Author’s Rep Strikes Again!

There I was in my local used bookstore perusing the vaguely alphabetized SF/F section when I came across a book by Michael Stackpole and here follows the conversation I had with myself.

“Hey, Michael Stackpole. I haven’t read any of his stuff. Hey, this is the first in a series, I should get this. People like him, right? Wait. Do people like him? Didn’t he say something that pissed people off a while ago? What was that? Is he the guy who hates gays? Or women! Does he hate women? Maybe he said something about immigration or guns or politics or religion that I disagree with. I can’t buy this.” And so, I put the book back.

It occurred to me on the way home that the Michael Stackpole hullabaloo was not about any of that stuff. It was this House Slaves blog post he made last year. Not about racial ethnic whatever, it was about old publishing vs. new publishing.  You probably remember this because you’re the sort of person who reads a book blog. And I remembered it, too.

Sort of.

I remembered that Stackpole said something controversial that some people got pissed about. A year latter, I saw his name and my only recall was that this guy was controversial. So I didn’t buy the book. No sale.

But here’s the thing. The only reason I picked up the book was because I recognized his name. In these tall, cramped isles with stacks of books on the floor, all I’m looking for is name recognition. There were tons of books and I bought none because I don’t want to read more Heinlein, Asimov, and Harrison.

There is a piece of advice given to musicians that goes like this: If your audience doesn’t know you, say your name (band name) seven time during the course of the show. If it’s less than seven, people won’t remember. In trying to remember a causal thing from a year ago, I have thought more about Michael Stackpole in a day than all last year. And it turns out, I agree with some of his controversial statements.

I’ll probably go back and buy that book.


About jonahknight

Jonah writes, records, and performs songs about ghosts, monsters, steampunk, and creepy Christmas tunes. Is that geek music? Nerd music? Filk? Who knows. Find more at He also co-hosts (with Mikey Mason) the Pros and Cons podcast. A Parsec Finalist, the show is about geek music and convention culture.

3 thoughts on “Author’s Rep Strikes Again!

  1. that’s funny. I guess that’s why tweeters works for book author names and titles, for me at least. “I’ve seen that name before!” must buy it!

    Having been able to meet a few authors at conventions, I carry baggage with me to the bookstore, too. “Oh, that’s that rude person”

  2. Thanks for this post, Jonah. We’re all susceptible to remembering just the notoriety and not the facts. Also, just the fame and not the facts.

    For the record, I have met Mike Stackpole several times, and have long subscribed to his very useful newsletter on writing. He studies it, and the markets, and the trends, and is often way ahead of everyone else on the evolution of such things.

    I have also enjoyed his work, though my general interests usually tend in other directions. He writes really interesting, science-based steampunk (see “Chance Corrigan and the Tick-tock King of the Nile” in the $TEAMPUNK’D anthology) and in the military history school of fantasy. Also probably other things that I am not aware of. He writes a lot!

    Also a good guy. Say hello to him at a con sometime.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s