Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why I Don't Read Joe Konrath

Joe Konrath, for those who don't know, writes thrillers and gives advice to new writers at his wildly popular blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. He was a fairly successful traditionally published mid-lister until a few years ago when self-publishing gained traction with the advent of POD capabilities and the explosion of ereaders. Now he's one of the best-selling indie writers out there, rivaling Amanda Hocking and Johne Locke. (If those names mean anything to you, you've kept up a bit with the indie publishing revolution.)

Konrath's advice to writers is blunt, sometimes vulgar, witty, engaging, and mostly spot on. He has a lot of great things to say and newbie writers like me can learn a lot from him. Konrath, Dean Wesley Smith, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch are the reigning triumvirate in this new world of publishing. 

But I don't read Joe anymore.
Oh, I'll occasionally catch a blog entry when DWS recommends a post. And I downloaded for free his short story, Floaters (co-written with Henry Perez) which was pretty good. But I'm not a fan or a follower. I doubt I'll ever buy one of his books.

And it's not because...
...he's vulgar. He is, but sometimes blunt and dirty combine to make a much needed point.
...I'm jealous. I'm not. Sure, I'd like to make 100k in a month. But I say more power to him.
...he's a stuck record (when it comes to advice for dumb newbies like me). He has to be. No one is listening, so he needs to shout it out - over and over again until we get it.
...I think his blog is ugly. It is. It could do with a serious makeover.
...he thinks he's right. He's right a lot. But he admits no one knows it all.

The reason I'm not a fan is much more personal. I was offended by something he wrote in one of the first posts of his I read. He mocked my faith in God as the Creator. 

Having sampled his blog since then, I suspect now he was just being blunt and vulgar to make a point. But I'm a creationist (not the six day kind) and I took offense. I have no idea whether he's an atheist or not. After his slam I really didn't care to find out. But it struck me as kind of stupid to offend potentially half your readers who believe that "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (one of the great topic sentences in literature, btw).

I've found this to be one of those unfortunate side effects of finding a writer one enjoys only to discover later that he or she is an outspoken critic of one's beliefs, positions, or values. It's something I haven't fully resolved. I'll go on in blissful ignorance until an artist I admire offends me and then I'll drop them. Not that they'd ever notice, but I figure, hey with seven billion others out there, I don't need to read, watch, listen, admire their work any more.

So, Joe, not that you'll read this post, but that's why I don't follow your blog. Plus, it's ugly.


  1. That would be enough to turn me off too. I haven't read Konrath, though I have heard of him, but I'm not appreciative when an author attacks religious belief-- I call it one of my "deal breakers."

  2. SQT, thanks for your comment. Like I said, I haven't fully resolved this issue. If I stopped going to movies, reading books, listening to albums based on the artist's positions that I disagree with, I'd be a hermit. But when I find out someone is a vocal antagonist, that's a different thing. I don't read Pullman for that reason.

    Now an online friend of mine, who has a series of SF/post-apocalyptic books that are smoking the Amazon best seller list for SF anthologies (all five are in the top 10), lists his religious views as atheist. Does this matter to me? Nope. For I don't perceive that he has an agenda against my belief in God. Maybe he has a theme he's communicating in his writings, but it's a theme that is engaging, not offputting. At least for me.

    Others thoughts are welcome on this issue.

  3. I think there's a difference between being an atheist (and writing from that perspective) and mocking religion--it's not okay to make crude jokes about sexual orientation, race, or gender to make a point, and it's not okay to do that about religion either. That's my thought in general. About Konrath in particular, I sort of think if you've read five of his blog posts you've read them all. *shrug*

  4. Good points Breanna. I agree. Thanks for commenting. And I wasn't picking on Konrath, really. I'm interested in this whole concept of holding a personal boycott and if that's something others do or if I'm weird. lol

    (And this could work both ways. [Addressing others here, not Breanna:] If you're reading this post and comments and you're an atheist, do you boycott Christian writers because they blast your perspective?)

  5. Hi I apologize for anom posting but I dont have any accounts (signing up soon). I just wanted to verify that yes Konrath is an atheist. He also in one of his blogs, says: "intelligent design is wrong. period." I find this is the new 'style' of todays nonthinking atheists. Its the 'Ill let them have it a la dawkins or pz meyers loudmouth style'. Of course if you are an ex-evolutionist who has read Behe, Wells, Berlinski and others you will see that the modern myth of evolution is in danger now. The house of cards is crumbling.

    I too read konrath for the knowledge about indie stuff but I reject his atheistic arrogance.



Keep it clean and positive. (And sorry about the word verification, but the spmb*ts are out in full force!)