I would want a phone call or autographs, or to go to the movies with her or something… You know, if I was a fan. Which I am not, so don’t make me go to the movies with her please. Sounds like she might enjoy FSOG, if it were still playing.

    September 20, 2015
    |Reply
  70. Natasja
    Natasja

    Oh, geez.

    I’ve published two novellas through Amazon (“Cinderella grows a Spine” and “The Highwayman’s Legacy) since June, novellas that I invested a lot of time, effort and emotion into. So far, the combined profits have not even reached $50.
    I spent more that that on the shipment of books for a promotional stall at a recent fair, not counting the few hundred it cost to hire and insure said stall.
    I’m currently working on a third novella and have recently lost my job, so I may have to consider GoFundMe for the editing and artwork costs if I don’t find another job between then and now. Alternatively, I’ll delay publishing until I can afford it.

    I’ve been in the Red more than once thanks to bills, even on a steady income, and I know how lucky I am that I was able to buy my apartment outright, rather than having to rent or pay off a mortgage. I learned that it’s ok to ask for help, and how hard it is to do so, a long time ago, when I was trying to live off government assistance and failing miserably. Perhaps it’s pride that makes me so determined to do it myself, as well as the fact that I’ve never been faced with Homelessness, but people fund causes/ideas/charities/people because they want to and because they can afford it, not because they owe the fundee anything.

    Nowhere in that statement did I imply that the world owes me anything, use purple prose to describe said books, or insult anyone. See, Ms Hawthorne, it can be done!

    September 22, 2015
    |Reply

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