Saturday, May 18, 2013

What NOT to do - Kendall Grey trash talk

I will never read "Strings".
Actually, I will never, ever, EVER read any Kendall Grey's book. EVER.

So, you could consider this as a lesson in "What's been said cannot be unsaid". Or - what happens online, stays online. Forever.

Just in case you've missed the whole thing, and have no idea what this is about, here's what happened...

Kendall Grey wrote "Selling Out 101" on Authors For Life (don't bother clicking, it's been deleted), and what she wrote is (believe it or not) THIS:

I self-published an urban fantasy trilogy last year. I spent four years writing it. I poured all kinds of money, time, and energy into that bugger. I did everything “They” tell you to do: blog tours, paid advertising, securing reviews, professional editing and cover design, book signings, pimping, pimping, pimping. I put way too much cash into making my books as perfect as they could be.

They tanked.

Okay, they didn’t really tank, but the output wasn’t remotely proportional to the input. I viewed the series as a bomb, despite good reviews and positive feedback from readers. The books just didn’t do what I needed them to do. They didn’t make money.

So, I went through all the stages of grief, and in the end I got angry. Anger is a great motivator for me. I looked at what was hitting the tops of the bestseller lists: Contemporary. New Adult. Erotica. None of my preferred genres. But I was so driven to prove to myself that I didn’t suck as a writer, I did something I swore I’d never do.

I sold out.

I wrote an erotica book.

It kicked my UF series’ ASS in sales and rankings.

Go effin’ figure.

Some hard truths came to light through this process. The biggest revelation was that as authors, we have to decide whether we’re in this business to make art or to make money. We can’t have both. Very few authors make art that sells. Commercial viability does not lend itself to artistic endeavors, and vice-versa. If New York doesn’t want your book, then you’re probably too creative. If they do want it, then you’re marketable. New York publishers run a business. They don’t give a shit about art.

Apparently, they have something there. 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.

Compromise: The name of the game for writers in the New World Order of Publishing.

So, who do you write for? Yourself or the market? How far are you willing to bend to achieve your dreams as an author?

Now, you'd think that's MORE than enough. Right? Wrong!!

Yes, there's even more... Just look at this amazing apology in the comments -
One of my favorite parts is this:
When did I call my readers stupid? I must’ve missed that. I adore and respect every single one of them.

Sorry to say this, but Kendall (obviously) failed to convince us. Maybe she SHOULD check all the post 5/15 reviews on Goodreads after all. She'd probably be surprised... or not. The funny thing is - Goodreads motherfuckers are the ones that bought her "piece of trash" on Amazon. You'd think she figured that out by now!

Oh, and not only has she managed to piss off A LOT of readers, there are some authors out there that agree with us - calling your readers stupid (or insulting them in any way) is the ultimate level of idiocy!
So, here's what they said about those "snarky words"...

Reality 301 with @heidicullinan

The point? This type of trash talk sends you straight to "authors behaving badly" list.
It will NOT help you sell 100 copies of a book (ANY book with your name on it) a day.
It will NOT help you make a living at writing.
It will NOT help you!

Dear Kendall, you have NO idea what Erotica is. And, what's more important, you have NO idea what ART is.


* * * * * * *

Kendall's post on Authors For Life has been deleted. But, they did post "Kendall Grey's Post Update" on May 16th. Here it is:

In consideration of both the author and our guests, we’ve decided to take down today’s post. It was getting rather nasty and that’s not what this site is about. When we posted Ms. Grey’s post, we never considered the angle that it was taken–nor do we believe the author meant anything malicious in the content. It was supposed to be a post to inspire to try new things–granted, Ms. Grey has her own unique way of wording things–but it was supposed to be in good fun and an alternative when you’re on a path that’s not producing results.


  1. Thanks for reposting the full text here. I had a few people that didn't get to read it when it was still live, so I've been directing them here.

    I can't imagine why an author would put crap like this out there to begin with, but even more baffling is why she didn't try to address her huge mistake anywhere else. At the very least, put out a simple "I'm sorry, that wasn't what I meant" should have gone up somewhere. But, no, she resorts cursing and accusing people of not being able to read. Behold: An abject lesson in What Not To Do. SMH.

    1. You're welcome, Starla. A lot of Goodreads members posted the full text in their reviews (well, actually instead of their reviews), as well as the screenshots.

      I suppose you need to believe you've actually made a mistake - which Kendall so obviously does not - in order to (even try to) properly address it. Her answer?

      "My inbox is overflowing with praise from authors thanking me for writing the post. They are afraid to publicly support me because they fear being crucified as I was. I understand and fully respect that. My friends tell me there’s a torrent of fury on Goodreads and some blogs about my post. I have not read a single one and have no interest in doing so."

      Lucky her, many of us have no interest in reading her books, so that makes us (almost) even, I guess.

      p.s. I updated the post, and added the "Kendall Grey's Post Update" from Authors For Life. They deleted her post, because "it was getting rather nasty". What a surprise! *rolls eyes*

  2. Thanks for the article. I had read a post by Lauren Dane commenting on what KG said and I totally agreed with her thoughts on the whole thing.

    You are spot on here too.....I've been thinking about buying 'Strings' but that won't be happening now - don't care how good the reviews it's getting are!
    KG can deny what she meant all she likes - she took a pop at readers who enjoy this kind of book - she should hang her head in shame not try to laugh it all off as 'reader error' for taking her comments in the wrong way!!!

    Gonna stick to buying books from authors who make no apologies for what they write, who write what I enjoy and who don't take pot shots at their readers for liking their work!!!

    1. Agreed! Lauren Dane's post is dead on!

      I was hoping KG will stop here. She's done more than enough already! But, instead of simply saying "sorry", and concentrating on damage control, she's now on a "stealth mission", because the trolls are trying to destroy her reputation and kill her career.
      Seriously??? Nope. She managed to do it all by herself!

      And, yes, I'll devote my time (and money) to authors who love their own work, respect their readers, and do not act like high school drama queens. Paying someone to insult me is definitely not my idea of fun.

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