274. Death, Taxes and blog wars

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I haven't been the best of bloggers lately. At least, not in my mind. Since the beginning of the year, I haven't been quite sure what to say in here. January was just a tough month, and then my cat, which is more like a child to me, ran off. Still no sign of him yet, but I'm not giving up hope yet.

Yesterday, I did my taxes, my federal ones in any case. For the first year in many, I actually had reportable writing income. It was a nice feeling, but I really didn't make enough to make it worth actually filing for the less than stellar return. My father always said there are two things in life you must do – die and pay taxes. Well, I don't have any taxes to pay – this year. We'll have to see about next year when that happens.

I've been slacking on my blog reading a bit lately, but I've kept up as much as I possibly could. It seems I missed a bit of battle this week with inspirational author, Brenda Coulter. The battle started when she limited her contest to only U.S. readers, which is her right. However, the way she went about things, and some of the things she said in her blog posts about erotic romance authors is really bothering me.

I read her blog on a regular basis. I even link to her blog because I have found some interest in it. She has linked me back in return. However, right now after reading some of the things she said about erotic romance authors I'm a bit offended. I'm an erotic romance author, aspiring, but still I'm on my way to publication. It is just a matter of time. I don't hate anyone. I'm not controversial. I stay out of the line of fire so to speak. I'm also quite intelligent. However, according to Brenda, erotic romance authors are just out looking for a fight and they are selfish and stupid. That is where I got offended.

She has taken a simple matter of a contest and her reasons for not allowing non-US entrants and blown it into this huge debate. However, she won't debate it. Her opinion is the only one that matters, unless that opinion supports her side. I won't comment her entry. I won't email her. I really see no point in going in and saying anything. It looks like anything I have to say will fall on death ears.

As writers, when we decide to blog, it is a matter of promoting our writing and ourselves. That is what it really boils down to. Our blogs are our platforms to our readers. They can see what we think, feel and see our work all on one place. We blog in hopes of finding more readers. So this is what I don't get, how is being rude and mean and insulting to a whole genre of readers and writers promoting something good? I think it is actually more negative publicity. Then you have to remember the saying as well – any publicity is good publicity.


Brenda Coulter said...

...according to Brenda, erotic romance authors are just out looking for a fight and they are selfish and stupid.... She has taken a simple matter of a contest and her reasons for not allowing non-US entrants and blown it into this huge debate. However, she won't debate it.

Do I despise erotic romance writers? Emphatically, no. I mentioned your subgenre to highlight the fact that the half-dozen bloggers who were spewing nasty comments about me were a single, close-knit group of bloggers. If they all had been SF writers or historical romance writers, I would have found that fact equally significant and would have mentioned it. (By the way, didn't you mention my subgenre when you posted about me just now? It's a convention all of us romance writers use, wouldn't you agree?) Now a couple of writers from other subgenres have piled on, spurred to outrage by the widespread misrepresentation of my positions, but the fact remains that the ones who attacked me originally were a handful of erotic-romance-writing bloggers.

It wasn't erotic romance writers that I was complaining about, Gina. It was only that gang who blogged about me. And when I mentioned their readers I was not talking about everyone who reads erotic romance, only those blog-fans who sent me hate-filled, profanity-laced comments for the sole purpose of harassing me. Two of them repeatedly mocked me and challenged me to turn on comment moderation. I'm not a bit grateful to bloggers who send me that caliber of visitors. Do I believe those people are representative of all erotic-romance readers? Absolutely not.

As for your assumption that I stirred up a controversy and then refused to give anyone the satisfaction of answering their challenges, that is incorrect. Let's look at some of the things that I posted:

"...I figured there must be others who feel equally abused but just haven't spoken up. That's why I posted what I did. I hope it makes sense and doesn't sound like a tirade. "

"I didn't post this entry to spark a debate. I simply thought it would interest my readers."

"I did not mention Jaynie's name or quote from her e-mails in my post, but wrote something I thought might interest and inform my readers....You [Jaynie] 'outed' yourself here and tried to draw me into a public fight."

"I believe I've been more than understanding, allowing all of you to have your say on my blog without returning your animosity in kind."

"I don't thrive on controversy and this isn't part of my plan for increasing my audience."

What on earth was there to debate, Gina? I had already explained my reasons for making the decision I did. Apparently, that didn't tick off any of my 297 newsletter subscribers--the only people it should have mattered to--because nobody has unsubscribed and Jaynie was the only one who complained. (When two other people, both Canadians, asked if they could enter the contest I replied, "Not this one. Sorry." They were quite understanding.) What can it matter to anyone but my own readers how I run a contest? I was neither inviting nor expecting an argument from other romance writers. Talk about pointless!

As for the oft-repeated accusation that I didn't curb the rudeness of my regular blog readers or delete their posts, I'd like to point out that neither did I stop the "outsiders" from having their say. And as further proof that I didn't encourage this debate, I offer the fact that I did not answer the accusations commenters leveled against me. In fact, I said flat-out that I was not answering because I expected the flurry would die down when people realized I wasn't going to fight. That I invited an argument was entirely an invention of the bloggers who started all this.

And yes, they started it, by attacking me for a post in which I explained my reluctance to ship packages overseas. That is another subject on which quite a few unfair conclusions have been drawn. In fact, not all of my contests are or have been limited to U.S. residents. (Last month I ran a contest on my blog which was open to everyone; the winner has not yet been determined.) I have indeed shipped books overseas. In the post under discussion I was referring to a single contest, an impromptu giveaway to my newsletter subscribers on a weekend when I had just mailed over 40 free books, including two to Canada. I had some envelopes and stamps left, and I thought I might as well send three more books--as long as I didn't have to run back to the post office.

I do not despise erotic romance writers or readers. True, I have no respect for the group of erotic-romance-writing bloggers who continually comb every word of my blog hoping to find something new to rail about. But that is because of what they have written about me on their blogs, not what they write in their books.

I'll understand Gina, if you remove your link to my blog. But I'd like to point out in closing that you are not the only erotic romance writer I have linked to. If I had something against writers of your subgenre, why would I provide those links for my readers to follow? I repeat: my comments were not about writers or readers of erotic romance; they were about a certain bunch of bloggers and their followers who have repeatedly harassed me. You, I have no complaint about. Unlike the other bloggers, you have not said anything nasty, simply expressed your bewilderment and mentioned that you are offended. I don't mind answering an honest, non-incendiary post like yours, so I'm glad I stumbled across this one.

I have valued your contributions in the comments section of my blog, and I wish you all the best.

eV said...

If you love erotic romance then check out my cousin, Camille Anthony at yahoo groups. She also has e-bboks. Me, I'm the critic...you might find my stuff funny. Then maybe not, but my cat didn't run away!

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