Skip to content

Professionalism

Or, Don’t Be That Guy*

I’m taking a break from the War of Art commentary, today, to do something less topical, and more time sensitive.

This is a post I’m not terribly looking forward to. In part because it’s been handled many other places, by many other people. Most of them better writers than I. So far, though, they’re all talking about the event. Which isn’t really what I care about, per se.

Last night, John Ward, head of GAMA, and concom for Origins Gaming Fair disinvited Larry Correia as Writer GoH. Not with a phone call. Not with an email. Via a post on the con’s FB page (since deleted). Larry’s been left hanging, having paid for airline tickets to a con at which he’s no longer welcome.

So be it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m furious that a friend of mine is getting libeled. Again. Another friend, I should say. Having sat just outside the inner circle for a few years, it’s been disgusting to watch as Larry, then Brad, then Kate and Sarah have had their professional reputations dragged through the mud by a group of people who have never interacted with them or their work. But, frankly, my outrage fatigue is about maxed out. Besides, I want to talk about something else.

It’s been barely twenty-four hours, and things are still shaking out. That said, you and I can glean any number of lessons from witnessing the furor surrounding this debacle. The only one I actually care to dwell on is this: when you are acting as a writer, act the professional.

That’s the simple version.

It’s more complicated, especially these days. As writers, authors, and publishers, we wear a lot of hats. Some days, we’re deep in the word mines, digging out ore. Other days, we’re crouched before the forge, hammering out story. Yet other days, it’s wresting graphic design from the elemental chaos, or crystalizing design and layout from the aether. Which is always So. Much. Fun.
And then there are the days we’re representing our brand to the public. If we’re lucky, we get invited to a convention. We travel, usually at our own expense (those of us who are down the Official Alphabetical List of Author Success a ways). We hope to have a good time. We hope to maybe convince a few people to buy a book.

And sometimes that works out, and it’s great. And sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s disappointing. And sometimes, so much such an avalanche of manure gets dumped on you that you have to respond. In which case, you do it like this.

And then you let it go.

Generally.

Unless things escalate. In which case, don’t forget you also have your brand to defend. No, seriously. Don’t forget that as an author and publisher, your ability to sell is based not only on your skill as a writer, but also what people think about you, and how you’re discussed in the public sphere.
Personally, I dislike confrontation. I tend get the eye twitchy, and the red haze, and the shaking of the hands. I deal with this by being coldly polite. And by avoiding it as much as possible. Which is my issue. If this kind of frustration comes my way, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do. It’s the kind of thing that gives me cold sweats.

My advice? Be polite. Be upfront that you’re only responsible for yourself and your actions. Call out attempts to obfuscate the issue, or draw you into subjective mudslinging. But whatever you do, and here’s the Most Important Bit: keep writing. Don’t let genuinely lousy behavior distract you from the work in progress. That’s your purpose, and if they keep you from writing, they win. So don’t let them.

*Or That Girl, That Neuter, That Hermaphrodite, or That Misc.

36 Comments
  1. c4c

    May 15, 2018
    • davidelang #

      c4c

      May 15, 2018
  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard #

    According to Larry, he did get an email but it was just (my reading) a copy & paste of what the idiot posted on the con’s FB page. It’s still sh*ty. 😡

    May 15, 2018
    • davidelang #

      he didn’t happen to read his e-mail until after a fan notified him about the FB post. So the e-mail was sent out at basically the same time as the post.

      If you are disinviting the GoH, you really should do so by phone or some method that ensures that the person actually gets the message before announcing it to the public.

      And in any case, when someone is accused of something, it’s only professional to give them a chance to respond before taking action.

      May 15, 2018
      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard #

        No argument there.

        May 15, 2018
      • Mike Houst #

        I’m sure it’s too much to expect professional behavior out of a coward. Or to expect fair behavior out of someone who passes sentence without proof of guilt. Mr. Ward issued an invitation. That’s his word that Larry was welcome to come to the con. Then he dis-invited him. He broke his word. What was that blog thread about oaths on this or Sarah’s site the other day?

        A man who’s word isn’t any good isn’t a man at all.*

        * To be fair, the same applies to women too.

        May 16, 2018
  3. I hope to become famous enough to become a target for those haters. Is that contrarian enough?

    May 15, 2018
    • Seriously, I would love that — but my daughter absolutely forbids me to do that.
      (pouts, winningly.) She is SUCH a spoilsport! (Kicks at the dusty ground.)
      Of course, she is a two-hitch Marine, and has anger issues. Especially when it comes to threats to Mom.
      Of course – considering the way that the nasty SJWs are going, and my long-time presence as a mil-blogger and commenter on various right-of-center blogs … the SJW sh*tstorm may come to seek me out anyway.
      I await, in the spirit of happy anticipation.

      May 15, 2018
      • “Of course, she is a two-hitch Marine, and has anger issues.”

        Better not mess with a BAM! (ducks) As for the H8Rs, as a fellow Marine(s) (I forget eggzackly who, after all these years) used to say, “Whatta they gonna do, take away my birthday?” Seriously, what can they do? I actively WANT to earn their ire. I could use the publicity.

        May 15, 2018
  4. One question I always ask myself: what am I representing? Me? My brand as an author? The institution of my Day Job? My country (when I travel abroad)? How do I want people to think about what I’m representing?

    Model how you want people to view your brand. Or “Don’t be that guy/gal/sloth.”

    May 15, 2018
    • Seems those brands are intersecting and simultaneous, not discrete entities. An analogy, or maybe just a distantly related observation: Marines are MUCH more orderly, sober, and polite in public, around civilians than they are among just themselves, when they can be profane, bawdy, drunken, quarrelsome, lechers.

      May 15, 2018
  5. Entertainers (and writers of fiction are entertainers) have to walk a fine line in public appearances and public social media, I think, because they have to be both Joe Superstar (the professional) and Joe Superstar (the brand).

    A successful entrepreneur has to be a savvy business person, able to understand contracts and balance advertising costs vs revenue and all sorts of button-down serious stuff like that. But that’s not a public persona that will satisfy the fan base.

    Writing a newsletter or blog for your fans is part of your act, and as such you have to be consistent with your brand identity. That’s not to say that it is necessarily putting on an act (although it can be–I understand that Jack Benny was not really cheap at all) but that it is selling yourself as an entertainer.

    At the same time, though, you have to also be aware of your words in terms of a public statement from your business identity.

    Walking that line is something that Larry Correia does amazingly well (and I expect it is not nearly as effortless as he makes it appear). His recent post on the Origins mess is a perfect example. In it he comes across as The Madman Of Moose Mountain, entertainly ranting (and I have no idea how true the the real man that is, because I don’t know him) but stripped of its colorful invective it is a professional statement, listing facts in order and carefully covering the salient points of a business entity in conflict with another business entity.

    The man’s good.

    May 15, 2018
    • Joe in PNG #

      “…stripped of its colorful invective it is a professional statement, listing facts in order and carefully covering the salient points of a business entity in conflict with another business entity.”
      It’s also written in such a way that is readable and enjoyable to both his fans, and anyone else that’s sick and tired of whiny crybullies.

      May 15, 2018
      • Mike Houst #

        Kind of makes you wonder what kind of a character Owen Pitt would have as the protagonist if he wrote a book about a science fiction and fantasy author. Would he look like Larry?

        May 16, 2018
    • There’s a line attributed to Dom Deluise: “Once you leave the house it’s all PR.” He seems to have stuck to that, there’s not a single bad word about that guy anywhere. Very good advice.

      Another unattributed bit of wisdom my mother told me, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. That’s generally where I end up, in public. Hard to go wrong, saying nothing.

      Larry Corriea is doing well, and has been doing well right along. The Sad Puppies Campaigns 1-3 were sheer trolling genius, which continues to bear fruit even now. It was fun, and effective. Seeing the SJWs continue to try (and fail!) to punish him for doing something fun and effective is the best PR a writer could hope for. Handling it with class and aplomb is the cherry on top.

      May 16, 2018
  6. adventuresfantastic #

    c4c

    May 15, 2018
    • Draven #

      c57D

      May 16, 2018
      • 2,4-D and Banvil [the first aerial application order of the year and last one of the year when I worked up north]

        May 16, 2018
  7. Uncle Lar #

    There is an old saying: once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but thrice is enemy action. Jon del Arroz gets booted from WorldCon, John Ringo from ConCarolinas, now Larry Correia from Origins Gaming. The social justice bullies have found a tactic that so far has worked to silence dissent from those with opinions different from theirs. Their specious complaints and slanders against those they consider enemies has been effective in intimidating concoms who to be fair are always operating on a razor’s edge financially and fear such controversy and especially the threats of violence that necessitate increased security and run the risk of the host venue requesting them to not return or even kicking the con out.
    It is for these reasons that we must find ways to respond to these attacks, to make those responsible for these outrages suffer some repercussions. Should we fail to do so this sort of attack becomes the norm and very soon all such conventions turn into lib prog mutual admiration circle jerks.

    May 16, 2018
    • Flip up their cover and shine a bright light on the cockroaches; preferably with a burning magnifying glass at high noon on a sunny day.

      May 16, 2018
    • “Should we fail to do so this sort of attack becomes the norm and very soon all such conventions turn into lib prog mutual admiration circle jerks.”

      Maybe for about two years, right before they go bankrupt. There’s a market for Lib/Prog propaganda, but it is a small one, and limited to big cities on the East and West coasts. Throughout the vast expanse of Flyover Country, they live in little enclaves huddled around universities and state colleges. Not enough bodies to keep a con alive.

      Let them continue to announce and then abruptly cancel big-name authors. I want to see them cancel Jim Butcher and David Weber. We couldn’t hope for better PR than that.

      May 16, 2018
    • Draven #

      but in this case, we knew it was enemy action the first time…

      May 16, 2018
    • Diversity & Comics, who had something similar happen last week, has notified the FTC, contacted a lawyer and is likely going to proceed with a lawsuit. Granted, he had the mob bully a publisher into not carrying his book, while leaving a huge on-line trail of evidence (these people are not that bright), and that is illegal on a number of counts.

      May 16, 2018
      • John R. Ellis #

        Richard Meyer/D&C had a mob bully a publisher? 😦 That doesn’t sound like him. He gives snarky reviews of comics he hates, but I’ve never seen him encourage bullying.

        May 16, 2018
        • Draven #

          other way around

          May 16, 2018
          • John R. Ellis #

            Ah. So the “he” in LA May’s remark is Mark Waid, I take it?

            May 16, 2018
            • Draven #

              dunno. Comics and Diversity was the target, tho.

              May 16, 2018
            • adventuresfantastic #

              Yes. Waid has since deleted all his social media accounts, supposedly on orders from the head honchos at Marvel.

              May 16, 2018
        • Sorry, very badly worded. Of course D&C did not order a mob to bully anyone, quite the contrary. Waid ordered the mob to bully D&C’s publisher.

          May 16, 2018
        • snelson134 #

          That’s the counter-claim….. and they’re sticking to it despite gobs of on line trail showing it was them.

          May 17, 2018
  8. I will admit I thought the “Don’t be that guy” was going to be for John Ward.

    Not for removing Larry as a GoH, which might have come from higher up, but for how he handled it from failing to spell check the post to not ensuring Larry was informed before the post went up either by getting an email reply or, *gasp* calling him on the phone.

    The removal looks so damned unprofessional in no small part for the failure to be professional about doing it.

    Sometimes you have to let a GoH go. Sometimes, due to economic threat, you have to not publish a comic, but how you handle doing that makes a world of difference. I’m not happy Antarctic Press won’t be printing Jawbreaker, but I understand the position they were put in and appreciate how they handled it. Origins is off my bucket list not just because Larry was removed as GoH, but how the con handled the situation (also, I don’t believe they had 1% the economic threat Antarctic Press did).

    May 16, 2018
    • emily61 #

      Some “fans” are so mean, petty, and unknown to the world at large, that I think that they would do the worst things just for the publicity.

      May 16, 2018
      • I think a whole lot of the really nasty web articles are done just for click-bait. And if they can get an outraged audience leaving comments, that’s just that many more clicks.

        May 16, 2018
      • He’s not a fan though…he’s the director of a con that is famous in its field, the second oldest major con in its field (hell, it was founded by AH and SPI, neither of which exist anymore), and is a bucket list item for gamers.

        He doesn’t need the publicity.

        May 16, 2018
  9. George Phillies #

    For some reason I suspect that someone else will publish Jawbreaker, and that Antarctic Press will put no obstacle in the way. It occurs to me that Vox Day of the Rabid Puppies (I think that was the name) has launched a comic company, and is just now bringing out the lead comic he promised a half-year ago, having brought out other books since.

    May 16, 2018
    • BobtheRegisterredFool #

      Vox Day ran/runs Rabid Puppies, yes. I duckduckgo’d the Antartic Press/Jawbreaker, and the Jawbreaker folks are putting together their own comic publishing company, currently thinking to call it Splatto.

      May 16, 2018

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: