Whew, my Blog Book Tour’s over at last. Ten stops in two consecutive Monday-Friday work weeks. Today I was planning to wrap it all up with a summary, including links to all the sites I visited, but I’m simply too frazzled, so I’ll do it early next week. Today’s illustration, incidentally, is a more up-to-date photo of Michael Easton, from 2007. I decided the photo from his days as a vampire on Port Charles, the one I used in my post on villains, simply didn’t do him justice. And what with all the hype on the opening weekend of the second Twilight movie, the photo seems appropriate – some eye candy for those of us women who prefer our men a bit more mature than Robert Pattinson.
Actually, my post today has nothing to do with villains, vampires or Blog Book Tours, and I’m not frazzled because of the book tour. I’m doing what I believe journalists call “burying the lead.” I’ve been careful on this blog not to put anyone down. I don’t malign individual writers, even those who write atrociously, and I don’t violate confidences. But today, in the interests of lowering my blood pressure, I need to break my usual pattern and vent.
Today I quit a local organization of fans and writers to which I’ve belonged since its founding several years ago. It’s a chapter of a national organization that will remain nameless. My decision wasn’t taken lightly; in fact, it’s a step I probably should have taken long ago. Here are a few of the issues that came up at our lunch meeting today at an Albany pub:
- Election of new officers: our new president is fine, but she’s the only writer to hold an officer’s position. The rest are allegedly fans. A writer friend of mine ran for vice president but was defeated by an open show of hands – a mortifying way to hold an election! The winner was a state employee who is not now and has never been a writer.
- Throwing away $8,000: through a personal contact, the same writer friend was invited to apply for an $8,000 grant for an anthology of short stories by our members. The president, however, ordered the treasurer not to release the documents necessary to complete the application, because “we hadn’t had time to discuss it.” Those present today also expressed concerns: What if we didn’t have enough material to fill the book? What if the foundation wanted their money back? What exactly did they want us to write? They decided they had made the correct decision in blackballing the application.
- Payment or reimbursement for authors’ appearances: they reaffirmed their longstanding position that authors should not be paid nor reimbursed for mileage for personal appearances. The organization exists not to promote individual authors, but to promote the chapter as a whole. All income from library and other appearances should go to the organization, not the individual writers.
- My personal book sales: the woman who has appointed herself the chapter’s book seller berated me at length for attempting to sell my own books rather than give her a percentage of my sales. Her independent bookstore handles all the authors’ sales, she said, but she reaffirmed her decision not to handle my suspense novel ELDERCIDE because she finds the title and concept disgusting. The fact that I was named Author of the Year by the Friends of the Albany Public Library doesn’t cut any ice with her.
I could go on, but you get the idea. I hoped that venting here about today’s fiasco would help tamp down my rage, but I find my blood pressure climbing once again, so I’d better quit. Suffice it to say I asked the treasurer to return the check I’d just written for next year’s dues, tore it up dramatically in front of all those assembled, threw down $10 for my lunch, and slammed the door on my way out. Talk about burning bridges!
With fans like these, who needs enemies? Only one of these fans has ever bought a book of mine. I still have my writer friends, a couple of whom I’ve met through this organization, but other than that, as Heidi Klum would say on Project Runway, I’m OUT. And I’m not particularly worried that any of those alleged fans will see this blog post, because they’re steadfast in their hatred of the Internet, and my blog in particular.
And now I’m off to see the new Warren Miller extreme skiing movie and collect some free lift tickets. Seeing all those skiers jumping off cliffs and being buried in avalanches is just what I need tonight!