Rants and Raves – Of authors and goodreads…

This has been going on for some time now. I just wasn’t sure how I felt about it. To be honest I still don’t. On the one end I understand the frustration that leads to such a post… on the other I understand all my Goodreads pals who are still mad as hell about this… I guess you could say this is me;

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What I’m I talking about you ask? Kendall Grey and the controversy surrounding her and her book Strings. I had heard of Kendall Grey before Strings… I knew she’d written the Just Breathe Urban Fantasy series because book #1, Inhale, was an amazon freebie… she then writes erotica, Strings, and everybody suddenly knows her. I hadn’t read either but my Goodreads friends were singing Strings praises and if it wasn’t for my ridiculously large TBR list, I would have made it my next read.


Anyway, I’m on Goodreads fighting the same old battle of whether I should stick to my TBR list or not… then something happens, my Goodreads friends start changing their 5 star reviews of Strings… changing the entire review to a post from the author. So apparently the author put this on her website:

“Readers generally (don’t throw stones—I’m referring to the masses here, not individuals) don’t want art either. They want easily digestible, bite-sized nuggets of warm fuzzies. They want simplicity. Art is neither easily digestible (you sometimes have to chew on it for days to filter meaning from it) nor simple.

I made $10,000 in two weeks off my new erotica book STRINGS. Nearly three weeks later, I’m selling over 100 copies of the book a day. And this piece of trash never even cracked Amazon’s top 100. Imagine how much I’d have made if I’d busted open THAT list. My beautiful, artistic, deep JUST BREATHE urban fantasy series? Well, I’m still in the hole there if that tells you anything.

I spent exactly two months plotting, writing, editing, and publishing STRINGS. The JUST BREATHE Trilogy? Four YEARS.
My total production cost for STRINGS was under $500. I’m embarrassed to reveal how much money I poured into producing the three JUST BREATHE books.

How did I transform from nobody to Somebody? I sold out.
And you can too!
Or not.

I know it’s depressing to hear that in order to find success, you may have to compromise your principles. I’ve come to grips with the fact that in the current market, trashy smut sells, and urban fantasy does not. Tough shit for me. If you want to sell books, you have to feed the market what it craves.

You can be noble and stick to your guns and say, “Screw that! I’m gonna keep writing what’s in my heart no matter what!” Fine and groovy, as long as you accept that this guerilla mentality of badassery won’t pay your bills. More power to you for upholding your principles!

For us artists who want or need to make a living at writing, there is a silver lining. Once you’ve done your part to feed the reader machine, and you get paid ridiculous amounts of money for publicly shaming yourself and lowering your standards, you’ll be armed with the power to write what you want.

Once you’ve built your readership, there’s a good chance many of your readers will follow you into your preferred, artsy-fartsy genre because they like you. Yes, you may have to compromise and write more sell-out books along the way to feed YOUR machine, but the beauty is that you can do BOTH and make it work.”

Wowzers right?! I was shocked by the post. Do I understand her frustration? Yes. Did she need to put it in a public forum? Probably not…. and definitely not in those words… biting the hand that feeds you and all that… On the flip side, I have a Rants and Raves page so that I can be able to say whatever the hell I want. Unfortunately we all know the consequences of that… Kendall Grey now more than most.

Then this happens:

kendal grey twitter

Which coincidentally reminds me of my post about reading and heeding warnings 🙂 So you see my dilemma here…

All this is unfortunately just serving to anger the Goodreads masses more… some have returned their copies of Strings to Amazon. Others have written posts about it… while others have completely refused to read Strings.

Kendall Grey has since then attempted to set things straight… click here to read her post on it all.

I’m all for world peace and so on and while I might not read Strings (nothing to do with the controversy but more the fact that I have a gazillion books to read!) I wonder if we should just let bygones be bygones? More so because I’d seen reviews of Inhale and Strings before the controversy, all 4.5 stars and above…

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15 Responses to Rants and Raves – Of authors and goodreads…

  1. Nicole L says:

    This is just so sad for so many reasons… today’s world of social media and instant “knowledge” can be just way too much. There is no line anymore between readers and writers, no anonymity or privacy on either side and these dramas seem to be popping up all too often… I get that authors are people too, but these very public dramas are total turn offs and extremely unprofessional (they are after all asking for our hard-earned money). Ms. Grey is certainly not the first artist to “sell-out” (And how many of us work 9-5 jobs we hate just to pay the bills? That’s what adults DO!), nor the first to throw a public fit about it… I wouldn’t have read Strings before all the drama mostly because of the ridiculous warning it includes, but really the worst part of this drama is this so-called artist sitting on her high horse and publicly belittling those of us who genuinely enjoy reading erotica, and the authors who genuinely enjoy writing it. I hope her fifteen minutes dies a quick death and we can all move on.

    • I hear you Nicole… they say there’s nothing like bad publicity but I guess they’re wrong! While I understand her frustration this has definitely spiraled out of control…

    • jeanniezelos says:

      spot on nicole – i’ve done some really dire jobs to feed the family and pay the bills. it comes with being an adult. writing erotica to earn rather than fantasy which doesn’t sell is a choice authors make. but NEVER NEVER belittle the people who enjoy what you write – they’re the ones putting pennies in your pocket. I think she’s shot herself in the foot here and should have just kept quiet. Just because authors enjoy writing a particular genre doesn’t mean readers are going to buy it – personally i love fanstays and erotica – so long as its well written. i’ve read inhale and didn’t like it 😦 didn’t even finish it so didn’t buy any more. I love fantasy but to me this was just a trite story with nothing redeeming it and thats probably why its languishing in the lists. it doesn’t matter how many years it took – if its no good its no good. i could spend ten years on a book and as i’m crap at writing its’d still be rubbish. time doesn’t mean quality. . i did see strings via a blog post but that warning just put me off – not that the content would, just i hate anyone saying just because some people may not like something they are prudes. Each to their won and i love what some would call dirty/unsavoury etc but take the view they don’t have to read it and what i like is my taste. That warning though read to me as author belittling those who don’t chose to read her books and putting those who do read them in a “tasteless” category. It put me off and i wouldn’t buy on principle – seems from what she’s writen i was right. the lady only has respect for herself and not her readers.
      ah well thats my tenpennorth….

  2. Michelle says:

    I have been following this “controversy” and only have one thing to say: posting things on the internet is FOREVER. Kendall Grey inadvertently created this mess herself. Unfortunately, the anonymous and vast nature of the internet, make it a the “perfect” setting for bullying. The herd mentality is alive and well on the internet. So, if you post something that angers someone…anyone, actually…buckle up. It WILL be a bumpy ride. A LONG, bumpy ride. Blaming “trolls” who have simply jumped on the herd bandwagon of “let’s pick on Ms. Grey,” misses the point.

    If Ms. Grey’s goal was to receive publicity for her books, she was successful. There is no doubt her name received countless more hits on Google, because of this brouhaha. However, she was more successful in damaging her own brand and alienating potential customers (readers). I don’t know of many products or services that hope to attract new customers by insulting them. Even the restaurant chain, “Dick’s Last Resort,” that prides itself on “terrible” service, MUST serve good food in order for their gimmick advertising to work.

    The fact that she chose to speak ill of “Goodreads,” a site, IRONICALLY, created as an open forum for fans to discuss books, without corporate interference, is the icing on the cake. (Yes, I know Goodreads has been recently purchased by Amazon). As a fan, who has been moved to write reviews. by either great (or not so great books), I understand that authors devote themselves to their work. I review what I read, honestly. Period.

    I have not read “Strings,” or any of Ms. Grey’s work, simply because I was not attracted to the genres of her books. However, I WILL NOT buy books from an author who insults her readers by saying we “don’t want art.” These are the very people who made it possible for you to pay your bills this month, Ms. Grey. It’s foolhardy to insult your source of income.

    Ultimately, I hope this serves as a learning opportunity to ANYONE posting rants about their work on the internet. It will NOT go away. It WILL be read. Protect your own brand. As far as letting bygones be bygones, THAT is the one area where the internet lags slowly behind all other sorts of media. Sadly, this controversy will follow Ms. Grey for a long time. She will need to develop much thicker skin to work through it.

    • “The herd mentality is alive and well on the internet. So, if you post something that angers someone…anyone, actually…buckle up. It WILL be a bumpy ride. A LONG, bumpy ride.” Too true! Something Kendall Grey now knows too much about… and if it doesn’t serve as a warning, nothing will. Though I can’t help but feel bad that it’s done such a disservice to her books… all those years of writing now tied down to one nasty post… It’s a pity is all I’m saying.

      • Michelle says:

        I think she adding more fuel to the fire with her “updated” rant. Complaing about the people who are changing their reviews (in protest to her original post), only serves to keep this incident in the forefront. Ms. Grey continues to make poor choices. SHE needs to stop trying to “explain” things. Her explanations are making things worse.

        I’ve had similar conversations with young women (whom I’ve advised) after the crazed rant from a sorority woman went viral. Sometimes the best course of action is to say, “I’m sorry.” Period. No further explanation. Be humble, accept responsibility for your actions, then STOP, before you say something that negates the appology.

  3. Brenda says:

    Oh my goodness Michelle, I could not express it any better than what you have done.

    What is that saying? “You Reap What You Sow”, which means: You cannot escape the consequences of your actions sooo what you do comes back to you and you will see the long-term effects of your actions.

  4. Lynn booth says:

    I think kendalls goodreads rant has stemmed from (i assume) A LOT of negative comments. Was such detail needed, probably not (don’t bite the hand that feeds you). But anger & probably hurt makes people react harshly & once out these words can’t be taken back.

    I saw the warning for strings & thought ‘challenge accepted!’ I then saw a review by the ‘malebox’ on (totally booked?) (usually jenny & gitte) which made me want to read it even more, i do like fantasy/paranormal books (most genres actually- i’ll give most anything a go once- book wise ;-)). I go through phases & although i have always loved reading its only the last year that i’ve REALLY got back into it so i’m still learning/discovering new authors etc.

    Sorry to ramble on- i’m a reader not a writer! But i guess i feel kinda ‘okay rant over, move on’ about this. (Don’t lynch me ppppplllleeeeaaasssseeee) xxx

  5. Lynette says:

    This is pure craziness!! She writes a book and then basically trashes it to her public and makes people feel like they’re dirty or not sophisticated enough to enjoy her other “real work” of another genre? That’s just craziness to me. People like what they like and it’s not anyone else’s fault that her other book is not selling as well. That doesn’t mean people are stupid and she should rant to everyone about it. Somebody needs to get thicker skin I think 🙂

  6. La Bookchic' says:

    Wow! Didn’t know this was going on but I don’t really follow Goodreads. If an author thinks his/her work is Trash…then I don’t need to read it, so I think I’ll put her on my DO NOT BUY LIST!! There are plenty of AWESOME Authors out there to spend my $$$ on! Thanks for the info and I love receiving your emails about reviews and books!! Keep up the Good Work!! =)

  7. Liz Crowe says:

    I was the target of a very nasty twitter flamer/hater campaign myself about a year ago, and while I am nowhere near Ms. Grey’s level of relative success it was a very hurtful moment in my history as a published author. That said, while the temptation to trash talk back was HUGE I did not. And would have to say that while we are lucky to live in a country that allows to say whatever we want about whomever we want anytime and anywhere we like, Ms. Grey has lost me as a potential reader by calling reviewers on Goodreads motherfuckers on twitter and by calling her own work “trash” in order to somehow build up her other books. I find it distressing that someone would feel that strongly in a negative way about making $10k in 2 weeks. “Priorities” need to be considered perhaps? But again, proud to be an American where I can post my own opinion at any time. I would advise against trashing your own work in public but again, the theory that “any publicity is publicity” is perhaps behind this effort to draw attention to her books. I wish her the best, as I do all authors who work hard, and respect their art.

    • Hey Liz! I wondered if this was a case of no publicity is bad publicity but I doubt it and if so it backfired big time! Author says she was going for shock value so I guess that worked but the repercussions are greater than she could have imagined… I wouldn’t say there’s a major campaign against her books on Goodreads but understandably people are still pissed… and they’ve pulled their reviews… it will take a long time to get them back… if ever.

  8. Ask any author if they’ve had a day where they just wanted to shout at the world and of course they have. She had a bad day. I’ve had a few myself and done stupid crap I wished I could go back and change. The general context I took away from her post was that she wanted to make money off her other books and found that she couldn’t. It’s not a gripe that’s unfounded. Did the same thing myself. Wrote vampire romances that wouldn’t sell moved over to sexy romance and made some cash. Sure we write because we love it, but we also have to eat.

  9. Cara Thereon says:

    I don’t have much more to add to what’s been said other than my offense over her statement about erotica. Don’t demonize those who enjoy writing erotica just because you sold out to make money. That pissed me off. I don’t know this lady, nor do I care about the drama she created, but her statements are ridiculous. My taste in reading material is excellent and I writing good erotica takes hard work. She should’ve considered her success and tempered her words.

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