No Company for White Men

Best selling author Jon Del Arroz relates the cautionary tale of Spencer Ellsworth, a promising author who put his career in oldpub's hands and had to watch helplessly as they threw it away.

First a little background: Spencer made his oldpub bones writing articles for cult agitprop organs like Bleeding Cool and Tor.com. In 2017 he landed the coveted Three Book Deal with Tor/Macmillan, who made no appreciable effort to promote him. As a result, his series wilted on the vine. If the oldpub meat grinder does its thing--and it usually does--not only will he never work in their town again, he'll face an uphill battle if he tries to get his rights back.

Spencer Ellsworth series
What oldpub marketing looks like if you're a straight white male not named Brandon Sanderson.
Sadly, Spencer's woes don't end there. The accelerating death of he mid list, compounded by B&N's slow motion collapse, has slammed many doors in aspiring oldpub authors' faces.

Spencer Ellsworth

This stringing along of hopeful talent while stating no concrete terms and slowly cutting off communication is known in the business as the slow no. Beware of it!

Spencer Ellsworth 2

Schadenfreude aside, Spencer's tweets lift the veil on the Death Cult's internal workings and mentality. Let us hear no more of profit motives. Here is an author who left a consistently well-paying gig for an industry that used him like a Kleenex--solely because they professed the True Faith and Card didn't.

But the most significant insight from a normal person's point of view is how the Death Cult's complacency and inability to build or maintain institutions is coming home to roost. They put their heretical faith before any practical consideration, but that childlike faith is insufficient to stave off the gods of the copybook headings.

That's not to sound triumphal. The Death Cult still controls every cultural institution. But note that even the mightiest converged organizations can't operate without money.

The first lesson, once again, is don't give money to people who hate you.

A close second is support creators whose main goal is entertaining you. Read my military mech thriller Combat Frame XSeed now!

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier


  1. Brian

    Wow. And take a look at Jon Sargant's warvon selling ebooks to libraries. He's the CEO of MacMillian and his attitude is do anti business so contrary to his fiduciary duties I'm amazed the shareholders haven't booted him out.


  2. So the industry is being run by people who don't really like books, authors, or readers. I'll take examples of the death cult for 200 Alex.

  3. "Until I just couldn't stand to be associated with Card, and his reactionary politics against gay marriage and climate change denial.

    But damn, the guy paid well. And on time."

    -Spencer Ellsworth


    Sorry, that's uncharitable of me, to laugh at a guy like that in his situation It was obviously something he loved doing. And I should be better than that. But its very hard not to laugh at someone who can't make the connection between Card's behavior regarding timely payment of debts and his moral character And then contrasting it with the character of the people he likely lines up with ideologically though they give him the slow no.

    I wonder if Spencer will ever have that epiphany? I will pray that he does. It might be the crack in his Progressive Death Cult dam.

    1. Praise God for the grace of charity!

      It just might.

    2. Emmett

      On a more serious note, denying/cheating a laborer his wages is a sin that cries out to Heaven.

      The good Lord detests cheaters as well as those who take advantage of the vulnerable (kids, widows, elderly and the infirm).

      I won't be surprised if someone drops a RICO hammer on tradpub.


    3. While I find it hard not to laugh when people who work every day to see this happen to others get it right in the eye socket; there's still the fact that people he trusted and who had a moral obligation to him both as a workman (as buscaraons very rightly notes) and as a creator, screwed him.
      That's a vile betrayal by a vile industry - and I am convinced the oldpub industry is quite vile.

    4. wreckage,

      Completely vile. But will that treatment be enough to make Spencer Ellsworth reevaluate his beliefs? Or at the very least, maybe it would be enough to get that tiny little pebble rolling...

      We can pray. Pray that sooner or later, their tendency to eat and destroy their own will help some wake up, open themselves up.

    5. I am a firm believer that, over time, wickedness itself undoes the wicked. I wouldn't call it "just universe" so much as, virtue is in part simply materially correct, per Feser's Good Squirrel argument. But we have to be around, us or our descendants, to reap the benefits.

  4. The death of the midlist, pulp-style men's adventure novels, any sort of non-nihilistic messaging, and just about anything that doesn't appeal to grown children, has always meant the death of oldpub.

    This is why Superversive, PulpRev, and the arrival of Newpub has been so needed.

    An industry consisting on a handful of book blogging urbanites is not an industry. It's a club.

    1. Oldpub's dire financials also cast doubt on sales figures from purse puppies like N.K. Jemisin.

      We know that publishers rig the NYT best sellers list. I've suspected for a while that they inflate their dreary, writers' workshop darlings' Amazon numbers through similar means.

    2. N.K. Jemisin.

      You know, I think it was her book that was one of my first wake up calls, before I knew how left things had moved, before I had heard the term converged, before I realized people were lying to themselves about the Emperor’s New Clothes right in front of me, about a subject near and dear to my heart.

      I honestly tried to read her book (I think the first one?) but found it nigh on unreadable. Completely uninteresting. A complete waste of my time.

    3. I honestly tried to read her book (I think the first one?) but found it nigh on unreadable.

      Ah, that's where you made your mistake. You see, Jemisin's books aren't intended to be read. They are intended to sit on your shelf as evidence of how woke and not-racist you are.

    4. They certainly aren't designed for reading, so your theory is as good as any.

  5. Brian




  6. Athletic and WhitesplosiveNovember 20, 2019 at 8:26 PM

    Well though I will say in principle no one should ever be cheated, this is the same sort of feeling I get from the scene in lord of the rings where the Urukhai tear apart and cannibalize an orc. You don't lose much when the enemy kills their own foot soldiers. As well, this cretin would surely do his best (and possibly has) to destroy a Christian who ran afoul of the globo-homo mafia, so this story also has a kind of 'serial murderer hit by bus' feel to it. Sure, traffic accidents are a shame, but he had a lot worse coming to him anyway.

    Charity dictates that we hope and pray he joins the side of good and is cleansed of his sins, but until then I find little cause for sadness in people like this getting some small measure of their just desserts.

    1. Highly relatable comment.

      And yeah, Ellsworth attacked Jon Del Arroz.