A Chronicle of Outrage Marketing Part 4: The Legend Grows

As this is part four, a short recap. Baen published an anthology with the theme of Daves. A handful of people said ‘huh?’. Nick Mamatas made a pointed observation about affirmadave action and Baen editor Christopher Ruocchio posted many tweets as a consequence. Larry Correia joined in. Bounding into Comics joined in. Dave Freer joined in. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

The other day I said that “I’m keen to watch this unfold because it is the sort of thing that in a years time will have transmogrified and become part of Puppy-lore i.e. that time the whole of liberal/SJW/antifa/Bernie Sanders formed a giant army to destroy the careers of every writer ever called Dave, or some such.”

A key part of this process is to grow the legend and cement the story of victory. To see this we have to wander into Facebook.

First of all over to Christopher Ruocchio who has some positive sales news for the flock of Daves.

“Well, the near vertical, 700,000-place jump in the Amazon ebook rankings for the title in question you see here coincides with the day he announced the book was cancelled.”

The minor criticism has now been elevated to Nick M announcing that the Dave anthology had been cancelled! There is a circular kind of negation here. If Nick M really has helped the anthology then there was no need to be cross with Nick M but then if Chris Ruocchio hadn’t been cross etc. The key takeaway, apparently the jump in sales wasn’t due to how great the stories were (at least if Chris R is to be believed).

Still, that is only a mild bit of hyperbole. What we need is the Roucchio v mildly bemused Mamatas exchange to be raised up to fantasy epic proportions and for that you need Larry Correia [archive link].

” However, SJWs, led by a particular dumb motherfucker named Nick Mamatas (a super bitter puppy kicker) got all outraged, because “diversity” and apparently having a book of all Daves wasn’t “inclusive” (well no shit, sherlock) and this was a super huge OUTRAGE! “

The ‘outrage’ remember was a Brittany Speers gif.

“Now, normally cancel culture just steam rolls publishers, because its a business filled with cry babies and wimps. However, this publisher is Baen, who don’t care, and the guy running their social media is a Chestertonian bad ass, who told Mamatas to get bent. “

Brave Baen valiantly defended from the one slightly snarky Tweet and a Brittany Speers by the noble defended of truth and justice.

“And also, where were you assholes when we did an anthology that was all female to show that women have always been part of sci-fi? (they totally ignored that one because it didn’t fit their narrative of perpetual victimhood). “

What Larry’s logic here is unclear. Was he hoping that mythical SJWs would attack that previous anthology so it would boost sales or was he saying the SJWs should have supported the anthology, which, in Larry’s logic would have reduced sales? I’m not sure but he does raise a good question: where were you?

The anthology in question was Women of Futures Past (2016) edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (https://www.baen.com/women-of-futures-past.html ). You can read all about it at this wonderful science fiction fanzine I often visit: http://file770.com/collected-classic-sf-by-women/ That post had over a hundred comments by the way.

But you know which website you CAN’T read about it? Oh, did you guess “Monster Hunter Nation”? Because you are right!

Yeah but maybe he promoted it on Facebook:

Apparently not! I can’t imagine what was so different about the Baen anthology about Women and the Baen anthology about Daves…


“But see that great big spike on the graph there? That is what happens when creators actually stand up for themselves and fight back against the SJW lynch mobs.”

Not just a mob now but a “lynch mob”, armed to the teeth with rolling eye emojis and snark.

34 thoughts on “A Chronicle of Outrage Marketing Part 4: The Legend Grows

      1. They go through a brief and unstable liquid phase. The evidence for this is how their story shifts wildly in the retelling.

        Liked by 4 people

  1. It’s a bit freaky that since you started chronicling this thing, they’ve still kept on the same predictable path.

    I notice Larry is swift to adopt the royal “we” about something he’s had nothing previously to do with.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. If they’re not the lone heroes standing off against the mighty SJW lynch mob, then who are they? A bunch of nonentities, most of whom can aspire to no more than mediocrity. It’s hard to cast off that kind of psychological reinforcement.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I clearly remember the Women of Future Past anthology, when it came out. As far as I recall, Kristine Kathryn Rusch had the idea for the project and took it to Toni Weisskopf. So it was Rusch’s project before it was Baen’s.

    Regarding the anthology, I liked the idea more than the execution. I didn’t buy it, because I already owned several of the stories elsewhere. I also would have preferred lesser known stories and authors to be mixed in with the big names. “Shambleau” is a great story, but it has already been reprinted umpteen times. Why not choose a lesser known Moore story? And “Last Days of Shandakor” is a strange choice for Leigh Brackett, since it’s fairly atypical. The anthology also jumps over the Silver Age of SFF. Andre Norton and Zenna Henderson are the only Silver Age authors represented, even though there were many women writing SFF during the Silver Age. There were also more women writing SFF during the Golden Age than just Brackett and Moore.

    Also, Baen published one anthology featuring only women, a project that was proposed by an external editor. And now they want cookies for one anthology they published 3 years ago?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. According to ISFDB, “Shambleau” has been reprinted a whopping 36 times, including in two different vintage SFF by women anthology in 2016 alone. “The Last Days of Shandakor” by Leigh Brackett has been reprinted 11 times. “The Smallest Dragonboy” by Anne McCaffrey has been reprinted 13 times. “Out of All Them Bright Stars” by Nancy Kress has bene reprinted 15 times. “Angel” by Pat Cadigan has been reprinted 12 times. “Cassandra” by C.J. Cherryh has been reprinted 14 times. “All Cats Are Grey” by Andre Norton has been reprinted 19 times. “The Last Flight of Dr. Ain” by James Tiptree Jr. has been reprinted 11 times. “Sur” by Ursula K. Le Guin has been reprinted 10 times. “Fire Watch” by Connie Willis has been reprinted 16 times. “Aftermath” by Lois McMaster Bujold has bene reprinted 6 times and is undled with Shard of Honor, the first Vorkosigan novel. “The Indelible Kind” by Zenna Henderson has been reprinted only four times.

      I only wanted to check how often “Shambleau” has been reprinted, but I’m waiting for a phone call and busying myself counting reprint numbers here.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, that’s why I didn’t buy it. Lots of good stories I’d read before and already owned in other anthologies.


  3. I propose the new anthology project “The Chronicles of Engelberts”. There is at least one very very popular Engelbert out there. There must be more, but that one should be enough.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Really, they should be paying Mamatas. If he hadn’t threatened to burn down the Baen offices they’d never be able to market this book. In other words, if Mamatas didn’t exist they’d have to invent him.

    In all seriousness, I expect one of the outrage marketers out there to eventually realize how much easier this would be if they did invent their own Mamatas.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well of course it’s a lynch mob. Aren’t all mobs lynch mobs these days? (cf. our President)


  6. “the guy running their social media is a Chestertonian bad ass, who told Mamatas to get bent.”
    Um, Chestertonian? As in, he writes stories about priests? He’s part of a secret anarchist council? He’s a raving antisemite? Or is this completely different from GK Chesterton?
    I’m sure someone here is more familiar with Correia’s rants than I am and can enlighten me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No enlightenment here I’m afraid, but it inspired me to go and see what badassery had been performed.
      I can’t see the Baen twitter account replying to Mamatas at all. There’s a couple of slightly snarky replies, one pointing up the KKR anthology. Apart from that – nothing really engaging with the criticism. (To be fair that’s what I’d expect from a companies social media, no point engaging beyond factual corrections)
      So maybe the badassery took place on Facebook, or in Larry’s head?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. During Sad Puppies 3 there was someone who often posted under a GK Chesterton user name. I wonder if they’re the same. Maybe not.

      It might just be someone who supposedly runs rings around his opponents rhetorically.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Maybe he’s from one of the many towns named Chesterton. Or maybe he meant A.K. Chesterton.


  7. There’s a Tennessee county councilor who just went on a public homophobic and racist rant about Mayor Pete running for president and Black people. Who then claimed he couldn’t be racist because some Black people were willing to associate with him. But the key thing he said was that white men have very few rights these days.

    As we know, this is not legally or culturally true. The “rights” the guy was talking about were the extra advantages traditionally granted to white guys through systemic bigotry: the “right” to rule, the right to have a good and meritorious reputation and the right to have other people too scared and blocked to criticize either of those rights. For this guy, it’s complete bewilderment that people who are supposed to know their place below him are not willing to stay there and can criticize him and get a seat at the table. It is for him a deprivation because the advantages he gets from being a white man all his life — what he sees as rights and reputation — are lessened. He can’t say whatever he wants and have them be silent — that’s to him a loss of rights. Gay people or Black people having an equal voice is a loss of his rights, them having success isn’t valid and a threat to his rights, them celebrating more equality is a threat, etc. He’s confused an artificial status with reality. In the past, groups of people were more repressed and when they are not, it’s the destruction of his world. All the hyperbole is necessary to assert that discrimination and the status those on top get from it are justified and should not be challenged and dissolved.

    Because after all, he is good and meritorious — it’s that which makes people cling to inequality and prejudice most of all, even when they’re liberals. And to justify the good and meritorious status rep, people have to make those challenging the status quo system’s privileges be seen as more and more unreasonable and threatening, more powerful in control but weak in morals. And above all, trying to take your stuff and sully your “good” name.

    And if you can get in a few dogwhistles doing it, so much the better, they feel. It’s always a lynch mob coming for them because that’s a coded term about slaughtering Black people, which took place from the time the U.S. was a colony through to the 1960’s, only fifty years ago. White supremacists routinely use the term lynch mob to describe their critics — and to threaten them.

    Again, while the anthology may be benefiting from the outrage marketing, that benefit doesn’t go to most of the Puppies. It doesn’t even go to Ruocchio, who was not the editor of the anthology, nor was officially speaking for Baen. The success of the anthology is not the point. The point is that anyone criticizing discrimination is trying to hurt them and sully their good and meritorious reputation. Which means they now have fewer “rights” that were never rights. They’re privileges and habit that have often been violently reinforced in society.

    The interesting part here is that Ruocchio decided to lie about Mamatas, claiming that Mamatas was calling for the anthology to not exist. That is highly unprofessional of him as a Baen editor and indicates that he got into it with Mamatas deliberately. Since he’s also an author, it seems to indicate that he’s positioning himself as an outrage marketer of far right bent. He’s not so much pumping up sales of the Baen anthology as he is pumping up sales of his novel.

    I sincerely don’t know how much outrage marketing is really benefiting these folks. Correia’s bestseller status was already established before he decided to be the grand general of the right in SFF. Has it really added to his sales, or has it just given him a group of adoring fanboys who regularly interact on his blog and social media? Outrage marketing is much more successful for non-fiction. So whether Ruocchio positioning himself this way is a good plan or not remains to be seen. But getting into an argument with another author and prominent editor and then lying about it is an interesting tactic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. // For this guy, it’s complete bewilderment that people who are supposed to know their place below him are not willing to stay there and can criticize him and get a seat at the table//

      Absolutely. There’s so much of this and the idea that all sorts of people should not be talking – hence all the imperious commands.

      //I sincerely don’t know how much outrage marketing is really benefiting these//

      I would assume it is diminishing returns but I also think the sales spike is real and that’s what they are chasing. I mock Larry but he doesn’t really do fisks anymore aside from his irrational attacks on Mike Glyer (which is more your earlier point).

      However this is also a mutual aid club and one where Larry can dispense patronage. Ruocchio earned kudos point with the group and that will boost sales among Larry’s fans

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay, so the Davethology had a sales spike and Ruocchio might be the subject of one of Larry Correia’s book bombs at the time. But while outrage marketers may get more sales in the short term, I strongly suspect it will hurt them in the long run. For while the various puppy flavours may be willing to buy one book to stick it to the SJWs, they won’t necessarily buy future books by the same author, unless they actually enjoy the books. Meanwhile, outrage marketing and siding with the puppies will have turned off plenty of others who might have bought and enjoyed the books.

        With Ruocchio, his behaviour is particularly puzzling, because his writing career is not going badly nor is his career tied to Baen and their fanbase, unlike Correia’s. Ruocchio’s debut novel is published by DAW in the US and Gollancz in the UK, it has a German translation, got a bit of buzz, was reviewed at various respectable sites and won a small but respected award.The sequel just came out.

        I bought the book (the Gollacz edition), when I found it in a bookstore that regularly carries N.K. Jemisin, Ann Leckie and Ada Palmer, but not Larry Correia, largely due to the well known international distribution problems of Baen. I won’t buy the sequel.


    2. There’s a probably apocryphal quote which neatly sums up your first point:
      “Those who occupy a position of privilege see equality as oppression.”

      For me, outrage marketing serves the useful purpose of identifying those books which I will not want to read ever, thus preventing me from wasting my time with them.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I was trying to track down the longer quote that goes along the lines of: “There is a double-standard in the definition of treating each other with respect. Some people think that being treat with respect means treating them deferentially as a very important person, while they merely extend the minimal amount of respect to others as ordinary humans. Anyone who does not defer to them as they feel they ought is therefore treated as someone less than human.”

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Yep, the rundown was:

    1) Mamatas does a snarky tweet about the Dave anthology, specifically about the hypocrisy of far right authors happily appearing in a silly all men anthology while complaining about all-women anthologies.

    2) Ruocchio goes to scold him, something he shouldn’t have been doing as a Baen editor who wasn’t even involved with the project. Ruocchio claimed to be defending the editor of the anthology against a claim of hypocrisy, whom Mamatas’ tweet joke wasn’t even about. So misdirection, the first stage.

    3) After an exchange where Ruocchio continued to miss the point and which Mamatas used to hilariously hawk his own novel, that should have been it. But Ruocchio then credits himself with increasing the anthology’s sales (publicizing himself,) and lies about Mamatas, claiming that Mamatas called for the cancellation of the anthology rather than just making a hypocrisy joke about far right authors. So misdirection two, second stage.

    4) During the exchange, Ruocchio several times expressed to Mamatas that he shouldn’t criticize the anthology, the editor of the anthology or the authors in the anthology about anything having to do with gender or hypocrisy around gender. At no point did Ruocchio seem to address the central point — that men authors were fine with being in a silly themed all men anthology (that didn’t have to be all men the way it was organized,) while also going after women for being in all women anthologies meant to boost their voices. The closest they all came was to mention that Baen had put out a historical anthology of women writers, which doesn’t have anything to do with the expressed views of far right men authors against all women anthologies.

    But the big thing is simply that Ruocchio is a Baen editor. It’s one thing for Baen authors to treat their publisher like a cult. It’s what the Puppies settled on after trying and then tossing other claimed motivations for their actions. It’s another thing when the editorial staff start turning their publisher into sacred temple under siege. And it’s a very serious thing for a Baen editor to make a lie accusing another editor of trying to interfere in his publisher’s business. Ruocchio is using Baen to position himself and not showing a lot of integrity here. But for outrage marketing for himself, it might be effective.

    Liked by 3 people

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