Us Versus Them

Warning: If you are purely a reader, you might want to skip this post because it’ll be like watching your parents fight.


Declawing writers is considered inhumane since they use their claws for defense, and even indoor writers need their claws for snagging nearby cups of coffee.

I’ve been reading a lot about Us Versus Them lately in the publishing world. Reality television has apparently gotten the better even of us book people. The “nuh-uh she dint?! yuh-huh she di!!” has crept into all my loops as constituents in the various camps light their torches. Writers are good with words, and good writers are great with conflict, so you can imagine how much fun we are when we aren’t on deadline and need to keep our skills sharp (emphasis on sharp).

I read an interesting article the other day about how prejudice might be advantageous on an evolutionary basis. Staying with your kind kept you from being exposed to pathogens against which you had no defenses. On the flip side, scientists have found that women seem unconsciously attracted to mates with different genetics which — in theory — could give the offspring advantages of biological diversity.

With that sort of push-pull of wariness and attraction, I think the Us Versus Them battles are inevitable to some extent… At least until we remember that we have a frontal cortex and needn’t succumb to the amusing train wrecks sent up from our amygdalas. 

So srsly? Give UVT a rest. It seems to me the only people churning the UVT sludge are people who aren’t happy with where they are. Which isn’t necessarily a bad place to be. Discontent makes you try harder. But you gotta aim that discontent AT YOUR FREAKIN’ GOAL, not at other people.

If you are a NYT bestseller, you go, girl! If you self pubbed a gazillion copies of a hundred titles, woo-hoo! If you are still churning out the desperate words of your very first manuscript, rock on! And if you are somewhere in the middle of those extremes, you most definitely should stay away from UVT since you very recently were Us/Them and still have a ways to go to be Them/Us.

Use you words for good, and happy writing.


Authors & Reviewers: Twain or Taint?

Everyone else and her blogging grandmother has already weighed in recently on authors and reviewers mixing it up in posts across the universe.* I thought I’d add to the noise. Cuz that’s what teh interwebz is for.

Authors write books. Reviewers sometimes review those books. They are sorta like strangers who come together for a night of passion and now are unwed parents, sharing this one thing — the story — in common. Hopefully it’s a thing they both love, and they work together to introduce it to the world.** But sometimes the relationship isn’t so smooth. And then the best you can hope for is no unnecessary screaming.***

So in the interest of promoting less screaming, here are my thoughts:

1. You don’t have the right to be a dick. That’s true for authors and reviewers. Nobody can stop you from being a dick, of course, but it’s not a right. It’s wrong. How about just don’t be a dick?

I realize the problem here might be in the interpretation. One man’s dick is another man’s… Uh, well, that analogy is sort of falling apart, but you know what I mean. I have to think, though, most people can identify a dick when they see one (we’re romance readers after all) so just don’t be that guy.

2. Everybody DOES have the right to free speech. That is an actual inalienable right spelled out across the real world (not just teh interwebz) in various bills, constitutions, declarations, international covenants, etc. I get annoyed when some people say some other people have the right to speak freely and yet other people don’t. You can stand on either side of the author/reviewer equation and find a few saying the other side shouldn’t speak. Sorry, it’s my right, and yours too.

The corollary, of course, is that speech has consequences. Again, that’s true of both sides, authors and reviewers. A good rule to go with the right is “Think before you speak/send.” If you have the strength of your convictions and you’re willing to live with the consequences of your speech, then yay you.

3…. No, there is no number 3. Don’t be a dick. Speak freely. That’s it, I think.


* In case you missed it (which I’m slightly ashamed to admit I had) fabulous author Jess Haines has a convenient roundup of links along with her take on the kerfuffling.

** Some people object to anthropomorphizing stories as babies, but this is my analogy. Go get your own.

*** I’m sorry that in this analogy the reviewer is the dead-beat dad, but I think we all know that the burden usually falls on the mother, and of course the story is the primary responsibility of the author.