Responding to Various Outrages

Outrage the First: Supermodel Tyra Banks has signed a multi-book deal to write a YA series, the first of which will be called Modelland.

The outrage: It’s not fair that these celebrities wander along and decide to “write” a book, usually with huge advances, when real writers work for years to try to break in, and those that do are lucky to get a $5000 advance.

My response: She’s a celebrity.  People will buy her book, whether it’s good or not.  Of course she’s going to get an obscene advance.  If you believe it’s easier to first become a celebrity and then score a book deal, I suggest you try that career path.  But don’t blame publishers for acquiring things that will sell.  If you must be outraged, blame the readers who keep buying celebrity books.

Outrage the Second: Author Neil Gaiman was paid $45,000 for a four-hour speaking engagement at a Stillwater library.

The outrage: What a waste of money!  No author is worth $11,250 an hour, especially a science-fiction/fantasy author!  Think of all the things that money could have been used for!

My response: Have you heard Gaiman speak?  Also, the money was earmarked for speaking fees, and so couldn’t have been used for anything else anyway.  Also, I need to up my speaking rates.  (Gaiman’s response is here, and like most of what he writes, is very worth reading.)

Outrage the Third: Diana Gabaldon and George R.R. Martin hate fanfiction!

The outrage: They’re attacking/shutting out/insulting their fans.  They don’t understand fanfiction.  They’re wrong on the Internet!

My response: Some authors say they don’t “get” fanfic.  Me, I don’t get our need to rehash this squabble every six months.  Look, the MZB incident has multiple, sometimes contradictory details, Lori Jareo was an idiot, and I’ve got books to write. Moving on…

Outrage the Fourth: Facebook has changed their policies again, eroding yet another chunk from your online privacy.

The outrage: Everyone’s information is shared/marketed by default, and they’re forcing you to actively opt out.  They’ve gone from caring about users to caring about advertisers and business partners.

My response: Fool us once, shame on you.  Fool us at least six times over the past five years, and–  Right!  Shame on you anyway.  Why are we still shocked and outraged when big companies turn out to be primarily interested in making money?

Outrage the Fifth: Michigan author Jim C. Hines has the most dandelion-filled lawn on his block!

My response: Bite me.