Monday, June 2, 2014


Recently, a Facebook friend shared an "Open Letter" she had received from one of her Facebook friends. The letter was written by a person who blazoned herself to be an "international bestselling author". As I had not read or heard anything previously about a local "international bestselling author", I suddenly had images in my mind of a Salingeresque-type writer, cloistered in an historic mansion, clattering on an antique Underwood typewriter.

I was excited to learn that a person in our community is an "international bestselling author". I asked my brother, rhetorically, "I wonder why I've never heard of her? Did I miss an article in the Record-Herald?" I had seen coverage in the newspaper of other Fayette County natives who are published authors, but I had never seen any refer to herself or himself as an "international bestselling author". I thought, "I hope that her self-aggrandizement and lack of humility will be surpassed by superior writing skill."

After reading the "Open Letter", I thought that I should get in contact with the "international bestselling author" to alert her that someone was using her name without her knowledge, because it was obvious to me that no "international bestselling author" could have written such ignorance. However, after a punctilious investigation, I determined that the person whose name is attached to the "Open Letter" is indeed the same person who claims to be the "international bestselling author".

Although I will quote from the "Open Letter", I shall not be sharing it here because the scurrilous document is just a deplorable attempt by the self-proclaimed "international bestselling author" to degrade another local "author".

In the reprehensible "letter", there are more than twelve examples of clichés, hackneyed or trite expressions (e.g.: "left in droves", "long winded", "sounding board", "reap what we sow", "stick your nose in", "bottom line", "up in arms", "sprung up overnight", "can't hack it", "red hot angry", and "how come"); she even resorts to hyperbole ("atrocious" and "plague"). Surely no "international bestselling author" would allow such amateurish mistakes to be associated with her name.

The "letter" also contains numerous examples of syntax errors, incorrect grammar, poor punctuation, and nonsensical phrases (e.g.: "someone of numerous someones"). She obviously does not know when to differentiate between "that", "which", and "who". When she wrote that journalism is a "notable profession", perhaps she actually meant "noble profession". The "international bestselling author" is also guilty of excessive capitalization (e.g.: 'MANY", "NOT", "ANY", "YOU", and "EVERY"); I advised her that capitalizing inappropriately is a NO-NO (one can LOL but I am so old I still use TEE-HEE) for anyone claiming the mantel of "international bestselling author".

Of all the examples in her benighted invective, the most glaring and pitiable one is her use of "back peddle" rather than "backpedal". I hope this "international bestselling author" is not a product of Fayette County's school systems.

While all of those examples are merely unacceptable, there is one insurmountable, egregious error which should cause any person who attended elementary school, to wince: the "international bestselling author" used a singular ("anybody") and followed it with a plural ("themselves"). A poseur such as she should, at least, employ a proofreader, if not an editor.

I would hope that no reputable book editor would allow such inferior writing to be published. I envisioned Maxwell Perkins jumping up from his crypt, wagging a skeletal finger in dismay, and exclaiming to this "international bestselling author" not to use clichés such as "turning over in his grave"; but, I realized that she probably wouldn't know who Perkins was and would not grasp the humor. I sometimes use clichés for effect, but I doubt if any reader would fail to recognize my usage as self-deprecatory and amusing.

One would think that an "international bestselling author" would use some of her vast royalties to acquire much-needed tools such as a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a style guide.

I checked Amazon, and I learned that books by this "international bestselling author" were printed by a vanity press (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) and that she was selling her "books" on Amazon, and perhaps on other sites or out of a box from the trunk of her vehicle. How pitiful for an "international bestselling author" to be reduced to such unseemly circumstances.

This "international bestselling author" reminds me of another local "author" who used a vanity press to publish his "book" (CLICK HERE to see my BLOG article WRITER MANQUE). I bet that if he sold one of his "books" to a person in a foreign country (in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, e.g.), he could also claim to be an "international bestselling author".

Whenever anyone questions my usage, I always respond, "WWEBWD?" which stands for "What would E. B. White do?" because Elements Of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White is still the premier reference work for any serious author and the guide is still available on Amazon. Although I am a "serious" person, I am not doltish enough to believe I am an "author", although the self-labeled "international bestselling author" is most certainly silly enough to believe that she is a legitimate "author".

Please notice in the title of this article that I have "BEST-SELLING" hyphenated, but in the text of the article, I do not, because when referring to the self-declared "international bestselling author", as she did not hyphenate "bestselling", I used her incorrect punctuation as an example throughout the text. She made "bestselling" one word.

My final note to the "international bestselling author": for her edification and delectation, all leading Style Guides show "bestselling" hyphenated: best-selling!


Anonymous said...

OMG! I'm going to count how many times you used "international bestselling author". I looked up "snarky" in the dictionary and yes, there was your picture! Great job!

Anonymous said...

You MUST let me read the "letter"! ML

Anonymous said...

Shall I send a copy to her and to her "admirers"? 2 actually used the word "awesome", but then, what would one expect from people who would read such trash? PB

Anonymous said...

Is this your "magnum opus"? Just couldn't help quoting from E.B. White's Charlotte in "Charlotte's Web". CM

Anonymous said...

Did she think nobody would check? NS

Anonymous said...

You should not have ridiculed that poor girl so much. Imagine, thinking that because one can pay to have some pages encased between two covers, it makes one think that one is an "author"; it's very sad. Sharon