Self Publishing: The Catharsis Technique

Book CoverAnother reason to fear the ease of self-publishing? If you’re an author with a bit of a temper and an assistant in your basement, and you fire said assistant, said assistant might just up and write not one but possibly TWO books. And self publish them. It’s like the literary equivalent of telling the passengers off, pulling the inflatable slide and making your escape and resignation.

First, there’s Faulty Gratification: An Ineeda Halfbaked Vampire Humper Almost Story, which reviews on Amazon state is a not-terribly-well-written parody of Guilty Pleasures.

Then, there’s the memoir, The Diva Ate Her, by Anne Onymous, available both at Amazon and at Lulu.

I’ve received these links from a few different folks, some of whom allege the author in the memoir is Laurell K. Hamilton and that the publisher/author of the two books in question is the same person, LKH’s former assistant, who made sure that many of the details are very close for discomfort purposes. I tried to read “The Diva Ate Her,” and the editing and language is horrible: typos and sentence fragments, oh my! But at the same time, it’s over 275 pages long, so amid the typos must be some serious catharsis.

Self publishing hath no more willing participant than an assistant scorned.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    DS says:

    I actually bought The Diva Ate Her, mainly because I have friend who is appalled at what LKH has done with her Anita Blake series.  I sent it to her Kindle then tried to read it on mine and quickly gave up.  Not even for juicy almost gossip could I get through the writing.

    I also bought one of Darla’s self published books—at least I think D. E. Cook is Darla.  The Fairy Exterminator.  It seems to be a genuine effort to write an urban fantasy novel, but the beginning is very odd to say the least—the heroine wanders around in the woods of a State Park trying to find the pit toilets (I think I know what that is) for an inordinate amount of time.  It actually goes downhill from there.

    I’ve had some good luck lately with books self published on the KIndle, but not with these two.

  2. 2
    Jennifer Armintrout says:

    I read and enjoyed every single word of The Diva Ate Her.  Even the misspelled ones.  I put it right up there with the movie The Queen in terms of favorite voyeuristic portrayals of well-known figures.

  3. 3
    Ash Renata says:

    I used to be a big LKH fan, but she has really gone so far overboard in her hubris that I absolutely refuse to read another book from her. (Not to mention that her arrogance and entitlement mentalities become more and more self-evident IN her actual books…)

    I’m just mostly hurt that I invested so much time and love into a series and now feel betrayed. I think I’m interested enough to check out “The Diva Ate Her”.

  4. 4
    Liz says:

    this book reads like a self-indulgent blog post.  I had never heard of it until reading about it here, so I decided to check out the free sample on amazon.  I got about half way through the prologue before I wanted to throw my computer against the wall…not a good idea.

    If this girl made it out of high school, I would be surprised.  I have seen better sentence construction by my 6 year old Autistic cousin!  There is no way I could read this whole thing without doing harm to some extremely important parts of my brain!

  5. 5
    KTG says:

    I heard about this from a friend’s blog. She’s doing a chapter by chapter review and I bounce between cringing and having to look…

  6. 6
    AM says:

    So what is the URL of the chapter by chapter review, please?

    Wasn’t Darla LKH’s editing assistant too? It’d be fun to pick up the familiar mispelled and misapplied words ;).

  7. 7
    MissFifi says:

    WOW! I was just introduced to the Anita Blake series and with all the comments I am worried about how disappointed I will become. This is because the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich bottomed out for me at book 11 and I never went back.
    I am starting to wonder if series are good ideas for authors? Anyone recommend a good one?

  8. 8
    Carolyn says:

    I am starting to wonder if series are good ideas for authors? Anyone recommend a good one?

    The Mercy Thompson series by Paticia Briggs. Book 6, River Marked, is due out January 2011 and I can’t wait.  :-)

    The Magic series (or Kate Daniels series) by Ilona Andrews. Four books out so far and it’s remained a solid series.

    As to self publishing, unless you’re looking for revenge as in the examples above, I think it would require being a good business person. You would no longer be just the artiste; essentially you’d be your own business and that would include everything from making book deals to PR to editing and…everything.

    It’s quite a committment.

  9. 9
    saltwaterknitter says:

    I will second the recommendation of the Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series. Seriously great character building and plotting. Mercy is really original and likable; tough and independent but not a pain in the ass about it. (She also has a wonderful pet cat, not a big character, but I like it a lot.)
      I heard the travel writer Rick Steves speaking about the writing process for his show, and he talked about how every word has to earn its place, or it gets cut out of the narrative. I really liked that image, the word earning its place, and the idea of disciplined writing.  Imo, Briggs makes her words count, and says more in in a few sentences than most writers do in pages and pages. But her writing never feels spare or wanting. Her world building is just terrific as well. I really love these books.

  10. 10
    JamiSings says:

    @MissFifi -

    Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, Harry Dresden by Jeff Butcher, Artemis Fowl by Eion Colfer (if you don’t mind children’s books)

    I like Karen Marie Moning’s books too. While all her Highlander books are linked together and are linked to the Fever Series, because each has a different hero and heroine (until Fever) it kept them fresh. It never gets bogged down with things like fat jokes – or in the case of the Scarpetta books, constant bashing of fat people and mothers – and especially fat mothers. (I guess Cornwell thinks we fat people are responsible for the existence of serial killers.)

    I can’t bash self publishing because some of my favorite books started out with one self published one – Shadowmancer. He published it originally for his parish (he’s a minster) and so many people coming through bought a copy that a publishing company eventually came along to snag it up.

  11. 11
    Margaret says:

    I can confirm that The Diva Ate Her is indeed written by Laurell K Hamilton’s former assistant. She posted sample chapters on her MySpace for a book then-called “Working for Miriam” and I snagged screencaps just in case the posts were deleted (which they were).

    This is just the prologue:

    The chapter with the pillow:

    The chapter about the flower delivery guy – which Darla confirms is based on a real event with Laurell:

    I can’t say either way on whether Faulty Gratifications is also by Darla, mostly because I can’t buy the book from Amazon.

  12. 12
    Heather says:

    Close Jami, it’s Jim Butcher,  who writes the Harry Dresden series. ;P


  13. 13
    JamiSings says:

    @Heather – Oops. Can I blame it on my cough medicine? I haven’t been myself lately. Razzen-frazzen colds!

  14. 14
    kimsmith says:


    I’m not sure what happens in series.  Sometimes, if a second book is bad, I give the author the benefit of the doubt, that perhaps they got a contract for a series so quickly, they weren’t expecting the success, and rushed a second book.  I suspect this was the case with Kathy Reichs, as I thought her second was a a rehash of her first, at least in regards to her main character’s relationships and things I thought she had resolved in the first.  I’m glad I moved on to the third book.

    As with other, long term series, sometimes I think some kind of writer’s fatigue sets in.  The writer may be tired of the series; by book 7, or 11, things lose their sparkle.  The author may feel restricted in what they want to do, either by their fans, who won’t like it if the main character gets a divorce/paralyzed/evolves unpredictably, or by their editors, who signed them on for their witty, fluffy bakery murders, not the suddenly Dexter Dark Humor slant the writer wants to explore.  This is usually the stage where they try out publishing something new, a book the fans sometimes don’t like because it isn’t what was expected from the author.  Sometimes the writer can go back to their original moneymaker and breathe new life into it; sometimes fans get lucky and get a second series to look forward to.

    Or, an author may get bored, or forget where their series was going, or not really know when they started.  This is how I felt about the Harry Potter books; Rowling kept adding new elements at the end of the series instead of focusing on resolving things with the groundwork she had already lain out.  Seriously—her final book was so bulky with this artificially induced last minute plot that took our three favorite characters and had them tromping aimplessly around the woods while the real story, that is, Neville Longbottom and the Battle for Hogwarts, took place entirely off screen—except for the last battle, in which our heros had to sweep in and help rack up the body count.  I don’t really think she set out to do all that—I haven’t read any of her responses to critical commentary—I just think she didn’t have it well planned out, and her plot ran away from her; by the time she realized what she had done, two years of her life had been wasted without critical review, and there was no going back.

    Those would be my primary guesses, when I think about it:  1. victim of unexpected success, 2. boredom (what I think of as writer’s fatigue), or, 3. poorly planned from the beginning.

    I’m sure there’s at least one more obvious explanation I haven’t considered.

  15. 15
    Miranda says:

    Series I like:

    Blood books by Tanya Huff.

    Valor series by Tanya Huff

    Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn

    Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

    Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourne

    Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig (at least most of them)

    And I still like Stephanie Plum :)

  16. 16
    JamiSings says:

    Oh two more I forgot -

    Temeraire by Naomi Novik – Napoleonic wars, but with dragons!

    Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger – only steampunk I really like, the others make no sense to me. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the author is super nice. Always puts up with my stupid questions. That’s always a plus.

  17. 17
    Pam says:

    Many years ago, a brilliant friend of mine who is extremely knowledgeable about books and writing observed of a fantasy author (John Norman—eughh) that sometimes success caused a writer to ignore his editors and preserve every golden ill-considered bit of his glorious prose.  I always think of that when I encounter the mysterious inflatable novel syndrome a la Harry Potter or some of Cornwell’s middle stuff (I won’t read the later).  Then there are writers like Evanovich and Parker (RIP) whose later work is lighter and fluffier and has more white space than Paula Deen’s biscuits.  The former problem treads the thin line between pride and vanity while the latter seems more a response to the pressures of the market place or perhaps to the weariness of age.  Of course the worst example of market driven series are those that continue for decades after the author is dead, e.g. V.C. Andrews.

    Still, some series authors deliver—book after book.  For me, some of these these are Lois McMaster Bujold (not Sharing Knife), Charles Todd, Carol O’Connell, Jim Butcher, Jane Haddam, Terry Pratchett—yeah!  What makes a series work best for me is the ability of the characters to grow and the author’s willingness to tackle more complex issues as the series progresses.

  18. 18
    MissFifi says:

    Thank you so much everyone! I love to get recommendations so I appreciate the feedback. Now to write it all down.

  19. 19
    Ceilidh says:

    I do remember Darla Cook making a comment about her writing a tell-all style book in the vein of “The Devil Wears Prada” but for the publishing world. I guess that’s one way to get our your anger. I heartily approve.

    I maintain that there’s some curse or age old rule that dictates that vampire writers will explode in a mess of ego, crazy and/or sheer unadulterated literary madness. See Laurell K Hamilton, Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer (I’m counting uterus chewing and her Midnight Sun hissy fit in this), most recently Christopher Pike…who’s next?

  20. 20
    JoAnnarama says:

    Is there a hair joke anywhere in the parody?  IMO, guys with hair dragging on the ground ought to carry a plumbers helper in their swordcase to unplug the shower.  I’d like to see that part described, along with who you gonna call to clean up the ‘thicker things’ … Merry Maids, mayhap?

    men72—even the spam catcher is doing parody!

  21. 21
    JamiSings says:

    @kimsmith – I think mostly the authors just get sick and tired of it. I remember Piers Anthony started putting in the author’s notes of every single Xanth book how tired he was of writing them. It started out with heavy handed hints until you got the idea he really wanted to say, “Why the f**k do you keep making me write these f**king books? I F***KING HATE XANTH!!!!” Then I noticed that he was getting more and more into adults having sex with children. (Ever read his books about the various immortals – including God – saying basically that “If an adult and child really love each other they should be allowed to have sex.”) Or if it wasn’t that, he was pushing some sort of Xanth computer game that was always in development but I never saw on the shelves.

    I just finally gave up. Between it seeming like he was pushing for pedophilia to be legal, his commercialism, and his obvious disgust for the fantasy land he created, I couldn’t take it any more.

  22. 22
    Khenta says:

    @ Margaret:
    Thanks for the links. I wonder if she knows the difference between “ant*i*dote” and anecdote (in the pillow incident).

    Hilarious. And this is the woman who played LKH’s watchdog on the LKH mailinglist/yahoogroup (in the late 90s) and raged at every reader who dared to express discontent with an AB book, or a scene, or the direction the series was taking since TKD, effectively saying “Go f**k yourself if you don’t like it, you’re not worthy to kiss the author’s feet”.
    Best laugh of the week!

    @ Miss Fifi:
    Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series, Marjorie Liu’s Dirk & Steele, Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Poseidon and Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark are multi-book series that do not disappoint.
    Also, Robin Owens’ HeartMates of Celta, or her (finished) Lladrana series.

  23. 23
    Margaret says:

    @Khenta No problem. I’ve been wearing my plucky detective cap ever since I got my hands on the book to see what I can dig up online to blast through the “no this is entirely fictional!” claim. Back when Darla first announced she was no longer working for Laurell, I snagged the screencaps as they came just in case they’d come in handy later. And lo, they did.

  24. 24
    JaneyD says:

    Tried to read the florist excerpt.

    I had to drop out at “fictional novel”—unfortunate, since it’s the first line.

    The caveat for writing divas is always treat your minions with respect. They might have literary ambitions of their own.

  25. 25
    SonomaLass says:

    So far, Meljean Brook’s Guardian series is working really well for me.  I also LOVE her new Iron Seas series (one novella, one book so far) and can’t wait for more.

    Terry Pratchett has been a favorite author of mine for years; the Discworld series (while some books are better than others) is consistently entertaining. Although his writing is certainly NOT to everyone’s taste, I don’t really get that feeling of series fatigue.

  26. 26
    Patrice says:

    Having too much info about an author is one reason I stopped reading LKH’s blog. I still enjoy both her series although I get them from the library now.

    I will save my $$ for Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series rocks! I like Ann Aguirre, Devon Monk and some others. I still enjoy Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark hunter series and I love Charlene Harris and Kim Harrison, too. Jenks cracks me up! That series totally rearranged my view of pixies, even though they are secondary characters. I like Christine Feehan when I want an “old fashioned” vampire romance, and Lara Adrian’s Midnight series is good for that itch also. But one I didn’t see mentioned above is Jeaniene Frost’s “Night Huntress” series that starts with Halfway to the Grave and just had 2 spin off books about a couple very cool secondary characters from that series. I really got hooked on her voice and style of action/romance.

    There is a great selection of good paranormals out there now! Makes me a happy camper. :)

  27. 27
    Lil' Deivant says:

    I will second the Jeaniene Frost’s Night Hungtress series.  LOVE IT!

    I will also throw out I found Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin Books to be an awesome surprise.  Just finished book three Love Love Loved it.

    I use to love the Anita Series.  But there was a line that LKH crossed in Skin Trade I didn’t even know I had.  The pediphilla was just out of line.  (ie sex with sixteen year old boy)

  28. 28
    Dark Puck says:

    @Liz -

    I really hate to break it to you, but people make it out of high school and into college all the time without knowing the first thing about spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

    This is because the educational system has fucked over much of my generation and the following ones inordinately.

    Please remove yourself from your high horse.

  29. 29
    CrookedGoose says:

    I just downloaded it.  I have a love/hate relationship with LKH, mostly hate since her last 8 Anita Blake books.  Also, the more I read about her the more I think she’s nuts.  Looking forward to it, typos and all

  30. 30
    lizw65 says:

    I am starting to wonder if series are good ideas for authors? Anyone recommend a good one?

    PN Elrod’s Vampire Files series is still going strong at 12 or so books.  They have plenty of action and snarky humor and are notably light on the angst, a welcome change from much of the paranormal fiction out there.

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