I’m happily browsing the web, minding my own business, when I stumble across it: an article called “Writers Who Blog,” that totally trashes me out. I know! I was shocked too. Still, I was prepared to file it away with all the other things that make no sense, like fat-free chewing gum and Florida, until I discovered something: the article was by the same guy who once wrote one of the worst reviews of Jennifer Government I’ve ever seen.
I believe there’s an old saying: diss me once, shame on you. Diss me twice, I totally go you on my web site. So I’m pulling off my writing gloves (a simple design to the eye, but they have hidden layers) and knuckling up.
First, the review. Now, I understand that people need to review books. It’s a valid profession, even noble in its own way, and performs an economically valuable function, like prostitution, and selling heroin to teenagers. Maybe book criticism is even more valuable than those. But there are certain Things Critics Do That Piss Me Off, and Todd Bunker does three out of five. Plus one I keep meaning to add to that list: he gives away some of the ending. In fact, he blabs about something that happens on page 325—which, given it’s a 335-page book, should surely be punishable by public flogging. I’m sure most authors would agree with me.
That review was written under a cowardly pseudonym—the only reason I know “Johnny Yuma” is “Todd Bunker” is this new article, in which he fesses up even while dumping more buckets of cold, smelly editorial down my back. It goes like this: Todd, who is a novelist, is thinking about adding a blog to his own site. Curious as to whether this would be a good or bad thing for his career, he checks out Neal Pollack, Wil Wheaton, and me. Neal and Wil come out of it with minor wounds, but me: whoo. First he blasts me for being on the receiving end of some kind of publishing promotion. Then he says the only reason I sell books is because I created NationStates. He disses my “Ride the Walrus” blog, saying it proves I have nothing to write about, then he suggests I lie about how many people visit my site. He calls my readers sycophants (!!) and finishes up by rating my blogs as 2/10, because they’re: “Beside the point. [Max] blogs for hits.”
Being interested in site traffic is a pretty brave accusation to make in an article that contains three hyperlinks to Todd’s own site, an Amazon link to his novel, and an image that when you hover over it pops up: “Todd Bunker Todd Bunker Todd Bunker Todd Bunker Todd Bunker Todd Bunker”. And that crack about “Ride the Walrus” is totally undeserved. I tell you, it’s the sensation that’s sweeping the nation. It’s clear to me Todd hasn’t tried it at all.
After finding so many faults with other people’s blogs, Todd decides against creating one of his own. The “constant interaction” would be “too much of a good thing,” he says. Instead, he prefers to retain “a bit of mystique”.
Well, I don’t know, Todd. If “mystique” means concealing that you’re a tosser, it might already be too late. I say, have the courage to put up a blog. Look, it is tough to get noticed as a new novelist; there are way too many of us. I tried the quietly-wait-for-the-world-to-notice-your-great-novel thing, too, and it didn’t work out: I had a good book, good publishing support, and great reviews, and it just sunk. If you want to write books and tuck them into your desk drawer, then great. But if you want to make a living out of writing stories, you have to do something more than sit back and wait for success to land in your lap. You have to do everything you can.
So don’t be scared, Todd. Show us what you’ve got.