- EDITOR’S NOTE: We were pretty sure that Scolding Sally had shown us a level of ignorance that could not be surpassed. However, a few readers actually proved us wrong by not only re-accusing us of racism based our refuting Sally’s accusations – but then making disparaging remarks about OUR ethnicity to drive home their point! We did not post these comments because it was not our intention to start a battle between our readers. However, we thought it necessary to point out that some folks actually used racism as their bludgeon to criticize us…and call us racists. The world is a strange place…
Your reaction is a little over the top for me. Usually whenever someone has to declare loudly that they are not racist, there’s some ambiguity there. I will take myself off your mailing list.
– Name Witheld
Nice one, Brian. In grad school I eeked out my assistantship and student loan contracting as a copy editor for a vanity press. Oy, the stuff I read and worked at making readable, always tending to the writer’s voice and style…. Sigh. Happy Christmas from the Great White North to all of you on open water.
Very creative prose, Brian.
– Wendy Jones
Highlander Imagine – Beyond Infinity
Duncan MacLeod must fight a South American Immortal at Teotihuacan.
I bet Scolding Sally forgot to tell you that some of her best friends are writers! Ha ha
– Roy Barnes
Bravo Sir. Bravo.
This may come across as a sycophantic testimonial but that was one of the best articles I have read in a long, long time. Its so well crafted and intelligent that I don’t think Scolding Sally will understand that she’s just been eloquently called a f*cking moron. In defending your publishing kingdom, you and Angela have reminded us all that the pen is still mightier than the sword. Cheers!
– Michael Wilts
Bravo for telling it like it is, Brian, Angela, and the rest of the Booklocker staff. OF COURSE we can tell that most of the example queries are from foreign writers. But I’m not about to try to submit an article to a Russian or a Japanese or a Somalian publisher . . . because I am NOT FLUENT IN THOSE LANGUAGES! Period. Even if I was a best-selling American author, I wouldn’t think of trying to enter a market with my writing if I had to do it in a language with which I have no clue. Neither should anyone in another country who is not fluent in English. Writing is a business, as Brian said, not a charity.
To the racism point: As a long-time member of an online critique group, I’ve seen dozens of examples of novel writing by American-born, English-speaking authors that were horrid and rife with grammar mistakes and typos. I’ve seen pictures of many of these writers, and I know for a fact many are white. Bad writing is a universal problem. I’ll bet a bunch of the queries Booklocker receives are from native, white, English speakers whose grammar and attention to detail really are that poor and sloppy.
… An American-born, English-speaking-only author who has all he can do to write coherently in English, let alone make any money selling his writing in that language. Also, I just spent about 10 minutes editing and proofreading this reply . . . Seriously! And I’m sure it could be improved even more.
WINNER – B.R.A.G. Medallion (Book Readers Appreciation Group) for overall excellence among independently published titles
HONORABLE MENTION – Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published Book Awards – Genre Category
I must say – that was well written!
Worse than racists, ableists! Yes! You discriminate based on ability! All persons should be published and compensated whether they can write well or not! Illiterates of the world unite!
– JDB Communications, LLC
Ha ha, excellently put! As a publisher I have seen the most awful writing come in for the slush pile – and slush it is!
Several times I have had a query letter from a graduate from a university, with a degree in literature and creative writing. How did these people even get their ‘A’ levels to let them INTO university?? Then too, we ran a Young Writers competition, promising feedback to all entries. To one of them I wrote: “Taking into consideration that English is your second language…” (and I was being KIND!) – I received an outraged reply from this ‘A’ level literature student, telling me English was her native language! Ay-ay-ayyy! Sometimes one despairs!
So, I am totally with you. Also on how furious some writers are on receiving a thank-you-but-no-thank-you … reminds me of when Simon Cowell tells an auditioner they can’t sing when they are convinced they can, and they yell at him that he knows nothing. lol!
Keep up the good work and keep being kind but firm – and don’t avoid the truth. That’s what I think, anyway.
To “Name Witheld” – if one is accused of something and denies it, how does that make them guilty?? If I am accused of murder and say “I didn’t do it! I didn’t, I really didn’t!” – should they lock me away as guilty? This nonsense is like the old days of witch hunting – dunk them in a pond and hold them down; if they drown they aren’t a witch (too late for them though!), and if they survive they must be a witch, so let’s burn them!! Utter rubbish. If I deny something it’s because I’m being honest in the face of unfair criticism. Plain and simple. Get over yourself!
– Jo Howe Holloway
In reply to Jo Howe Holloway.
Great point, Jo. I’d like to highlight the fact that – as I stated in my article (albeit in a humorous manner)- I actually took some time for some self reflection, and then gathered my evidence (true examples of the various authors we work with) and then presented that evidence as an argument against what “Sally” accused us of. Notice how the easy path (“You were accused of racism, and protested too loudly – therefore you must be racist.”) requires no thought, no evidence, no logical discourse. If someone is hunting straw-men, they will find one everywhere they look.
– Brian Whiddon – Managing Editor, WritersWeekly
I’m guessing that Sally’s letter is the proverbial back-breaking straw. Writers who do not think grammar is important are a burden on the language.
Some of the worst writing that I saw in my teaching career came from pre-med students in my upper division biology classes. This included essay exams and term papers. Those students represented the intellectual elite. Bad writing slices across all groups.
Nice job, Brian. I especially liked the links to foreign words, most of which I did not recognize.
Nice response, Brian…I did recognize most of the languages and appreciated the angle you took in addressing the name-calling, which is waaaaaaaay (not really a word) too prevalent in America today. If I disagree with you, I throw a label at you. There, that’ll learn ya! Having been an educator, investigator, and training facilitator in the EEO business for over 13 years, you were spot-on with recommending that Scolding Sally look in the mirror. Bad, as well as good, writers come in all races, ethnic groups, both genders, etc., so for her to assume it was a “foreigner” demonstrates her personal prejudices and stereotypes. I disagree that “when someone has to declare loudly that they are not racist, there’s some ambiguity there” because Scolding Sally threw the label, you just addressed her name calling. Silence is agreement, so good for you on speaking up! I hope everyone who celebrates Chanukah had a wonderful time and a Very Merry Christmas to those who celebrate Christmas! Cheers!
– Joe Boltersdorf
Ridiculous. You guys do great work that helps writers everywhere. Don’t change a thing.
– Robert Beringer