Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

Masthead header

Authors behaving badly

by Carol Burnside

These days authors finally have choices. We’re no longer worshiping at the feet of giant conglomerate publishing houses and many of us have little to no need for an agent. We can diversify our career by selling to a traditional publisher, a small house, a digital first publisher, e-only publisher or we can publish our own work in as professional a manner as most publishers in both e-book and print. Sometimes more so. And we  are able to negotiate contract clauses like never before.

With all these choices, I’m worried the exhilaration of freedom has caused some authors to become arrogant. Over the last few months, I’ve seen authors dissing others because they still choose to go the traditional route of agent and submitting to publishers. I’ve seen traditionally published authors still being a little snooty towards the self-published. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes not so much, but recently I was on a popular social media site, checking some posts within a group and came across a post that had me gasping at the outright rudeness and audacity of the comment contents.

**If any of this rings a bell, please don’t mention the site or anyone involved. I don’t personally know anyone who posted a comment, but here’s how it went . . .**

A person I’m not familiar with had posted that her book had been accepted for “normal” publication by Createspace.  While I thought the terminology was a little strange, I scrolled down, expecting a chorus of congratulatory comments. Ho! First one out of the shoot demanded to know what she meant by “normal.” Never mind that this woman–whether through hiring it done or doing it herself, which is no small feat either way– had published her book in print form.

I scrolled down farther.

Occasionally, I found a comment that contained the word “congrats” or “congratulations,” but often it came with a “but anyone can do that” type comment.

Implication: It’s no big deal.

Others told her that everyone’s book got accepted unless there was a glitch in their manuscript, but that could be fixed and then it would be accepted.

Implication: You’re not special.

The author of the thread clarified that “normal” meant “in print,” and I could tell from her post that English probably wasn’t her first language. One would think the comments below that would contain a little more understanding. Well, think again.

Some chimed in to speak to others, ignoring her original post and comment, which is rude, and talking about their experiences uploading and such, even mentioning they’d done it many times now. Others posted questions that had nothing to do with her announcement, creating a separate conversation within her post/thread.

Implication: See? Your one little book really is no big deal. Not even worth our notice.

I felt like saying, “Really, people? Really?” but I simply congratulated her and wished her success. In all fairness, I should probably acknowledge that this was not a romance writer’s site, but a general writing list. Overall, most romance writers are, IMO, more supportive and tactful. I just hope that this case of author’s behaving badly isn’t a trend.

It would serve us all to remember that just as the tide is changing toward the perception of the self-published novel and away from the absolute need for a publisher, that trend could reverse one day. Diversity is needed for the publishing industry to be healthy and flourish.

Have you encountered similar situations or just the opposite?

– – – – –

Carol Burnside is the award winning author of the Sweetwater Springs series and other works.Today is the last day her novel, A Suitable Wife, can be purchased for 1/2 price at the following venues:

All Romance : formats avail: PDF, ePub, .mobi

Kobo: (ePub)

and at

Smashwords: (use code FM83B at checkout)
formats: epub, mobi, pdf, lrf, pdb

SSSeries covers_CBurnside

Connect with her online at:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Goodreads

[…] I’m blogging on PetitFoursAndHotTamales about an incident of what I perceive to be authors behaving […]

Marilyn Baron - March 31, 2014 - 6:22 am

Every step along the way in the publishing process should be celebrated whether traditional or not. There’s no excuse for people belittling others for an accomplishment no matter how small. We should all be supporting each other whenever we can or just say nothing in my opinion.

Connie Gillam - March 31, 2014 - 9:48 am

A sad testimony on the human condition. Too me, the process of writing and publishing has been painful and slow. I celebrate every milestone, no matter how small. I’d like to think that others would celebrate with me. Obviously, not.

Debbie Kaufman - March 31, 2014 - 10:15 am

OMGoodness! How rude. I’ve encountered some interesting attitudes on both sides of the coin. It is a big deal to finish a book, no matter how your put it out there. And the only thing that makes one less than another is the quality of the writing, not the method of publication.

What I hate is the “war” between traditional vs. self-pub that I constantly hear. There are trade-offs both ways. I chose wider immediate distribution with HQ Love Inspired, but that doesn’t mean I might not go the self-pub route in the future. I hated all the traditional publisher (particularly Harlequin) bashing at the last RWA conference. Hey, traditional pubs are a business, read your contract. Don’t sign if you’re not happy! That’s what the new freedom of self-pubbing is about.

Susan May - March 31, 2014 - 11:25 am

There is a place for everyone. My only bone of contention is there should be quality editing. I was at meeting where I was pretty much the only traditionally published person there. I came away feeling like they all questioned my stupidity at taking that road. I’m just thankful there is more than one road to take now days and that the author has control over their material and not some big company.

Carol Burnside - March 31, 2014 - 1:44 pm

I agree wholeheartedly, Marilyn!

Maxine Davis - March 31, 2014 - 1:46 pm

Carol, I’m of the finish-the-book-is-a-big-deal group. Traditional or indie. I’m happy for those that publish – regardless. I’m working on my manuscripts and still don’t know what way I’ll try to go. Either way, I’m the only one I have to please. And either is a very big deal to me. The books look great, Carol.

Carol Burnside - March 31, 2014 - 1:46 pm

It is sad, Connie, but at least we have true support and celebration within the PFHT members. We all know the struggle and importance of producing quality work.

Carol Burnside - March 31, 2014 - 1:53 pm

Debbie and Susan, I totally get why you ladies chose the traditional route. I pursued HQN for years and came screamin’ close to a contract. Close, but no cigar. I’m just grateful that the stigma of self-publishing has lifted so my stories have the opportunity to build an audience.

Even so, I’ve not ruled out seeking a traditional publisher or digital first publisher where I’d have somewhat of a built in distribution.

Carol Burnside - March 31, 2014 - 1:54 pm

Thanks, Maxine! I wish you much luck, whichever fork of the road you choose. The great thing today is that you can choose more than one path. :-)

Lori Robinett - March 31, 2014 - 2:02 pm

So sorry to hear that the original poster didn’t get the respect she deserved. While it is true that “anyone can do it” – not everyone does. LOTS of people say “I want to write a book,” but many never get it done. Every step along the way for her deserved celebration, and I’m glad to hear you noticed what was going on and congratulated her.

We’re in an exciting time, with lots of changes in the industry. We’re all in it together, and should support each other regardless of how each individual chooses to approach their writing career.

BTW – LOVE that so many now choose the “hybrid” route and pursue more than one path.

Great post – thanks for sharing!

Walt Mussell - March 31, 2014 - 6:39 pm

Carol, when I completed my first manuscript, one of the first things I started biting my tongue is when people made the “I could write a book” crack. I knew for myself how hard that first manuscript was and couldn’t believe it was only the beginning of the process. Every step has value, no matter which path one takes.

Pam Asberry - March 31, 2014 - 10:58 pm

Why can’t we all just be kind and supportive of one another, Carol? Your books look beautiful. I loved “A Suitable Wife” and look forward to reading the rest of the series. :-)

Carol Burnside - March 31, 2014 - 11:05 pm

Thanks for weighing in, Lori. I love that aspect too. You nailed the gist of today: Each individual chooses their own approach to their writing career. We should celebrate that path.

Carol Burnside - March 31, 2014 - 11:18 pm

You’re so right, Walt. Everyone thinks you just write a book and it gets published. They don’t know about all the effort and re-writes and fine-tuning it takes to get the rough draft to a final product in their hands or in their e-readers.

Carol Burnside - March 31, 2014 - 11:26 pm

Thank you, Pam. I appreciate you!

Mary Preston - April 1, 2014 - 4:04 am

I’m a reader. I don’t write. I do have some inkling as to how much ‘blood, sweat & tears’ it takes to write a book & release it into the world.

Not everyone can do it. I couldn’t.

I’m a reader & I say thank you.

Sandy Elzie - April 1, 2014 - 10:49 am

Sorry I’m late…but I love your topic. Yes, it’s a big deal to finish a book, sell one, or put one up yourself. Each step is a series of MANY hurdles that take more effort than a lot of folks know. I loved Mary’s comment…Blood, sweat & tears.” Yep, some of those as well…why do you think we eat so much chocolate????

Congrats on your new release.

Piper - April 2, 2014 - 8:06 am


A lot of people sometimes would rather talk first and then investigate later, when the process often works much, much better the other way around! I do agree, Carol, that diversity is needed for the industry to flourish and it is fortunate that self-publishing is there to provide that option when some others may be reluctant to do so. There is room for all! Thanks for your informative post. I love those covers!

F O L L O W   U S
R E C E N T   T W E E T S