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Louisville Author Spotlight welcomes Sue Grafton

August 7, 2012
By

If you’ve ever set foot in a bookstore, you know author Sue Grafton’s work.  Did you know she’s a Louisville native?

Lucky you, dear reader!  She agreed to an interview.  Let’s see what Sue has to say about books, reading, The ‘Ville, and the state of publishing today.

Welcome, Sue Grafton!

V

Sue Grafton

Welcome!  Tell us about your latest project.

‘V’ IS FOR VENGEANCE was published in November of 2011. I hardly know how to characterize it because mentally I’ve put it on cancel/delete to make room in my poor beleaguered brain for the next book. I use multiple points of view to tell a story where all the strands come together as the narrative proceeds. I deal in part with organized retail theft…shoplifting, in other words. Kinsey becomes embroiled in a very nasty situation when she spots a woman stealing in the lingerie department where she’s gone to buy underwear. She alerts store security and she’s thrilled to hear the woman has been arrested. Then two or three days later, she reads in the paper that the woman has thrown herself off the side of a bridge…

And so it goes.

After attaining such success in your field, how do you keep it fresh and exciting?

I ignore my so-called success and focus on the job at hand. Since each book I write is harder than the one before, I’ve got enough on my mind. I don’t want to repeat myself so I keep elaborate charts of the stories I’ve done: the overall subject matter, the set-up for the case Kinsey’s hired to work on, the motive for the crime, the gender of the victim, the gender of the killer, and the nature of the ending. You’d be surprised how often I come up with an idea that seems new, fresh, and different only to discover…on close analysis…that it’s something I’ve done before.

Where do Louisville/Southern Indiana readers know you from, outside of your books? Do you get recognized about town?

Occasionally someone recognizes me, but not that often. If I order merchandise on-line, the telephone salesperson on hearing my name will often ask, Are you THE Sue Grafton?! When I modestly confess that I am indeed THE Sue Grafton, we stop and have a chat. I’m sure I get better service.

So that’s the secret!

Do you ever regret the alphabet series of titles? I’ve read some reviews that weren’t so kind. Ever wish you could have just dropped the line, at, say, letter L?

Never. I’m sure every writer suffers unkind reviews. What does that have to do with anything? I love my work and I’m happy being challenged. I really didn’t think the series would take off, but that’s been a happy form of astonishment. I think we’d all be well-advised to ignore the opinions of others. There’s always someone who wants to tear you down. Most of them haven’t written even one book, let alone 22 so who cares about their point of view? It’s easy to be judgmental and critical; hard to be steadfast, conscientious, and inventive.

What comes after “Z”?

Party, party, party!

Do you have any words of wisdom for young writers?

Quit worrying about publication and master your craft. If you have a good story to tell and if you write it well, the Universe will come to your aid. Don’t self-publish. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work.

In light of our Louisville neighbor John Locke’s blockbuster indie sales, and the growing percentage of each best-seller list being filled out by “indie” writers, do you still feel that advice is solid? I know it was the standard advice a few years ago, but is it still good advice?

If so, what hard work are indie success stories too lazy to complete?

Is it possible that indie publishing is more effective than querying agents & publishers, for the new writer? More and more agents and publishers seem to be treating indie books as the new slush pile.

Good questions.  Obviously, I’m not talking about the rare few writers who manage to break out. The indie success stories aren’t the rule. They’re the exception. The self-published books I’ve read are often amateurish. I’ve got one sitting on my desk right now and I’ve received hundreds of them over the years. Sorry about that, but it’s the truth. The hard work is taking the rejection, learning the lessons, and mastering the craft over a period of time. I see way too many writers who complete one novel and start looking for the fame and fortune they’re sure they’re entitled to. To me, it seems disrespectful…that a ‘wannabe’ assumes it’s all so easy s/he can put out a ‘published novel’ without bothering to read, study, or do the research. Learning to construct a narrative and create character, learning to balance pace, description, exposition, and dialogue takes a long time. This is not an quick do-it-yourself home project. Self-publishing is a short cut and I don’t believe in short cuts when it comes to the arts. I compare self-publishing to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he’s ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall. Don’t get me started. Oops..you already did.

Fair enough!  I believe many indie authors resent the stereotype that they haven’t spent years honing their craft.  Thank goodness sales numbers & reviews are so easily accessible now.  Bad books have a way of weeding themselves out of the marketplace.

Who are your favorite writers from the local area?

From the local area? Don’t know many if any. Overall, I love Elmore Leonard and Michael Connelly in the field of crime writing. My reading habits are eclectic. I’d never belong to a book club because I wouldn’t be able to tolerate someone else telling me what to read.

Tell us about your favorite bookstores/coffee shops/writing haunts. What makes them special? (If you don’t buy into the stereotype of the writer surrounded by books and coffee, then tell us more about where and how you write.)

I write in my office at my desk surrounded by files full of newspaper clippings and shelf after shelf of research books, texts, and technical manuals. I couldn’t write in a public setting. To me that always looks like a form of exhibitionism. (Sorry ‘bout that for those of you who love to toil away in coffee shops…) I can’t concentrate in strange surroundings. I can’t write on a lap top and I can’t write when I’m on the road.

What’s next on the writing slate, for you?

“W” IS FOR…. which should be published in the fall of 2013.

 Sue Grafton, you are a jewel in the crown of the Louisville literary scene.  Thanks for taking the time to chat with me online!  Much continued success to you.

Readers, if you know an author who deserves to shine in the Local Author Spotlight, please get in touch.  Either side of the river is fine–we speak Southern Indianaese, too!  Books about relevant local subject matter are encouraged, as well.  Email RedTashBooks@gmail.com and please put “LouisvilleKY.com Author Spotlight” in your email subject.  Thanks!

Stay tuned for more local author news.  I hope you’re discovering some fantastic new reads, from names new and old on the literary scene.

Leslea Tash is a Southern Indiana journalist-turned-novelist.  Formerly a freelancer best known for Guerilla Mothering, she now writes dark fantasy, horror, fairy tales, and other fun stuff including the 5 star, Amazon “Hot New Release”  Troll Or Derby under the pen name Red Tash.  She always welcomes your feedback on this column on the LouisvilleKY.com site, on Facebook, on her websites or twitter.  Just about anywhere works.  Get in touch!

Leslea Tash

Leslea Tash has been a freelance journalist in the Louisville/Southern Indiana area, as well as writing for a national audience professionally for such outlets as CNHI newspapers, CafeMom, Current Magazine, Kentuckiana Family, Today's Family, Today's Transitions, the Courier-Journal, and more. She is perhaps best known for her Guerilla Mothering column, which she plans to revamp into a novel; as well as for her work as a food allergy awareness advocate for children. She now publishes fiction under the pen name Red Tash.

http://lesleatash.com

73 Responses to Louisville Author Spotlight welcomes Sue Grafton

  1. Christine DeMaio-Rice on August 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    With regard to self publishing, I’d like to quote Sue to Sue”

    “I think we’d all be well-advised to ignore the opinions of others. There’s always someone who wants to tear you down. “

  2. Helen Ginger on August 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I discovered Sue Grafton after she was well into her alphabet series. I bought them from A and read them all. Once I caught up, I had to wait for the next. Eventually, I started reading other authors and forgot to buy the next Grafton. I know I missed out on some good books that she’s written, but I also found some other great authors, both traditionally published and self-published.

    I had an agent. I’ve been published by a university press. Now, I’ve published my own book, Angel Sometimes. I think both traditionally pubbed books and author-pubbed books are legitimate. I think everyone has a right to read what they want and write and publish the way that works for them.

    Thanks Leslea/Red for a great interview!

  3. Helen Ginger on August 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Well, lordy, my icon looks rather disgruntled. Actually, I’m in a good mood and smiling.

  4. Karin on August 7, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Wow, Sue. That’s quite an opinion. I agree with some of it. Writing is a craft that takes time. But I can say, as an editor who worked in trade publishing for fifteen years, that I know many self-published authors who are FAR from lazy. Some of my clients put a lot more work into perfecting their manuscripts than some trade-published authors I worked with, many of whom assumed “My editor will fix that later.”

    Many of the authors I work with have been writing for decades or more and have had mixed success. Many landed an agent who failed to secure a deal. Many (like myself) are trade-published authors who have switched to self-publishing to publish backlist titles or new books because they recognize the flaws in the industry — the long delays in getting the book on the shelves, the shrinking advances, the lower royalty rates, the lack of control over the chosen editor or cover art, the token three-month promotional push, the reduced royalties on discounted copies, the remainders).

    If writing and perfecting a book (usually while working a day job), working with beta readers, hiring (and paying for) an editor, hiring and briefing (and paying for) a cover designer, and then doing all of your own marketing and promotion in perpetuity is a short-cut that “lazy” writers choose, I’m surprised you “legitimately published” authors even have time to sneer at those who were less fortunate on the publishing merry-go-round or who chose to make 70% of RRP rather than %10-%30 (depending on where you live). But surprisingly, trade-published authors just keep on making sweeping generalizations, even if readers no longer do.

  5. Dan DeWitt on August 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

    “If you have a good story to tell and if you write it well, the Universe will come to your aid. Don’t self-publish. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work”

    Well, that’s some fantastic advice right there. It’s as useful as, “When the student is ready, the master will appear.”

    Sue, it’s comforting to know that if you were starting out today, you wouldn’t self-publish. You’d just toil away for years in obscurity waiting for the Universe to lend a hand.

    Sweet Christmas, authors like you and Jodi Picoult should be ashamed of yourselves when it comes to your edict to not self-publish. You have a large platform to actually help young writers, but your “advice” is driven by nothing more than your own ignorance and self-interests.

    Maybe you think that you’re not talented or hardworking enough to self-publish. Many others chose that route and are doing well for themselves, so stop dismissing the self-publishing option out of hand, because it makes you sound scared.

  6. Chris Morris on August 8, 2012 at 9:18 am

    “The indie success stories aren’t the rule. They’re the exception.”

    Isn’t this true of ALL success stories in the publishing business, whether the book is self-published or put out by a major publisher? Why then is such a stick in her craw? More and more, it just sounds like people are threatened by the self-publishing portion of the industry.

  7. Donna White Glaser on August 8, 2012 at 10:21 am

    “To me, it seems disrespectful…that a ‘wannabe’ assumes it’s all so easy s/he can put out a ‘published novel’ without bothering to read, study, or do the research.”

    What a horrible, ill-informed, disrespectful attitude. I love Grafton’s books, but now have a jaundiced view of their author. I’ll still read the series, because I consider reading part of LEARNING MY CRAFT, but her willingness to cast all self-publishing into the trash is . . . well, lazy.

  8. Mack Mulluncey on August 8, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Ah, this is why they say “opinions are like assholes…” and all that.

    I have a suggestion for any traditionally published author who is so deeply offended by indie publishing: Start a fund for novice writers, so that they can pay their bills as they slog through your paradigm of what their career should look like. This will give them all the time in the world to wait for an agent and a publisher to notice them, while allowing them to keep a roof over their head and their lights on.

    Wait? You don’t want to pony up money for that? Well, then I say, for every dollar you give to these writers to pay their expenses, you have a dollar’s worth of say about how they conduct their careers.

    It’s a big world out there. We don’t all have to follow the same path.

  9. Tony Hursh on August 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    “The self-published books I’ve read are often amateurish. ”

    One word: “Snooki”.

  10. Elizabeth Simmons on August 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you, Sue, for your opinion. I won’t look to you for support should I ever self-publish. Don’t look to me for any more financial support. W is for …

  11. Pam on August 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Wow.I’m sure glad I didn’t read Sue’s thoughts on self-publishing before I sold my 100,000th book in a year on Amazon, retired from my day job, paid off all my debts, and put some money in savings, all thanks to the books I never managed to sell to the Big 6. I might never have given it a shot and hit the Amazon best seller lists, gained a following of fans, and worked my tail off to put out a top-notch, well-edited series of books.

    Despite the condescending remarks, there are many, many quality books being self-published these days. And I’m glad. I’m tired of the same old, same old books put out by the publishing companies.

    • Alan Dale on August 9, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Wow, what’s your secret? =)….no, seriously, book is doing ok in the early stages, but….

      • Pam on August 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

        Dale, I honestly don’t know. It all started with my short novella series and took off from there. I think having several books is key, and having several in a series really helps. Good luck with yours!

        • Pam on August 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm

          Oops, sorry. Alan, not Dale.

          • Alan Dale on August 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm

            Thanks…so far so so good…
            Well congrats to you!

  12. So.Sue.Me on August 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Wow. First, this reader has not heard of Sue Grafton. Sue Who? OH, it becomes clear. Another sleazeball writing pulp series fiction for the Big 6 to keep their accountants happy.

    Ms. Grafton is not a literary giant, folks. Pandering to the lowest common denominator hardly qualifies her to pass judgment on any author, ever, on this planet.

    As other readers have pointed out, ho-hum. Yesterday’s pulp is garbage. Let’s hope it is recyclable.

  13. Ceri Hebert on August 9, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Funny, I find a lot of traditionally pubbed books by famous authors as incredibly lazy. I won’t name names, but it seems like they get to a comfortable spot in their career when they’re well known and people will buy their book just because their name is on it and quite often the book is no where near up to par with what made them famous in the first place.

    On the other hand, being a part of the indie community, I have seen how much hard work self-pubbed authors put into their craft. They don’t take short cuts or easy roads to success. They’re also incredibly helpful and generous with their advice to those who are starting out or in the process. I highly doubt traditionally pubbed authors would be so giving.

    Of course there are self pubbed books that have no business being out there, but I’m sure there are just as many traditionally pubbed books that are just as horrible.

  14. Yezall Strongheart on August 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

    “Don’t self-publish. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work.”

    You really have no clue what it’s like to self-publish, that sentence proves it. I am appalled at your stab.

  15. Ignatius on August 9, 2012 at 11:25 am

    W is for Wrong.

  16. Mark Feggeler on August 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    As with anything else, I firmly believe people are entitled to their opinions. My only hope is those opinions are informed. I wouldn’t condemn a traditionally published author for going that route if it makes sense for him/her. Likewise, I wouldn’t condemn an author for self-publishing if that made the most sense. Both methods are financially viable, both result in books of varying quality, and neither can ensure success.

  17. Stephen Knight on August 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    It’s a shame Grafton won’t come here and read the comments. I suspect fear will likely keep her at bay.

  18. Stacy Green on August 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Ms. Grafton, I suggest you check out the Amazon bestseller lists and then talk to those indies (more than a handful, by the way) who are outselling the traditionally published authors. Talk to them about the hours put into learning craft, the courses taken, the critique groups, the marketing, the social networking, and how they are still finding the time to put out a quality book.

    Calling indie authors lazy is flat out disrespectful. Are there badly self-published books? Yes. But there are plenty of legacy books out there with bad developmental editing and inefficient line editing. Indies are coming together to promote editing, and many are having their books edited by editors from Big 6 houses who also freelance. More and more are investing in themselves by hiring developmental editors, all in the name of bettering their craft and having a better product for the reader.

    You’re making a broad assumption that all good books worth reading will be picked up by an agent and then sold to a Big 6 house. That’s never been true, and it certainly isn’t in today’s changing market.

    There will always be amateurs in any field, but to classify every self-published author as someone who doesn’t put in the blood, sweat, and tears for their craft is akin to saying all Muslims are terrorists.

    If your goal was to lose potential readers today, you’ve certainly accomplished it.

    • Patricia Sands on August 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Bravo, Stacy! Nothing more needs to be said.

    • Natalie Hartford on August 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Beautifully said Stacy! I couldn’t agree more.
      When I read Ms. Grafton’s answer: I think we’d all be well-advised to ignore the opinions of others. There’s always someone who wants to tear you down. Most of them haven’t written even one book, let alone 22 so who cares about their point of view? It’s easy to be judgmental and critical; hard to be steadfast, conscientious, and inventive.
      I am shocked and find it so unprofessional that she herself is tearing down indie authors, being judgmental and critical with her broad and sweeping statements. But perhaps we should take her first bit of advice and simply ignore the opinion of others; hers included.

    • Marcia Richards on August 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Very well-put Stacy! I’ve read everyone of Ms Grafton’s books and enjoyed them all. I can’t in good conscience read her work any longer.
      Ms. Grafton, I’ve lost respect for you as a member of the writing community and am sincerely disappointed that you have become jaded sitting in your ivory tower. You have no idea how large an audience you have just offended. It’s true, you have lost many readers today, and that will likely snowball. As a writer, the idea is to connect with readers in a positive way–how could you forget that?

  19. Katherine Rochholz on August 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I am an indie author and I am outraged at her indie comment, I had the contracts thank you, and from two of the big six, but they wanted changes that would destroy the underlying theme of my work, so I choose to be indie, that way I could show the world what my true viewpoint was with my work. I work hard, and I struggle because I choose to be an Indie. I could have commercial fame if I let the big six publish my work, there is no doubt, considering the feedback I get from my work, but at what cost? I stayed true to myself. I am not saying I would never look at traditional publishing, but right now it takes a special type of person to be an Indie author to stand firm with their beliefs. I would rather read an Indie book over any book by an author who thinks they are better because they have a contract with a publisher. You have just lost a reader Sue Grafton. I just wanted to say my peace, now I will continue on doing my own thing.

  20. Audra on August 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Wow Sue, I hope you don’t get a bee up your nose. You are holding it so high up in the air, it might happen.

  21. Karleene Morrow, Author on August 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Totally disgusting and the worst that a writer could say about other writers. Haughty and basically out of touch to the changing world of publishing. I used to be a fan, Ms Grafton, but you’ve lost my respect and from what I’m hearing the respect of hundreds or thousands of others. A lot of us will never buy another Grafton book, but that won’t hurt you as you’ve already made your fortune. Hopefully, however, your arrogant put-downs will come back to haunt you in ways you can’t foresee right now while you are preening.

  22. Sandy Nathan on August 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I have never read a Sue Grafton novel. I’ve heard that they are mediocre pulp written for the mass markets. I require more from a book. After the charming diatribe above, I certainly won’t read a Sue Grafton novel in the future.

    I’m thinking of starting a regular feature on my blog: Indie Gems. I’ve been collecting the free books on Amazon’s KDP program. A lot of the books are dreck that I delete immediately, but some are WONDERFUL.

    For instance, I just read The Blasphemer by a New Zealand author. Wonderful action book about fending off terrorists and a writers’ conscience. I learned a great deal about Islam. The writing was superb. Also just finished Guns, the first book of a series. The author showed amazing attention to detail, especially about guns and airplanes. I could go on listing absorbing, fascinating books, all of them self-pubbed.

    I’ll have to check out books by the people on this thread who identified themselves as authors. The gems are everywhere.

    So, thanks, Sue. Your arrogance inspired a new blog feature. Indie Gems Watch for it.

    • Ann Nyland on August 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      How supremely arrogant and self satisfied. Ms. Grafton has not taken time out of her hard work to discover that “they” (not the outdated “s/he”) is the accepted third person singular. She has ignored the fact that some authors have to go indie to avoid being privished, and many do it as a business decision. She does not appear to know that the face of publishing has changed.
      This is one lot of publicity that will not end in sales for Ms. Grafton.

    • Pam on August 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Sandy, I hope you do just that. There are so many Indie authors who are far better than a lot of Big 6 authors. Theresa Ragan, Debra Holland, Delle Jacobs, Norah Wilson just to name a few. I write as Tori Scott if you do get that up and going and are interested. :)

      • Rebecca Stroud on August 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

        Sandy – I’m one of those ‘lazy’ indie authors who has been writing for over twenty years (former newspaper reporter/columnist). In any case, after ‘agent’ rejection upon rejection, I decided to self-publish. So, please – if you’re looking for diamonds in the rough – check out my work for your “Indie Gems” blog.

        That said, I agree. Ms. Grafton has just managed to shoot her arrogant self in the foot. I’ve read a few of her books (long ago) but, by no means, will I ever read another.

        There are many great authors who simply did not have the luck/timing Grafton had (which, again, was before the publishing world changed). So to paint all those who have spent years honing their craft with her superior broad brush is disingenuous, to say the least. I just hope she reads these comments and takes heed.

      • Rebecca Stroud on August 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm

        Sorry, Pam…hit the wrong ‘reply’ button (I’m a little ticked off by this interview so apparently not paying sufficient attention..:)

    • Thomas on November 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      I’ve seen a number of Ms. Grafton’s books in the $1.99 to $5.99 bin at my local grocery store at any given time. What does that say about Ms. Grafton?

  23. David LeRoy on August 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Sue, did you ever read your comments and consider that they are just about 3 years behind the times? GET OUT OF THAT OFFICE, GO TO A COFFEE SHOP, AND LEARN TO INTERACT WITH PEOPLE. Writing in public is not EXHIBITIONISM. If you need to see what that looks like, just do a search on Yahoo, and remove your adult safety. I dare you to find one picture among those images of a writer in a coffee shop.

  24. Joan Szechtman on August 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you Leslea Tash for challenging Ms. Grafton’s arrogant and outdated comment about indie authors. Like the other author’s here, I am proud to call myself an indie author and know just how much hard work goes into producing anything of quality. I also want to say that there are quite a few traditionally published authors who are extremely generous with their support of indie and new to the scene published authors. I want to give my personal shout out to Sharon Kay Penman, who is a wonderful writer, person, and who is most generous in her support of authors regardless of whether they are indie or traditional.

  25. James A. Anderson on August 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I see that Author Sue Grafton of the Kinsey Millhone series is quoted in an interview attacking Independent self published authors as being too lazy to do the hard work.

    I like and respect Sue Grafton and her ABC mysteries, but she is way off base on this one. Indie authors probably have to work a lot harder at marketing and promoting than she does with the publisher’s publiciity machine behind her. Stick to writing Sue and quit the pontificating. I also hate to see authors attacking other authors. She joins the authors behaving badly club.

    I’m an Independent thriller writer and doing quite nicely in sales thank you, Ms. Grafton.

  26. Diana Murdock on August 10, 2012 at 12:53 am

    The Universe will deliver what you put out there – indie or trad. There is plenty to go around. Just sayin’

  27. maureen on August 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Stereotype much? Disappointed in you Sue.

    • James A. Anderson on August 10, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Caught some typos in your inteview Sue. You need to do a better job of editing like self-published authors. Also self-published authors get 70% royalties. What does the publisher give you — 5%?

  28. Sandra on August 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I’m not a published author, so I cannot speak to the work that goes into writing a book, self-pubbed or not. I am however an avid reader, and I’ve read and reviewed both self-pubbed books and books supposedly edited by some bigshot editor at one of the big six. And I’ve seen poorly edited books with huge plot holes come out of the big six, and excellently crafted books come out of self-publishing.

    To call anyone lazy, as Ms. Grafton so eloquently stated, without having actually walked in their shoes, is narrow-minded and rather short-sighted. With all due respect, unless you’ve self-published and put in the work required to get your novel properly edited, marketed it on your own and still found the time to write the next one, this kind of sweeping statement is an insult.

    Sure, there are plenty of duds, because anyone can now put up a book on Amazon and call themselves an author, but there are, in my humble opinion, also plenty of books that are just as good, if not better than many of the books being published by traditional publishing houses.

    I’ve never read a book by Ms. Grafton, and now I surely won’t. This kind of elitist attitude is off-putting to me.

  29. Kelly Walker on August 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

    As authors, it is our job to understand what our words will convey. The emotions, the reactions, the connotations.

    Surely Ms. Grafton knew exactly what she was saying as well as how it would be perceived. I find her comments inflammatory, rude, disrespectful and most of all – enlightening.

    As an author who is about to self publish, I know now who not to look up to.

  30. Karleene Morrow, Author on August 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    How do you really feel, Melissa? Don’t hold back. Bahaha. Just kidding you since I totally agree with you as do hundreds of others. I have read Sue G. and thought she looked like a cool person. Wrong. She is arrogant, incorrect and certainly has no class – I was wrong about that, too. She’s not alone, unfortunately, similar interviews have been conducted with traditionally pub’d authors who share her snootiness. It is, unfortunately, true that there is junque out there in the indie pub’d world. But you know what? There is a ton of junque in the Big 6 world too. Crap is too often published because a writers has a “name” even if he pub’d only one mediocre book. And if he’s a “Big” name then he has license to write really bad books and his publisher will put them out as fast as he can and sing his praises. The T. pub’l industry is all about profit and only about profit – they’ve been screwing writers for years and years, why should anything be different now or why should they care about a good story. I, an avid reader, am sick to death of the number of crappy books I’ve purchased and never finished, and that certainly includes very “top” t-pub’d authors.

  31. Darlene Elizabeth Williams on August 11, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Ms. Grafton needs to check her ego at the door. Congratulations on her success, but to denegrade other authors?

    I review historical fiction novels. Lately, the vast majority are self-pubbed or indie. I’ve found some absolute gems I would have missed out on if I was to take Ms. Grafton’s comments to heart.

    I am a member of a large global writing community. I see firsthand how hard independent authors craft and agonize to present their best possible work.

    Yes, there are some that just slap up their substandard novels on Amazon. I can also say I’ve read by pretty crappy traditionally published books.

    It all boils down to – no person has the right to tear down someone else’s dream.

    Ms. Grafton’s quote “It’s easy to be judgmental and critical;…” is an example of a person shooting themselves in the foot. Only hers is firmly stuck in her mouth.

    Finally, I don’t think there’s room in her arrogant body for a modest bone…

    Don’t get me started on this woman’s narcissism. Oops..you already did.

  32. Andrew Ashling on August 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Silly but very amusing.
    Always droll to hear someone pontificate about something they don’t know the first thing about. Who’s next? An Eskimo on why fridges are useless?

    • April on August 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      LOL. Most Eskimos use refigerators these days. :-)

    • April on August 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      LOL. Most Eskimos use refrigerators these days. :-)

      • Bonnie Lacy on September 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        LOL. Much needed comic relief! Thanks!!

  33. Robert Brumm on August 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Wow, lazy? I work my ass off promoting and writing every day of the week. Should I spend all that time sending out manuscripts and opening rejection letters? Ms. Grafton, if you haven’t put your foot in your mouth by now, please do.

  34. Splinker on August 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Does the fact that you consider self publishing to be a shortcut worth avoiding make you more likely or less likely to read “I’ve Been Deader”?

    • Karleene Morrow, Author on August 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      I won’t ever spend another penny on Sue’s book. Not that she’ll care but maybe if enough of us boycott her she’ll get her nose out of the air. Talk about arrogant! Her comments were an eye opener. NoMoSue

  35. Will Terry on August 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Ms Grafton is living in the past – I’m a well established author/illustrator and I indie publish – There’s a new wave coming and those who stand the most to lose are the well established. I would ask Ms. Grafton what she thinks about the success of indie musicians? The success of indie motion pictures? Writing is no different. The old guard has the most to lose and they’re going down kicking and screaming. Physical book sales are crumbling while ebook and story app sales are growing. Obviously Ms Grafton is ignorant to what’s really happening out there. I have contracts with traditional publishers but I also publish my own eProducts because it’s sooo attractive. She speaks like a buggy whip maker – I haven’t the time.

  36. Kristie Leigh Maguire on August 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Karma is a bitch, Sue Grafton. Think before you speak. The “Universe” may have a few surprises in store for you. What goes around comes around.

    Kristie Leigh Maguire – Indie Author before Indie was cool!

  37. Alex on August 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Sue Grafton, not all writers can be Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, they are exceptions, doesn’t mean I’ll dismiss all other trade-published writers, that would be ignorant.

  38. Richard Fenwick on August 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I won’t comment on Ms. Grafton’s “art” (her word), but I have to say her lack of appreciation for what’s happening in publishing is astounding. Getting picked up by a large publisher goes beyond the universe being kind; it’s like winning the lottery. No doubt, many “wannabes” (her word) from long ago never made it thanks to publishing controls. At least now there’s a venue. That’s where the universe comes in: self-publish and let US decide your worth.

  39. Ian Fraser on August 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Regarding the ‘lazy’ self-publishers…Sue’s out of touch attitude strikes me as the bleating of the over-entitled when confronted by the shock of the New.

    I expected better from her.

    And yes, I’m a professional playwright turned prose writer who has achieved some degree of commercial/critical acclaim along the way. I hope I never ever sound like Sue Grafton.

  40. Patience Prence - Author on August 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Take note Ms.Sue,

    This lazy, self-published author has just been contacted by a major Hollywood studio to turn her book into a movie…good things can happen if you work your butt off!

    I am not the exception, I work alongside with many hard working self-published authors promoting their work, many who have posted on this thread.

    Patience Prence
    Author SCARS: An End-TImes Novel

  41. Lance Eliot Adams on August 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Stephen Crane and Walt Whitman both self-published their work. One thing that concerns me about self-publishing via ebook is the devaluation of the work. Some readers scoff at paying more than $3 for an ebook whether the author was published traditionally or self-published. While it’s cheaper to distribute, I feel that that attitude says something about what those readers think of the work. A novel takes a lot of time to write and edit. Self publishing and digital distribution have blown the doors wide open for a writer to get their work out there. This makes it all the more important for writers to edit themselves and to make sure what they’re putting out there is the best that they can do. On another blog, an author admitted publishing all of the novels he had written, even though he wasn’t happy with them all (the books didn’t sell well and he got bad reviews online). This leads to customer distrust and an unwillingness to invest a fair price in a new author. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. What’s the vetting process before you self publish a book? Would you send it out to friends for review? Would you submit to contests? Why should other people read it? I think the opportunities available now are great and I think we’ll hear dissenting opinions for some time to come. @Lanceliot

  42. Airam on August 23, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I’ve never heard of Sue or her A-Z books but would suggest she looks at Amazon book charts as the majority of the best sellers are self published authors. Most get approached by publishers due to their popularity and success in those charts. Here is one example… http://books.usatoday.com/bookbuzz/post/2012-08-23/self-published-romance-books-are-no-disaster/829429/1

    She forgets we are all amateur to begin with. If in her ‘early days’ self publishing was available she may have looked at it as an option. I feel Sue Grafton may be a little intimidated by the onslaught of fresh talent as the publisher comes to the writer now. It’s being called a ‘publishing evolution’.

    Charles Dickens used to publish is serial numbers when publishing first came about. Just little booklets with chapters and people would write him letters. The same as when we publishing on-line and getting comments back. We have evolved from women using pen names to get published. Writers don’t need to kill trees to send off manuscripts to publishers either. Publishers know they are going to have to adapt to encompass self publishing.

    Radio2 interviewed publishers who said they scour on-line writing sites and self published novels on Amazon and Smashwords for talent and no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts. I even saw a programme where Publishers stated that FSOG has them pulling staff into meetings and asking them to go on-line to find similar. It may not be the best book ever written but the author started writing fan fiction on-line as a hobby and has never professed to be anything else. Her work was spotted by a publisher who was looking for new authors based on popularity on-line.
    Now Penguin blames FSOG for their operational profit falling 48% and ebook revenue has risen 33%.

    Has Sue had that impact with her work? Has she sold as many books? Has she made as much money? Does she have many fans? No… well in comparison that is just ‘lazy’ and ‘amateur’. Note to Sue ‘Must try harder’ or try not to compare everyone! ;o)

    However on a serious note, even writing one book is a task in itself when you consider the time, effort, research etc that goes into it. I’ve written 14 books in three years which includes a two series. I help others with writers block, story development, proof reading etc. I have several draft novels on-line which I update weekly for readers who give me feedback. Hardly lazy, let alone all the self promotion I have to do along side it. I don’t have an assistant to update my FB, Blog, twitter, on-line writing sites, replying to fan emails, requests, design my covers or staying up till 4:00a.m. to get a story out of my head when I still have to go to work the next day!

    I have the utmost respect for anyone who decides to write and is then brave enough to publish it for the world to see and critic. It is like bearing your soul. Your work is your baby and parents are not lazy! }:O(

    Some of the offers I have received from publishers wanted 50-50 on sales and any future work inc film rights etc. I quite rightly told them to take a run and jump. There is nothing they can offer me that I cannot do for myself via self publishing. If I had £1 for every read I’ve received on-line I would be a millionaire. That was pointed out to me by a publisher who was ‘expressing an interest’ based on my on-line popularity. I hadn’t even noticed but now it has been pointed out I would be a fool not to self publish.

    Self Publishers are not the ‘chavs’ of the writer’s world, and the new term being thrown around of ‘Indie writers’ is just another form of segregation. I am a writer end of story. (Pardon the pun) If someone can buy my book, it is published and I am just as worthy of the title as any other author. How I became published and how much work I put into it shouldn’t be a measure of my success or acceptability. I have written a book, it is for sale as such I am a writer.

    I will be self publishing in the next two weeks having dedicated an entire month to editing one novel. I want it perfect, polished and professional. (No doubt there will be an elusive typo to freak me out later on). I just wish Amazon had a quality checking process. That would stop some of the appalling work that people have the balls to put up there. They should remove it and reimburse the people who got ripped off buying it. Thanks god for chapter preview!

    Rant over…Fist bump to all Self Publishers, on-line writers, readers, reviewers, bloggers etc. Keep up the HARD WORK!

  43. Debbie Kerch on August 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Dear Ms. Grafton,
    It is a shame that you cannot be more supportive of those indie authors who are trying to become published. Many of these authors love their craft and diligently continue to try to get published. How many authors do you know that continue to write because they love their craft, even thought they are rejected time and time again.
    Not every reader likes a particular genre. Not every book is for everyone. Case in point, I read one of your novels and suffice to say I did not continue the alphabet.
    Unfortunately, unlike other published authors whom I have met, it is clear your fame has gone to your head. Please think before you speak and consider in the future how you sound. Please try to encourage young talent, not discourage. You could possibly be putting off the next great American classic.

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  45. Más de la autoedición y sus contradicciones on December 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm

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  46. First self-publishing MA offers DIY education on February 5, 2014 at 9:24 am

    […] it. The only person who reads it is the person who gets it published”, while Sue Grafton has characterised DIY-ers as “too lazy to do the hard work” – the university pointed to research from the […]

  47. Sue Grafton: G is for Gracious Apology on February 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    […] made about indies and self-publishing. If you haven’t, here’s a link to an article on LouisvilleKY.com where Sue Grafton was quoted as […]

  48. […] it. The only person who reads it is the person who gets it published’, while Sue Grafton has characterised DIY-ers as ‘too lazy to do the hard work’ — the university pointed to research from the […]

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  50. You know what’s lazy? | Gil Shalev on March 12, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    […] The author of the successful Alphabet Series, Sue Grafton, was interviewed by the Louisvilleky.com website (Full article –  http://louisvilleky.com/2012/08/louisville-author-spotlight-welcomes-sue-grafton/). […]

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  52. […] I love Sue Grafton’s work. I respect her as a person. However, I have a real, HUGE problem with a statement she made in a recent interview. […]

  53. […] You can read the full interview here. […]

  54. Dear Sue Grafton: | Alys B. Cohen on August 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    […] Last month you decided to tell young writers, “Don’t self-publish. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work.” […]

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