Monday, November 07, 2011

Have at Them Ten

The war between the self-pubbed and the not self-pubbed escalated recently when some ugly words were slung back and forth at the authorial front lines. I won't link to or repeat the most painfully uninventive slapdown that was employed, but I do find the lack of imagination appalling.

It's NaNoWriMo, people. Why aren't we setting the proper example for the next generation? Where is the creativity here? Publicly insulting our peers when they don't agree with us should be something writers do with style (we certainly have no problem in private.)

Honestly, if you can't think of something beautifully rotten enough to throw in the face of your colleague and make them feel instantly inferior, then you should never even attempt to squabble over whose publisher is bigger, whose method of publishing is better, or who is making more money. We do have some standards, you know. Sit down, practice and start building some vicious insult lists. I mean it -- next time you have a tantrum I expect much better name-calling.

To get you started, here are:

Ten Inventive Names You Can Use to Insult a Published Author

Book Bondservant: An elegant volley to hurl at the unfashionably print-obsessed. Works well paired with an estimate of how many trees we've killed, how much ink we've wasted, or the diameter of the crater that is our professional carbon footprint. Bonus points: Use alliteration to work in at least one Borders/brachiosaurus analogy.

Creative Chattel: Can be employed to hurt the feelings on either side. Observe how self-absorbed we artistic types are, mention three better-paying day jobs that aren't as difficult, quote (if available) the Kirkus review for their last novel, and sit back to watch the fur fly.

DIY Drudge: Should be fired off at the self-pubbed during rants about lousy editing, blurry cover art and laundry-list storytelling. Additional ammo: Alert all your pro pals on LinkedIn to attack the drudge for not spending a thousand dollars to hire a professional cover artist.

Fiction Fido: Another name that works well for either side, particularly when either side of Publishing is being likened to puppy mills and pet shops. Pour some additional petrol on the pyre by woofing at anyone who objects to being called Publishing's bitch.

List Laborer: Once reserved for the not self-pubbed, contempt for those who aspire to have a book rank on a prestigious bestseller list no longer has to be unilateral; thanks to the Times you can now hurl this bomb at both armies. Be sure while you do that you emphasize the lists are fixed, the lists don't matter, or that no one with a brain pays any attention to them.

MySpace Menial: Unfortunately we're phasing out this self-promo sneer due to lack of use. Please wait until we compile a new heap of dung for the updated version (working insult title: Facebook Fool.)

Publishing Peon: All-purpose, nicely nasty slingshot that also insinuates just how stupid the not-self-pubbed are for refusing to bask in the joy, freedom and piles of money to be had by becoming digital self-publishing's tart. Fires best from the lofty, virginal position of one who never stooped to sacrifice a single copper to fiction's feudal lords because they foolishly refused to recognize your genius.

Self-pubbed Serf: The flip side of the Publishing Peon, to be used whenever a digital platform publisher screws up, a print-pubbed author strikes a series deal with HBO, or a major publishing house signs Amanda Hocking.

Text Thrall: Until electronic ink technology improves a bit more, best for use against print pubbed. Allude to writers locked in at a conference, chained to a hotel room desk and fed only bread, water and mystery chicken while they struggle through revisions that would never have been necessary if only they'd seen the digilight, and you've got yourself a lovely and colorful putdown.

Writing Workhorse: This one can be thrown at authors on either side, as said authors are overweight, underappreciated, overworked and undervalued. For that matter, why publish at all? Books are a waste of time better served watching American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, or keeping up with that hard-working, endlessly talented, hopelessly romantic Kardashian Humphries Kardashian chick.


  1. overweight, underappreciated, overworked and undervalued - Since I resemble that remark, I refuse to take it as an insult. So there. =op


  2. I like Bondservant and wouldn't be insulted by that at all but it might be cause I'm reading a Lord John story at the moment.

  3. I fully agree. A literary throw-down ought to be a marvel of prose weaponry! All these lame, tired references to slavery and Nazis are pathetic. We can do better. A writer on writer cage match should be entertaining and educational! (I didn't know you could do that with a dangling modifier...)

  4. Shiloh Walker9:15 AM

    Love it! Charli, lit throw down..? Hee!

  5. Here's an insult to keep up your sleeve. It's perfect because it's all-purpose and can be pulled out no matter which side of the argument you're on.

    "Words fail you. Again."

    (Credit goes to Gore Vidal, who said it from the floor in response to a Norman Mailer heat-butt.)

  6. Love your list. It gave me a good laugh today and I needed one.

    Maybe someone should have sat them down with their laptops (or pen and paper) and let them compose their answers first. They might have come up with something more inventive or at least more 'wordsmithie' (hey! new word) than "You suck." ;)


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