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Writing Kurt Vonnegut— A Biographer's Notebook

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Mar 1, 2011, 5:37pm Top

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This weekly blog follows my journey as Vonnegut's biographer:


Mar 2, 2011, 12:39am Top

I see this has already been flagged a couple of times, so I thought I'd respond here. (My "LibraryThing" hat is definitely off for this one. My comments shouldn't be construed as policy.)

The user charlesjshields has only just created their account, hasn't added any books, and has posted a link to their site as their only participation on LibraryThing - all pretty standard signs of a spammer.

On the other hand, Charles J Shields is a real biographer with a couple of books which have good ratings and reviews here. The blog linked to is well-written and interesting, and documents the process of writing a "real" book being published by a "real" publisher.

As far as I can see the link was only posted in two groups - this one and and the "Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies" group - both of which seem like appropriate audiences for the book.

I've no reason to think that charlesjshields is not the author himself. I'd hope we can be more welcoming, and perhaps direct him to How Authors Can Use LibraryThing rather than just flag him without a word of comment.

I'm not even convinced, personally, that this constitutes "Egregious commercial solicitation" - sure, the blog is no doubt intended to help drive interest in the book, but it doesn't look like a mere sales pitch to me. (if you want a ruling on that though, you'll have to ask Tim ;) )

So, in summary; Welcome, Charles! Be careful - we are quite rabidly anti-spam around these parts. Add some books to your catalog and *talk* to us! (I sincerely hope you return and reply, in which case I'll feel vindicated - otherwise I'm probably just going to look silly.)

Mar 2, 2011, 7:00am Top

Thank you for the link. I, for one, will be following your blog.

Mar 2, 2011, 8:23am Top

The Siren's of Titan is one of my favorite sf reads. I need to add it on my LT. Still remember books I need to add. At the very least I think Kurt Vonnegut warrants a blog thread all his own.

Edited: Mar 2, 2011, 9:00am Top

I think that's the key, if I feel like an author is genuinely going to participate in the LT community, has books listed in his/her library, and makes an effort to converse, then I don't have a problem. But 'no books' in the profile is a deal killer for me.

As to a "real" book being published by a "real" publisher, that's starting to be a grey area now, and would make for an interesting discussion in it's own right.

'Self Publish' authors, are certainly the worst though without a doubt.

Mar 2, 2011, 10:03am Top

There are ways and means of doing things. Creating an account to specifically advertise your own blog is pure and simply spam and should rightly be marked as such. If you're first to flag it as such then I would agree, a comment on why would be expected. There are authors who do things correctly when they join this site and hopefully they reap the rewards of such participation.

Mar 2, 2011, 11:08am Top

I didn't flag it, but in my opinion it's just bad manners. If the guy dropped in at your local book club and acted the same way, you'd likely point to the "no solicitation" sign.

Mar 2, 2011, 2:54pm Top

I counter-flagged the OP. My first reaction was not that this post was spam, I thought it was probably posted by someone not familiar with the way things are done here. But then I've been given this marvelous, yet apparently exceedingly rare, ability to ignore spam pretty effectively. So I don't get all het up over spam in the first place. Spam is in the eye of the beholder.

Mayhap, the powers that be over LT should put on the home page a prominent link that tells authors how to get started, where to go, and a brief FAQ on being an author on LT.

If I had just spent the last two or three years writing the great American novel, you'd better believe I'd be pimipin' it right here on LT. Where else?

Mar 2, 2011, 4:12pm Top

I'm not ready to pull on my Jack boots and arm band on but it seems to me this is an occasion to fall back to first principles and temperance. I'm personally not offended and it gave me the opportunity to say "Jackboots and arm band". That always gets their attention...that and saying "edible underwear". I think Kurt V. would appreciate it anyhow ;-)

Mar 2, 2011, 4:38pm Top

In a recent thread over on 'Green Dragon' group a couple of users characterized the Sci Fi group as 'pretty uptight', 'High and Mighty', and 'pretty unpleasant'

I've never experienced that myself. Clearly they thought someone had the jackboots on though ;-)

Mar 2, 2011, 6:28pm Top

>10 cosmicdolphin:: After a few years contributing to this group, I'd be inclined to say that we could all claim one or another of those particular badges of honour from time to time - and be proud of it too!

Mar 3, 2011, 4:12am Top

#10 Clearly they thought someone had the jackboots on though ;-)

I blame all those SF book covers!


Mar 7, 2011, 2:05pm Top

Frankly, I have never understood all the kvetching one sees online about how somebody has to be "a member of the community" to impart information of interest.

It's not like flogging Viagara or Chinese tractors to assume that readers would be interested in this Vonnegutt thing (I certainly am, I'm an abject fan of Vonnegutt and will check this blog out with great pleasure)

this is a resource, and hot tip, and for somebody to get their nose out of shape because the writer hasn't tossed up a dozen books he's read (big whoop--I read some books) is just nuts.

I am going through a bit of flagging lately and find it hard to see how anybody who is a "LT Author" can post any sort of blog link or information without being accused of self-promotion.

Anyway, this is a cool link and I'm looking forward to checking it out.
NOT an easy author to biograph, by the way.

Mar 7, 2011, 2:07pm Top

A question for pondering: how can any post that informs about books and authors and the reading/writing process in a reader/book forum be "spam"?

Mar 7, 2011, 2:45pm Top


Because community norms say it is. The forums are about conversation, not marketing. A drive-by post saying "Buy my book, here's the Amazon link!!!!" is marketing, and unwelcome (outside of the specifically designated Hobnob With Authors group.)

I want to talk about books with other people who are interested in them, not have authors try to sell me their book when they don't have any interest in the community. There are authors who I know from internet fora who are on my buy-immediately-in-hardcover list, but they were participating first, they didn't jump into an established community to try to sell something.

Mar 7, 2011, 3:48pm Top

>13 LintonRobinson:. I agree. I think a forum that's about discussing books and authors is a great place to post a link to a blog about writing a biography on a very interesting author. It's like taking 16 items into the 15 or less checkout line. Maybe it annoys some people but I'm probably going to ignore it rather than call the cops. That's the beauty of the little "x" on these discussion threads. If you don't like them, ignore them.

Mar 7, 2011, 3:52pm Top

Flagging is democratic here. The number of red flags on the first post has waxed and waned since it was first posted and, as I write this, there are none showing.

Mar 7, 2011, 3:54pm Top

there are far to many authors who are scared to post on LT because of the aggressively antispam b attitude of some members.

Edited: Mar 7, 2011, 4:22pm Top

Why would they, if they like the rest of us have other things to talk about except what they produce themselves? (And how do you know?)

Mar 7, 2011, 4:39pm Top


Like Who?

In the past I've had a large number of 'self publish/Vanity' authors (and I use the term author loosely) 'Aggressively' market their 'work' at me, so I tend to flag, especially if It's a drive by.

Now Mr. Shields as Felius pointed out is a 'real' author, but a week on he still hasn't posted any books on his account, or interacted further in any way with anyone on Librarything. So as far as I'm concerned he's a drive-by marketer, and I'd flag him again if I could.

I'll note that on his blog he links to a number of Good book related sites but Librarything is not one that he gives a link for.

Mar 7, 2011, 5:20pm Top

We had an author join this group who started (through simple ignorance) with some self-promotion. When his error was pointed out, he apologised, and contributed to the discussions, and started some threads. That's the way to do it.

Mar 7, 2011, 7:02pm Top

I haven't listed any books in my account because that seems like silly busywork.

If you have to be about that or be a spammer, count me out.
I see a forum as a place to relax, have a little fun, chat about something, maybe learn something or pass something on.

I have no problem with somebody just posting a link to their book. If it's interesting, as this one is, great. If not, who cares? A second of my life wasted?

I have the same attitude in all forums where people scream that their experience of Acapulco or whatever is damaged if somebody mentions their restaurant.

That is certainly, absolutely, not "spam"--it's on topic. The idea that it's okay for somebody else to post about that restaurant is disengenuous, and leads to cynical circumvention.

I end up just wondering why people don't take what they want and leave the rest and settle down.

Mar 7, 2011, 7:46pm Top

Not listing books is not a problem.
Not listing books and not participating in any discussions (besides posting for your own books) is a problem.

The problem with allowing one author to post a link to their book is that anyone that paid $X and published Y copies of their books will decide that it is ok to do that... and this is not what this forum is supposed to be about. Do you really want to open the forum in the morning and see 100 new topics from 100 authors posting their links? That is why we have the Hobnob group - post there and noone will get flagged.

Mar 7, 2011, 11:16pm Top

I guess I don't what the trouble with hearing about a bunch of books from new authors would be.

Why don't people on a book site want to hear about new books that they haven't heard of yet?

Mar 7, 2011, 11:52pm Top

Science Fiction Fans is not the same as the entirety of LibraryThing. It's a specific section. By your logic, why shouldn't we mind people coming in and starting discussions about 18th century French poetry? It's a book site, after all!

Mar 8, 2011, 1:09am Top

I just kind of assumed that it was understood that I was talking about content appropriate to the threads.

apparently not.

I meant content appropriate to the threads.

For example, this one is about Kurt Vonnegutt. that would seem to be appropriate to a sci fi discussion.

I didn't see anybody here talking about posting the wrong kind of books in a section... the discussion was about "spamming" and forum kvetching.

Hope so.

Mar 8, 2011, 1:13am Top

I understand, but disagree. An advertisement for a book/blog is not the same as a discussion about Kurt Vonnegut, or more apropos a discussion about the Sci Fi aspects of Kurt Vonnegut's work.

It turns out there's a whole INTERNET out there if people wanted to read things outside of LT even tangentially related to scifi. Google is a wonderful tool.

Mar 8, 2011, 1:37am Top

As pointed out in >2 felius:, it defies credulity to consider this posting "Egregious commercial solicitation" worthy of flagging as abuse. I would wager that there are far more lurkers who never or seldom post in just about every discussion group on here. To say that not listing books or participating in discussions renders those members less valuable or should prevent them from starting a discussion sounds a little elitist.

I'm not a big reader of biographies but I would be interested in following a discussion on Vonnegut. I hope the author would think about coming back and participating in something like that. After this reception though, for what is at worst a mistaken posting in the wrong section, and an arguable one at that, I wouldn't blame him for not coming back.

Mar 8, 2011, 2:48am Top

That's just it.
It's of interest.
And the cute logic-chopping and snide references to Google are meaningless in that saner context.

It's not spam to link to a blog about a Vonnegutt bio on an SF forum and that's just common sense.

Mar 8, 2011, 3:15am Top

well I do not see any authors that disagree with me here. and I do not see any that agree with the other viewpoint In fact I do not see any authors here at all. which might surprising considering how active SF authors in particular are on chat board and forums boards. SF authors have strong fannish links.

but to answer the question.

" Why would they, if they like the rest of us have other things to talk about except what they produce themselves?"

When what you produce is the topic of the forum, and you are flagged for talking about what you produce it leaves little you can say.

It is far easier to find a forum where you are not obligated to avoid mentioning the elephant.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 8:47am Top

24: LintonRobinson

The Trouble is it'll turn into a promo festival for the many thousands (and there are thousands) of self publish authors. No thank you very much. It will start taking up a great deal more time than just seconds to eliminate those threads when the ravening hordes hit.

You are at least contributing to the discussion :-)

Remember LT is primarily a cataloguing site so it isn't 'silly busywork' for many people.

I like to keep track of my 10,000 books so I'm not buying any dupes, and help track which books I'm missing, which seems sensible to me.

Mar 8, 2011, 9:12am Top

I find this thread a fascinating example of the "letter of the law" versus the "specific case".

I agree with all the reasons why we don't want blantant, drive-by promotion of authors' books and in general I am irritated by them when they occur, especially the ones send directly to my profile.

In this case, Charles J. Shields has infringed the letter of the law if you take the link to his blog as self promotion or promotion for his forthcoming book. The lack of his getting involved in any LT communal activity, and his failure to get involved in the primary function of LT, i.e. cataloguing his books, would support his intention being self promotional.

On the other hand, he could be spreading the word of his blog about an interesting process to people who might be interested.

I agree he acted inappropriately with respect to the terms of use, and he may be considered rude for what he did, but I copied his link to my favourites as soon as I saw it, because the content is damned interesting and I didn't want to lose the link in the event that it was flagged out of existence.

I'm sure he never bothered to read the terms of use if all he was intent on doing was to post the link, but I for one am sorry he didn't get involved in the community as he must have a lot of interesting things to say on biography writing.

In terms of the link he posted, it is very much on the soft-sell approach when compared to the usual spam I come across on LT.

OK, so where does this discussion go next; "Death to Spammers" or "Educate the Ignorant"?

Mar 8, 2011, 9:54am Top

I'll finish with a quote from the Guardian Newspaper Obituary for Vonnegut:

'Vonnegut was never happy with the label of 'science-fiction writer', which he described as being put into a drawer that "serious" critics use as a urinal'

If you'd like to read it in full:


Mar 8, 2011, 9:58am Top

Overheard in a bookstore:

Bookseller 1: Kurt Vonnegut is dead!

Bookseller 2: How Sad. Quick get the books onto the endcap, then order more before all the stock gets sucked out of the distribution center.

Mar 8, 2011, 10:16am Top

#33 & 34 cosmicdolphin

Thank you for the link and the joke.

Vonnegut was a fascinating person whose life was very interesting, from an observer's point of view.

(I had written, "fascinating character", but I thought "fascinating person" was much more meaningful. I don't know why; perhaps using the word "character" de-humanised him and fictionalised his existence.)

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 10:30am Top

#35 pgmcc

I think the greatest tribute an author can have is to go out with all their books in print, and so heavily in stock at the bookstores that they didn't need to order more. This was certainly the case with Vonnegut.

And I'm not admitting which of the two booksellers in 34 was me ;-)

Any good bookseller worth their salt will have an endcap up (minutes after death if possible) when someone of the stature that Vonnegut had has popped off their mortal coil.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 11:40am Top

The dismaying spectacle of floods or authors mentioning their work to readers (the horror) is often cited when anti-authorial hysteria is defended. But with what credence? Tends to be read as paranoid defensiveness of the kind that gets properly dissed when governments tell us how repression is necessary lest we be overrun by communists, drugs, terrorists, new-agers, or whatever.

Hard to see harm done.

Easier to see harm done from screening out information from readers.

The fact you find this horrifying incursion interesting t comment on should tell you someting.

BTW, I never thought of Vonnegutt as an SF writer. Ray Bradbury, either. But many others do, and SF'ers discuss them.

Mar 8, 2011, 11:50am Top

Most of us already have many, many books to read. We're also looking out for good new books, but the vast majority of people who come on LT with the sole and specific intent of trying to sell their books haven't written good books. How can authors distinguish themselves from this crowd? One good way is by talking about things other than their own books. They can still talk about their books, of course, but most readers will be turned away by an author who does nothing but promote their own self-published book. It's in the author's own interest not to be a part of that category.

Mar 8, 2011, 11:56am Top

Gee, if you have enough to read (but hang out on a site about finding new books) it's startling that you would have the time to read the vast majority of all those lousy books. Must be taxing.

And, gee, I just have to think that the best way to let people know about a book is to mention the book, not natter about other tings.

BTW, the "self-published" is something you tacked on. Unless your lengthy and impartial study of LT Authors' books has revealed that they're all self-published. Not, as with this Vonnegutt one, works in progress. Or in the case of the ones I list on my Author Page, from small presses.

It's hard to avoid being "part of that category" when people cook up categories and mindlessly pigeonhole.

BTW, has it occurred to you that maybe this guy came by, posted this interesting link, saw it flagged and flamed, and decided to go elsewhere, where the readers have a less antagonistic attitude towards authors?
Ever wonder why there don't seem to be a lot of really major writers here, as there are on Red Room and other sites where authors are treated with respect, not suspicion and belittling?

Just a thought.

Mar 8, 2011, 12:04pm Top

Easier to see harm done from screening out information from readers.

The "harm" being that, if I were interested in reading about Vonnegut's biographer, I'd actually have to google it?

Your posts on this issue are becoming more and more bizarre. I notice you are an LT Author; how do you manage to survive in a place so hostile to authors? I also notice you have all of two books cataloged, both by yourself. You know this is a site for cataloging your library, right?

Just a thought.

Mar 8, 2011, 12:27pm Top

but hang out on a site about finding new books

The website is about cataloguing books. The discussion threads and finding new books are by-products.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 1:07pm Top


Generally on the links I have clicked through (in the same format as Charles Shields promotional ad that started this thread) the websites have belonged to self publish authors. That's over several years of belonging to this site. So i'll happily include self publish in this thread.

Small Presses can be operated/owned by an author

In some cases I would probably consider that particular small press a simple self publishing mechanism for said author, where they are unable or unwilling to obtain a normal book publishing contact.

(and don't take this as bashing small presses because it isn't, there are some great small presses out there, take PS Publishing, Nightshade, or Subterranean, all great presses)

I always ask the same question of self publish/vanity/(single author owned) small press writers:

Why did you self publish rather than go through a traditional editorial process at a 'real' publisher?

Rarely do you get an answer that doesn't involve creative ego. On several occasions they have said, why would I need an editor (or even better it was beta read by my fangirl posse x...that one I liked a great deal)

Comparing Red Room which is an author Blog site, and LT is nonsensical because LT has no blogging functionality and is a cataloguing site. The lack of authors on the site doesn't actually bother me, since I generally go and talk to the authors that interest me in person.

Mar 8, 2011, 1:06pm Top

You could have googled up a work that doesn't exist yet?
And I"M bizarre?

And now a treatise on the evils of self-publishing?

Yes, the need to be "traditionally published" in a day when authors can make more money in less time with more creative control can only be explained by ego. The aspiration has become the "new vanity".
But that's far afield from the discussion.

The idea that having forums instead of blogs is some staggering distinction is peculiar. The contrast is in treatment of writers.

Readers, at large, generally treat authors with respect, are generally eager to know more.
It's generally frustrated writers who are eager to bad-mouth new publishing methods (and assume that anybody mentioning their book is both self-published and lousy)...and to get apoplectic about people who do have work published.
Again, what harm. Because it clogs threads? More than all the fascism about authors does? Take a look at this thread and try to imagine what it could have been without the flaggelation and repression.

Go ahead, think about it. It never hurts.

Mar 8, 2011, 1:08pm Top

41> the website might be about cataloging books. But this group is not.

Mar 8, 2011, 1:22pm Top

Since this thread has turned into a discussion of spam-stuff and flagging, please consider tuning into a conversation I'm hoping to get going on this question. Thanks.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 1:25pm Top

43> You could have googled up a work that doesn't exist yet?
And I"M bizarre?


Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 1:57pm Top

They're not really new publishing methods, vanity publishing has been around for a long time, it's just easier to access now.

It's certainly not author fascism. I've had numerous happy interactions with many authors over many years, some of them on Librarything.

The thread would be a great deal shorter no doubt :-) But then it is discussion, and not a promotional ad, so it is to be welcomed.

Respect has to be earned. An author deserves no greater respect, than a plumber, the local Barista in Starbucks, or the guy that builds my bookshelves. It's all even.

Peoples work can speak for itself. I'm sure if your work or any authors work is interesting enough i'll find it recommended to me from a trusted source who knows my tastes (author's aren't really unbiased advocates of their own work)

I'll finish on this thread once and for all with a link to an interesting article on the SFWA site about why authors suck at marketing:


Mar 8, 2011, 1:53pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 1:55pm Top


That's cute :-) Cool little site.

Mar 8, 2011, 1:58pm Top

44> the website might be about cataloging books. But this group is not.

Agreed, but it's a group ON a website for people who are cataloging their books (ones they own or just ones they've read). I find this makes the audience entirely different than, say, a group on facebook, a group on usenet, a group on a fandom site, etc. As such, people who come to the site who aren't about cataloging their books but instead are just interested in promotion tend to not have that same flavor. This thread has a lot of good examples of that.

Mar 8, 2011, 2:01pm Top


This thread has a lot of good examples of that.

Right. I will say that this thread has made me add someone to my "avoid at all costs" list, and it isn't the OP.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 2:10pm Top

I'm thinking of writing a new novel:

It's called 'When Curmudgeons Collide'

I promise not to post a link.

Mar 8, 2011, 2:10pm Top

In general, I don't think having an author present his or her upcoming work to these forums automatically constitutes spam. In this case, I think the link leads to an interesting blog and it seems that the author has a significant body of fairly well-respected biographies.

However, I definitely think it's really very rude of him to leave a self-promoting link and not come back to engage in conversation about his work. He left exactly the same post at the Biographies forum (no one there has responded, but it's not a terribly active group). He also left exactly the same post on three different discussion groups at Goodreads - all on the 1st of March. He hasn't replied to posts in any of these groups. Now, if he were here answering questions about his work and talking about Vonnegut's impact on science fiction, I would see that as a useful contribution to this forum.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 2:17pm Top

53> He left exactly the same post at the Biographies forum (no one there has responded, but it's not a terribly active group). He also left exactly the same post on three different discussion groups at Goodreads - all on the 1st of March. He hasn't replied to posts in any of these groups.

Thanks very much for that. It really does speak volumes.

ETA: And while I didn't flag before (I erred on the side of caution, much like felius), I'm flagging now.

Mar 8, 2011, 2:51pm Top

:-) I think a lot of you need to get in the back yard and smash up cardboard boxes or something. Sheesh! ;-)

Mar 8, 2011, 3:17pm Top

I live in Minnesota, and therefore have no backyard until mid-March. Or considering this winter, possibly mid-June...

Mar 8, 2011, 3:23pm Top

Yes Janny Wurts is a good example.

She has 64 books listed. so I think we can safely say that here main aim on staying on LT is not book cataloging, But that is ok the vast majority of groups are not about cataloging. even for the many of the sites active catalogers. cataloging is an hour or so one a month entering new works. with maybe the odd hour here and there tidying records or adding tags when a search fails to find a book they know they had.

nope the Groups are simply social. If you think other wise please point to the last cataloging discussion in this group. we are after all the second biggest group on LT If cataloguing is as pervasive as you claim it would show here.
And yes I think she does get it. You have only to look at her last post here or on Famtasyfans to see she gets it.

No lneed even to read them just look how long ago it was posted. She gets it alright.
but still she receives critisism in the groups she does post in.

Want to know when her next book is due out? don't ask her in FantasyFans.
she is good at mentioning that elephant.but then she is rarely in the same room.

Mar 8, 2011, 3:28pm Top

57> nope the Groups are simply social. If you think other wise please point to the last cataloging discussion in this group. we are after all the second biggest group on LT If cataloguing is as pervasive as you claim it would show here.

I really don't understand what this is supposed to mean, and what it has to do with my earlier point that the audience at LT Talk is pre-selected for (mostly) people who are cataloging books first.

Mar 8, 2011, 3:35pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 3:53pm Top

I was pointing out that many people, including authors in particular come to LT not before not because they are primarily interested in cataloging, but because they are interested in books. Even the vast majority of people here with an abiding interest in cataloging are here because of their interest in books. That these groups are for people who are primarily interested in books.

go to radio 4 listeners and I have no doubt you will find a discussion of Book at bedtime. Go to the NASCAR Group if there is one and I am sure you will find people talking about a biography.
Itb is our joint interst in books that keep the groups active. that is the common thread that binds us.

Now could you explain what importance the fact that many posters are cataloging books has to do with whether a post is relevent or not?

Mar 8, 2011, 3:55pm Top

60> Now could you explain what importance the fact that many posters are cataloging books has to do with whether a post is relevent or not?

Because it is a incredibly significant indicator of whether they will actually come back and converse, or if they will appear once with a link to their own product, never to return. Do you really think this isn't the case? Do I need to dig up a case study before you will admit there is a correlation?

Mar 8, 2011, 3:57pm Top


Now could you explain what importance the fact that many posters are cataloging books has to do with whether a post is relevent or not?

Are there really a lot of people other than authors trying to promote their books who are active in Talk but have zero books cataloged? Really?

Mar 8, 2011, 3:59pm Top

62> Are there really a lot of people other than authors trying to promote their books who are active in Talk but have zero books cataloged? Really?

The only other group I can think of - teenagers who come to LT because it's typically allowed on school firewalls that block things like facebook, et al. But even this group tends to catalog more books than drive-by author spammers.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 4:10pm Top

Yes, as a matter of fact, POD and online serials and podcasts and ebooks are kind of new methods of publishing, there, kiddo.

Some of us remember when they weren't around.

And, as an aid to your history lessons.... self-publishing pre-dated "traditional publishing" by centuries.

But that has little to do with this repression of authors.
People who do that aren't different from book-burners, and will always find an argument of why it's for the common good.

If the entire purpose of this site is CATALOG books, it's a pretty odd folly, isn't it? There are many much more complete catalogs.

And, in fact, the idea that it's a big deal that people catalog because it's an indicator that they'll come back and discuss pretty much belies that weird premise, doesn't it.

Why collecting pictures of authors (unidentified) is somehow a Great Work, but including new books, that are less cataloged, or even in process, is not is just to surreal for my poor old brain.

I don't really think there's any point in continuing to discuss anything here.

Especially with junk like that "you make the argument against your opinion" nonsense. That's the third one of those I've seen here: don't refute, just quote and makes some obscure, knowing head-bobble.
And end up being unconsciously ironic.

Go ahead, keep authors away. Turn discussions into rants against writers and publishers. Sure better than the horrifying heartbreak of having some evil writer happend by and hip you up to a book you haven't cataloged yet.
Glad I caught that last rejoinder. Turned the whole thing from a piss-off to a laugh.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 4:03pm Top

64> But that has little to do with this repression of authors.
People who do that aren't different from book-burners,

Emphasis mine. I think you're making the argument against your opinion far better than I could.

I don't really think there's any point in continuing to discuss anything here.

First thing you've said that I agree with.

Mar 8, 2011, 4:04pm Top

You like cosmic dolphins, take a look at Mayan Calendar Girls for a work in progress.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 4:14pm Top

66> A work which is coincidentally "published" by the same people as publish your books - Adoro press. Is it any wonder we're suspicious of authors simply wanting to mine LT as an economic resource?

Mar 8, 2011, 4:15pm Top

64: LintonRobinson

I think you must be a bit confused about how LT works, since it allows a choice of sourcing from many cataloguing sites around the world. Of course that would be obvious if you'd bothered to catalogue.

Mar 8, 2011, 4:19pm Top

68> Wow, I think I just skimmed over that as more rambling when I first read the post. But yes, it does appear he doesn't even have the most minimal grasp on what LT is and how it works.

Mar 8, 2011, 4:25pm Top

Yep, that's where I ran into Mayan Calendar Girls, when my publishers backed the eBook. Also where I ran into Andrew Wise whose "To the Last Drop" I also recommend any chance I get.

Way cool book, but it doesn't have cosmic dolphins in it.

It's a good think people have you around to keep us wicked writers from mentioning books to them.

Mar 8, 2011, 4:33pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Mar 8, 2011, 4:38pm Top

70> Amazing how much you're able to get away with, what with us being author repressers who aren't any different than book burners.

Mar 8, 2011, 4:45pm Top

70: Linton Robinson

Ah the last resort of a dying internet argument, make fun of someones screen name.

Based on the number of copies of his books catalogued here on LT I think we'd struggle to get enough fuel to have a bookburning.

Mar 8, 2011, 4:53pm Top

62> Are there really a lot of people other than authors trying to promote their books who are active in Talk but have zero books cataloged? Really?

If I thought there were I would have mentioned it.

There are in fact none that I can think of including authors. there are however plenty who are not actively cataloguing.

Janny For one who was held up as an ideal LT Author (Presumably because she has not posted to this group this year)

I for one do not judge a persons posts by how big a library he has listed. or when he added the last batch. I have better things to do than compare penis size.
Instead I look to see if it the post is relevent and on topic.

Which Is lucky For Linton who is in no position to wave his todger around. but has in the
couple of weeks he has been On LT has posted on topic thoughtful, well argumentative posts to a number of forums. Posts should be judged on their contents not on the users cataloguing skills.

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 5:23pm Top

74> I for one do not judge a persons posts by how big a library he has listed. or when he added the last batch. I have better things to do than compare penis size.

Okay, I'm going to chalk you up as just being obtuse on this issue. To claim we're comparing size of libraries between someone who has NO books versus someone who has a couple dozen books (none of which they actually have to OWN, they could just catalog books they like that they've read)... well, it's just ridiculous, frankly.

I'm judging both your posts and Linton's on their contents and finding them rather lacking. I'm not saying this about you in general as I've seen many good posts by you. But it seems like to me in this thread your explanations (such as the penis size argument) are just fairly weak.

ETA: To further point out the absurdity of the "I have better things to do than compare penis size" comment. From the OP's profile, where he has no books cataloged:
"About my library: Several thousand books covering most of the liberal arts". Seriously. Several thousand. And they go to LT, a site primarily dedicating to cataloging your library and connecting with those who are interested in the same books via comparing catalogs, and they don't catalog a single book. None. Not a sausage.

Mar 8, 2011, 5:00pm Top

74: SimonW11

Okay this whole thread was worth it for the use of the word 'Todger'

He certainly is 'argumentative' I'll agree with you there. Maybe you meant argued though ;-)

Edited: Mar 8, 2011, 5:44pm Top

I apologize for mentioning janny's name. It was one that popped to mind of a LT author who has posted in the past. I didn't research her posts, just know she has been around a while. I'll delete my prior post.

This discussion has gotten rather absurd.

ETA: and I had absolutely no idea that Simon was recently involved in a podcast interview with Janny.

Mar 8, 2011, 5:23pm Top

sigh Linton has been on LT for what two weeks? I should check How many books had I catalogued after two weeks, more than two I am sure. probably about 50 maybe as many as Janny Our token Author. I did not wait before I started posting and I do not see why they should.
Linton posts to other forums on other topics. Will he ever catalogue anything? shrug, It would be nice if he did I suppose.

I think You would agree that he feels unwelcome in this group and I think you would agree that he feels that he is being faulted for not having a catalogue.
yet he does contribute to several groups.

I do not think that he should feel that he is somehow at fault for not having catalogued books.

There are plenty of reasons to flag a post. but they all relate to its content.

Mar 8, 2011, 5:24pm Top

74> I mean argumentative

Mar 8, 2011, 5:25pm Top

78> Again, just more obtuseness. Do you or do you not think the original poster was a drive-by spammer who has no interest in actually having any conversations on LT but instead created an account solely to drive traffic to his website? That's really what it boils down to. I posit that if you think he's not, you're actively ignoring reality.

Mar 8, 2011, 8:17pm Top

On the one hand. Somebody obviously hocked their tawdry wears on our group blog.

On the gripping hand. Kurt Vonnegut is a great topic for a thread. Unfortunately, it turned into something else.

If you review the gestalt of this thread you may see that actually very little has been said.

Bottom line is; watching people typographically get personal is entertaining in its own right. ;-)

Mar 8, 2011, 9:57pm Top

Yeah, it sure looks there is a lot more interest in stamping feet here that discussing science fiction.

Good thing though, without the eagle-eyed guardians of freedom who turned this into 80 posts of rant kept you from being exposed to some evil terrorist trying to flog the experience of following a Vonnegutt biography being written.

And, better yet, revealed me as an evil capitalist promotional Svengali working for some press that's out there like an octopus trying to give stuff away.

Come to think off, the orignal poster here mentioned a blog, I mention Mayan Calender Girls online serial, then the booknazis mentioned my publisher's Free Day give away..;not a single thing for sale there.

Of course, somebody might have stumbled into finding something interesting to read.
But there's a hysterical condom to fight against that, thank God.
I don't mind being frisked to foil horrorism. Just don't touch my junk or I'll send your kids links to more free reads.

I'm pretty sure, actually, that this poor guy stumbled by here, thought there'd be interest in his Vonnegutt bit and decided it wasn't a very friendly environment.

I'm stupid enough to hang around, though. I guess I get entertained by book-burners antics, too. I'm not proud of it though.

Mar 8, 2011, 10:11pm Top

I really enjoy LT and especially this groups blog. Don't take this thread as indicative of this groups "way".

Apart from the occasionally passionate congress (see all above) we really do mostly share and converse about things science fictional.

I've been monitoring this thread, really, because it is hard to look away from a train wreck ;-)

Mar 8, 2011, 10:29pm Top

Lamentable, but true, randall. I really hate flouncing out of something then sneaking back in, but this really is a classic pile-up.

Glad to hear your opinion that it's more congenial elsewhere in LT. And I appreciate you mentioning it.

Mar 8, 2011, 10:59pm Top

If you review the gestalt of this thread you may see that actually very little has been said.


While not much might have been said, it has been extremely informative.

Mar 8, 2011, 11:24pm Top

Informing is, of course, the ultimate purpose of writing.

Some enjoy information more than others.

Everybody always likes to think that other people are the fascists and control addicts in the world. But obviously that's not always the case.

As with any collection of writing, there is always the option of thinking about it, examing one's concepts in light of it, or ignoring it. Perhaps even trying to stamp it out or deny access to it.

Insight is a two-edged sword.
Which is why most people don't like it. Though few admit that.

Mar 8, 2011, 11:41pm Top

I like to watch a good fight I have no vested interest in. Thanks for letting me peer over the shoulders of people who are literate. Pro & Con stir my bile to much on occasion. Neat links in 46 & 66. ;-)

Mar 9, 2011, 4:04am Top

Its been long night and I really do not want continue this I just want to say that for me this thread has not been about whether the original post was spam, which it was, although better targeted than most. but about the way this group and LT groups in general reacts to any form of promotion.

see you in another thread.

Mar 9, 2011, 6:04am Top

RBeffa, Janny is still posting on LT. Mainly to be found in The Green Dragon and FantasyFans groups. I have never known her to press her own work forward but she often recommends other authors where appropriate.

Mar 9, 2011, 6:07am Top

This morning I was reading some of Janny's postings from yesterday. She is a frequent, and informative participant in threads.

Edited: Mar 11, 2011, 6:06pm Top

I pointed to my blog thinking that my relationship with Kurt Vonnegut, and how I went about writing his life story would interest members.

Incidentally, Kurt later disavowed his connection to science fiction, but his original intention was to become a science fiction writer. I asked Frederick Pohl why Vonnegut tried to separate his books from the genre that made him popular.

"To be nearer the cash register," Pohl said.

Mar 11, 2011, 7:04pm Top

Charles - welcome back! You may be taken aback by your introduction to LT. Hopefully, you'll realize we're a really welcoming place for those who want to participate in the community.

One way you might be interested in starting is to link your account to your LT Author page:

At the top-right there is a link under the "Is this you?" section. You might also upload a photo of yourself (many LT members really like having photos of their favorite authors show up in their Author Gallery).

Another couple of great places for authors are the groups
Hobnob with Authors
Writer's Brag and Rag Bag

As this thread has been bogged down with the baggage of flagging and some personal rants, you might want to start a fresh thread. The incident you recounted about Pohl's opinion of Vonnegut seems like just the kind of thing folks here would like to converse with you about.

Jul 6, 2011, 12:24am Top

This thread has suffered the kind of derailment that makes international TV news, but has anyone actually been back to look at the blog? It's fantastic. I've wishlisted the book.

I'd start another thread if I didn't think it may be viewed as deliberately antagonistic… ;)

Edited: Jul 6, 2011, 12:30pm Top

Speaking of derailment:

charlesjshields: still 0 books cataloged
LintonRobinson: still 2 books cataloged (his own)

Tell us again how these folks are actually interested in LT as anything other than a telephone pole to glue their ads to...

Jul 6, 2011, 12:01pm Top

94 brightcopy

Yep. Not really surprised.

Jul 6, 2011, 12:47pm Top


These types of people are not unlike those that troll the stock market chat sites. They are pumpers whose only purpose is to promote a book usually for their own gain, either because it is their own work or they are paid in some manner to offer favourable reviews/comments. They are not interested in discussing books per se....they just want to lure you to their book.

That is not what Librarything is all about and they don't get it.

Sep 6, 2011, 1:16pm Top

I see this book is offered as an early reviewers book this month. Probably a real treat for Vonnegut fans.

Oct 17, 2011, 4:50pm Top

>97 RBeffa: I was so treated, and loving it.

Nov 22, 2011, 8:28am Top

There's a nice write-up of this book at Brain Pickings for anyone who might be interested in reading more about it.

Nov 24, 2011, 9:17pm Top

I have a copy on order - looking forward to it.

Edited: Dec 11, 2011, 1:09pm Top

Alright!! Your chance to congratulate or vilify charlesjshields will be available tomorrow when he is interviewed live at a radio station in Charlotte NC {USA}. From the website info below.

Join the Show:
From 9 to 10 a.m. {EST}

Link to the show's webpage,


I don't know if he will be autographing books anywhere or not, I have to work so maybe I will catch the "canned" podcast.

Dec 11, 2011, 6:19pm Top

Considering he still hasn't in any way participated in LT (still no books cataloged, still no posts to Talk other than the two threads advertising his book), I'm going to stick with my original reaction - yet another author only interested in spamming LT for financial gain.

Dec 12, 2011, 4:04am Top

I disagree. I see an enthusiast spamming because he wants to spread the word about something he's deeply engaged in. But yeah, I agree otherwise - it's drive-by spam.

Dec 12, 2011, 5:08pm Top

I got rained out of some work and actually caught part of the broadcast. It was an interesting phone interview. CJS actually met Kurt while he was alive and spent time with him before his death. The book developed over a long time period as he related the tale.

He was wham bam thank you ma'am experience here however. ;-)

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