Overcome or Succumb

Tom Sawyer Painting Fence
Background: Artist.
Foreground: "Artiste".
Forget everything you've been force-fed by the literati about artists being special snowflakes exempted from the laws of supply and demand because they serve only the whims of the muse. To succeed, novelists must be no less market-facing than plumbers or lawyers.

Friend of the blog Bradford Walker helpfully collates one of my recent Twitter threads and offers his incisive commentary on the subject of art vs. business (hint: it's a false dichotomy).

A reality check for writers who may have been taken in by Chuck, The-Evil-That-Devours:
  1. The correct definition of "art", universally known before Modernism muddied the waters, is "a work performed to a standard".
  2. Painting a fence is no less an art than painting a still life.
  3. To qualify as art, a work must conform to an objective standard. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. The difference between good and bad art is real and independent of the observer.
  4. Consumers of art have a right to hold artisans to the professional standards of their field. A reader is no less justified in complaining about a badly written novel than a homeowner is in complaining to a contractor about a shoddily build garage.
  5. A product is indeed judged by how well it serves its purpose.
The purpose of a novel is to entertain.

You, the author, are indeed a monkey dancing and capering for the reader's amusement. You are the servant, not the master. You are a clown.

When a reader spends hard-earned money that could have paid for movies, video games, or beer on your clowning, you are to be grateful.

Every author secretly fears he is a fraud. He is right. Heed this advice, or be exposed for the big-shoed, red-nosed joke you are.

Clown Scalzi

Here's Bradford:
The SJWs in our entertainment media, the ones whining about Muh Toxic Fandom, know that they can't compete. What they want to do is take over stuff they think is Too Big To Fail, and find their sustenance by taxpayer subsidies and art grants and so on- just like they're used to from academia.
What this does is shift the criteria for success from merit in competition to satisfy a customer (and yes, you ARE a customer of Star Wars, et. al., contrary to the bullshit spawned by minor Mouse Wars functionaries) to social status signalling and random selection. This shifts the grounds for contention from making something of substance to attention-whoring and ingroup/outgroup politics to game the odds of receiving unearned windfalls from a (seemingly) limitless cornucopia of currency.
The nigh-universal conquest of our institutions by the Left has not only artificially insulated SJWs from the fiscal consequences of their cultural vandalism, it has engendered the strange phenomenon of SJWs "failing up" within a converged industry. A token editor who runs a venerable publication into the ground, but who checks the right Diversity™ boxes won't be fired or even disciplined. Xe will get a lateral promotion to another converged but not yet terminal organization.

To save the West, we must cut the strings on SJWs' golden parachutes. Bradford tells us how.
The way to defeat them is to deny them the escape they seek. Put them on Death Ground. Either they overcome, or they succumb, and if they overcome the way is open to regenerate their morality and make them into one of us- a real Saul-on-the-Road moment.
The way to deny them is to show them up, loudly and proudly, by demonstrating how you better serve the customer than they do- by making and selling superior alternatives to something that they've hollowed out into a husk wearing a skinsuit that is a formerly good brand. They show up and expect that peacocking will suffice. You show up, lap them several times while drifting and doing donuts around them, and now their customers are yours and they wonder who's going to buy their milkshakes and pay off their student loans.
There's the play. Now go forth and do likewise. If you need help--and who doesn't?--I offer professional editing services to help driven, talented, and most of all, normal people get behind the wheel and in the race.

Bonus round: My tweet thread wasn't only intended for new authors' instruction. I also designed it as an inkblot test to gauge aspirants' attitudes toward art. A helpful contestant volunteered to serve as a warning to others.


The moral of the story? Don't be a chump. Be market-facing.

This reader gets it:

Gives a shit

As always, you are invited to judge for yourself. My reader-praised Soul Cycle is still on sale in print and digital for just five more days. Get it now!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


  1. Brian I wholeheartedly agree. If tomorrow Marvel and DC fire these horrid narcissists, apologize to the fans and bring back quality storytelling I will happily embrace them with open arms. But until such a moment occurs my shelf remains barren of their works, my time and effort spent elsewhere.

    There are better companies, creators and comics out there to spend your money on. Several I know post regularly with the Comicsgate/Movetheneedle hashtag or are supportive of it. Those people have earned my hard won money. Don't pay the people who hate you.

    As for novels well..... It has pretty much been Castalia House and Superversive Press for several years now.

    1. It's entirely possible they'll try to shuffle these people out silently when they fire them. Saving any and all face while shoving this era quietly under the rug.

      Not good enough for me. I want a public and heartfelt apology, they attacked us and have to deal with the fallout of that.

      Alt-Hero, Jawbreakers, Alterna Comics, Chuck Dixon. They've all earned my support, the big two haven't so I've cut them out like the weed they are.

  2. Scalzi's poorly edited book won an award endorsed by pedophile apologists, so these artistes look after their own.

    1. Whatever else you want to say for them, yes, they do.

      Now if only those with money, power, and influence on our side did the same.

    2. Are there really such people? Because at times it seems like everyone with any amount of those three worldly goods is liberal/libertarian at best, and liberal/progressive/SJW at worst. I find it encouraging that you think there are, and will try not to despair.

  3. This is unrelated to this post, but I wanted to bring up a topic you mentioned in a previous post because it is critical . You made a comment about embracing all the facets of being a Christian -- including the crusader. I would love for you to expand your thoughts about this because I think modern Christianity has become a Christianity without fighting spirit -- a religion that has turned the Sermon on the Mount into a idol to worship. I have a hard time of convincing myself that it is right and just to be a warrior for Christ when I hear my fellow Christians citing the Sermon, even though I know rationally it is balanced by Paul telling us to wear the armor of God.

    1. Nathan,

      Agreed because i've had the same longing too. And what weapons? What attitude and spirit?

    2. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

      Make the Churchians bounce.

  4. The dirty secret is if you make something with a highly entertaining surface you can do the deeper literary stuff more effectively anyway.

  5. Surely believing that a novel should be entertaining is a necessary part of NOT hating the job of "novelist"? Why do people believe that a maladaptive attitude, outlook, or strategy will make them happy, while an adaptive one will destroy them?