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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dealing With Douchebags on the message boards

Checking out the stats section of my blog yesterday and ran into this link:

Seems like someone has an issue with my writing.

Well, I have an issue with the douchebags on this board and I went back to their site and gave them a peice of my mind.  My books the worst they ever read? They must not do a lot of reading. Have they read any Street Lit lately?

As a black male author I really take offense at a swipe a poster takes at me not being a good black male writer. I have presented my work to literary agents in New York and Los Angeles who have told me my work is well-written and well-crafted. Book Clubs across the country have given my self-published books high marks. This blog is getting more and more readers every day.  And my writing is so solid I was offered a feature writer position with where some of the same articles on this blog are simulcasted.

Now I can take constructive criticism, but I can't stand a coward who posts on a message board instead of the comments section. Anyone have a problem with my work? There's a comments section here and on Onixlink, MySpace. My E-mail is in the front matter of every one of my books. My Facebook page is listed in the links section. Come talk to me about your issues in a professional manner.

I know some of my earlier books have some grammar and spelling issues. But hey, I'm one man working into the dead of night from lulu test copies and .pdfs without a support staff. As a poor unemployed brotha who publishes these books out of his limited savings, I can't afford to hire a free-lance editor who charge $2.50 a page or proofreaders who charge $40 an hour.

Anyone have an issue with the fonts I used in the page layout? Sue Microsoft, Adobe and Lotus cause those fonts came with Word, Wordperfect and Photoshop.  You have an issue with the cover? Give me some money and I'll change it.

Look, this is self-publishing. I can't  afford graphic artists who charge $400-$1000 to do covers for every book or a bunch of editors who cost thousands of dollars. Right now I'm unemployed and doing the best that I can to publish my materials without the luxuries those formerly big-shot authors at the publishing houses used to take for granted. 

The Narrative style I write in for most of my novels is a revolving first person perspective. It's a narrative style that is written like people think. And the way we think isn't perfect English. It's a character-driven style that focuses more on action defining the characters than prose describing everything for the reader.

I use this style because it allows the characters  to tell their own stories in their own "voices" and for the reader to draw their own conclusions and make their observations about the action transpiring in the storyline.  To me, revolving first person is much more effective than reading a story in third-person Narrative where the action is dictated to the reader. I want my readers to THINK, about what they're reading, not have the story THOUGHT out for them.

My mission is to write positive stories about the African-American experience. If the posters on that board would go to a bookstore and look around, they'd see not that many black men producing those types of stories like I am currently. How many publishers are willing to publish African-American Fantasy? Howw many are willling to publish stories about succesful black businesses and businesspeople? How many black publishers are willing to publish a screenplay so African-American readers can learn the craft of screenwriting?



Head into a bookstore and GO to the African-American section.  Most of the books today on the shelf from the big-shot publishers are  Street Lit or Erotica.  These books are filled with graphic violence, graphic language and graphic sex.  They glamorize drugs, crime and perpetuate the worst stereotypes about  African-Americans.  But people love them and buy them like potato chips.

And the publishing houses who produce these books really don't give a shit about spelling, grammar or punctuation on their New York Times bestsellers. And they have editors and proofreaders. As long as they take a nigger's cash it's all good.

But those people want to attack a one-man operation for  trying to write positive stories, and laugh at my work. They wat to ridicule me for making a few mistakes that books at the big six publishing houses make with impunity and with a hundred times the budget I have.

Now I could not give a fuck either like the writers who publish the stret lit do. But I care. I care so much that I spend thousands of dollars my own money to publish my stories to give readers an alternative to the nonsene and inspire. I do this even though I lose money with each title I publish.

And I'm working on improving quality control on my titles. I'm studying style manuals. Working day and night on getting better.  Getting better with each new book. Perhaps the people on this board need to read All About Marilyn or the upcoming The Temptation of John Haynes or All About Nikki. And it pisses me off that people like on this board want to make fun of my work.

Look, nobody starts out writing perfect out the gate.  And people who start out acclaimed (James Frey, Jayson Blair, Kavvya Vishwanthan)  are usually caught stealing from other writers. Writing styles evolve and they change.  The way I wrote back in the 90's is not the way I write today. It takes time to get better and even the best books aren't perfect.  If anyone thinks they can do better than I can, go out and get your computer, write your own book. Then try to go out and publish it.


  1. Oh, can I ever understand your anger about this diatribe. Talkk about your empty-headed thinking. But then, this is yet another case of using one black person to damage or destroy another.

    Shawn, you explained your side of it beautifully in winning terms. I seriously doubt that those attacking you could write a fraction as well.

  2. Do you have a critique partner? Have you made contact with other writers (Absolute Write is a great starting place)? Your rant seems misplaced because one your book is placed in a readers' hands, it's no longer yours. Sure, you may feel their opinions are invalid, but that doesn't mean they aren't true--for that person. I agree with your goals and visions as much as the next person, but bad reviews come with the game, and you only end up looking like an irrational, blind ass by fighting with/ranting about readers over their opinions.

    And to be very blunt and honest, from a writer's standpoint, saying that your books should be excused from typos, bad cover art, etc etc simply because you don't have the finances of a major publishing company is a cop-out. Your book is your platform, and first impressions are vital, so by making such a fallacious excuse makes you look bad and lazy.

    As for the monetary issues, you should check out some successful self-publishers like Zoe Winters and J.A. Konrath, who prove you don't need to spend thousands of dollars to self-publish.