Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Kendall and Kylie Jenner “Write” a Book — My Rant

with 17 comments

Folks, I just finished reading two sample chapters from REBELS: CITY OF INDRA: The Story of Lex and Livia, a book purportedly written by Kendall and Kylie Jenner. (Yes, they’re the sisters of Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian.)

Here’s my capsule review: It’s dreadful. (Take a look at these one-star reviews if you don’t believe me.)

Why?

There’s no plot. There’s nothing in the way of characterization. And the Jenner sisters didn’t even write it.

The only good thing about REBELS: CITY OF INDRA: The Story of Lex and Livia (and yes, it has all of those colons) is this: Two ghostwriters actually got paid to write this garbage.

As a writer of YA fiction (you may have heard of my novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, if you’ve ever been to my blog before), I am appalled that this pitiful excuse for a book is currently sitting at #353 paid in the Amazon store.

And the only reason it appears to be there is this: The Jenner sisters are the young half-sisters of Kim Kardashian, reality starlet. So when they said, “Hey, we want to write a book,” they immediately got a book contract.

Then, apparently, after they realized how hard writing is, they quite sensibly hired ghost writers — which actually makes good business sense, but doesn’t show much on the creative side of the ledger for either of the Jenner sisters.

And now, they’re making money hand over fist despite the many negative reviews, merely because of name recognition.

It’s enough to make me, a barely known author, cry.

What can you do to combat this sort of nonsense? It’s blindingly simple: read something else.

“But Barb!” you yell. “I don’t know what to read! Help me!” (With or without exclamation points, granted.)

Look. I know many writers, and have reviewed many, many, many better books than this one. Here are just a few in the YA category that I recommend, and why:

Stephanie Osborn’s StarSong is a fable about a young, spoiled girl who realizes she needs to grow up and start doing things for herself before she finds the man of her dreams. This is an excellent novella about a spiritual awakening and a nifty coming-of-age tale, all in one. It was written for pre-teens, but anyone eight or above should enjoy this fun little story of loss, romance and redemption.

Chris Nuttall’s latest, LESSONS IN ETIQUETTE, is the second story about Emily, a teenage girl from our world who’s been transported to a quasi-medieval world where she can do magic and is important…but is important as much for the technical innovations she introduces into this new world (the printing press, Arabic numbers, double-entry bookkeeping, etc.) as she is for her own prodigious magical gifts. It’s a well-paced, well-written book that will keep you turning the pages, and is possibly Chris’s best book to date.

Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s NIGHT CALLS is the story of Alfreda Sorensson, who is a frontier girl with magic. Again, she does for herself, thank you, and spends her time productively by learning about herself and the world around her. This is one of the best books for teenage girls I’ve ever read.

Jason Cordova’s CORRUPTOR is about Tori, a teenager trapped in a virtual reality game environment. Tori’s ex-boyfriend causes trouble, while Tori’s widowed father tries to get her out of the simulation. It’s a fun, fast read with a lot of real-world implications.

Sarah A. Hoyt’s DARKSHIP THIEVES is about Athena, a girl on the cusp of adulthood who must find herself, fast. Her father is against her, so she flees as far away as she can and finds a whole different place than she’d ever imagined…she falls in love and marries, yes, but she does so on her terms and by showing how competent and intelligent she is at every turn.

Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill’s neo-Arthurian Shadow Grail series (LEGACIES, CONSPIRACIES, SACRIFICES and VICTORIES) features Spirit White, who loses her parents in an accident and only then finds out she has magic. But what type, and why? (And was it really an accident?) So she first has to find herself, learn her talents, and then save the world…

Folks, those are just a few of the many excellent books out there in the YA and/or pre-teen category. These are all writers who work hard at their craft, write excellent stories that make sense, with characters you will appreciate, and came up with plausible worlds in the bargain. I highly recommend all of these stories, and hope you will support these writers — real writers working really hard to give you really fine stories with real craftsmanship.

(Really.)

So, in short: Please do not support this newest effort by the Jenner sisters. They don’t need the money. They didn’t do the work. And they don’t deserve your patronage thereby.

But many other real writers do.

——–

Edited to add: I’ve started a Twitter campaign called #SupportARealWriter to get the word out about real writers who use real craftsmanship to create good, solid, honest books — really. If you see #SupportARealWriter at the end of something, please  support that writer and let people know their books are out, available, and are much, much better than the above book with the Jenner sisters’ name on it.

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17 Responses

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  1. Other fine works by the authors mentioned — Stephanie Osborn’s entire Displaced Detective series; Chris Nuttall’s “Schooled in Magic” and “The Bookworm” (I’m stopping at just two; Chris has at least 20 novellas and novels out to date); Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s “Kindred Rites” and Chronicles of Nuala series; Rosemary Edghill’s “The Warslayer” and Edghill/Lackey’s “Dead Reckoning,” “Arcanum 101” and the Bedlam’s Bard series; Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series; Jason Cordova’s latest co-written novellas with Eric S. Brown, “Kaiju Apocalypse” and “Murder World: Kaiju Dawn.”

    Other novelists you should read down the line — Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Ryk Spoor, Eric Flint, Dave Freer, Kate Paulk, Amanda S. Green, Katharine Kerr, Katherine Kurtz…way too many to list, but those will get you started.

    Barb Caffrey

    June 6, 2014 at 1:15 am

    • Wow! Thank you very much, Barb, for the recommendations! I know I work really hard on each novel to make it as good, and as absorbing, as I can. And *I* don’t use ghost writers!

      You know, I tried to read the Kindle preview of that book over on Amazon and I got about through the prologue and choked. Oy. I had a hard time keeping up with what was going on…and that was JUST the prologue!

      And yes, the other authors are excellent choices too, and I can add my recommendation to them as well! They’ll certainly be a MUCH better read than that poor, pitiful little book.

      stephanieosborn

      June 6, 2014 at 1:29 am

      • You’re welcome, Stephanie. I’m glad to recommend your writing *and* your books.

        And yes, that book was just dreadful. Getting through two chapters (and the prologue) was all I could stand. I read it as sample chapters; I did not pay for the entire book. But I don’t think I missed much.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 6, 2014 at 1:37 am

  2. All that money, and they couldn’t even get good ghost writers?

    Jasini

    June 6, 2014 at 9:01 am

    • I agree completely, Betsy. It is almost mindboggling to consider that, isn’t it?

      Barb Caffrey

      June 6, 2014 at 11:34 pm

  3. Hi Barb. It’s write1. I loved your rant and you have my sympathies. I looked up the website but the comments are closed. Unless you have to email them or something? I saw your book and I’m going to read a sample. My niece has a kindle and she’s not reading enough. I’d like her to read things besides something about One Direction. She’s obsessed! Heck, I’ll buy it myself and let her borrow it. You CAN write. You’ve got way more books than me. I tried the horror genre if you want a looksee. It’s under Beret Staiger. I split the chapters up because I didn’t know how it would do, and I’m still working on it. So if you want to give those two a glimpse, I’d sure love feedback from a published author such as yourself! Keep writing!

    Katia Nikolayevna

    June 6, 2014 at 9:10 am

    • Hi, Katia.

      I appreciate you getting in contact with me.

      It’s possible that Jason Cordova (who owns Shiny Book Review, and writes horror fiction and horror hybrids) may want to review your horror novel. I’ll ask him. If he does, I’ll come back here and ask you to send me your contact info (so I can e-mail you, and you can e-mail him).

      Book Plug Fridays works like this at PJ Media — they want a blurb, an Amazon link, and the name of the author. That’s it. Then send it to book (period) plug (period) friday AT gmail DOT com (I wrote it out this way to hopefully keep them from getting SPAM).

      Anyway, check out this post, where they plugged both AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and my editing…it might help you. https://elfyverse.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/pj-medias-book-plug-friday-plugs-an-elfy-on-the-loose-and-my-editing/

      Bless you for wishing to read the AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE sample chapters. I have a link to them at “About AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE,” which will get you to the five sample chapters Twilight Times Books put up…

      BTW, two of the books listed have me as a contributor (well, three if STARS OF DARKOVER is now listing). Those are BEDLAM’S EDGE and HOW BEER SAVED THE WORLD. (I wrote short stories for each; the first was with my late husband, Michael.)

      The two stories up so far in the Joey Maverick series were written mostly by my husband. He passed away, I couldn’t bear to let his writing die out, so I’m doing my best to keep it alive. (If you see the “Michael B. Caffrey” category here, that’s what it’s all about if you’re interested — about Michael, and my thoughts about his books and stories, and about how much I miss him.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      • I bought a copy and lent it to my niece. She told me something about the cover. I wouldn’t read too much into that. For my romance, I changed the cover so many times trying to get someone to notice it, that I can’t remember what the original looks like anymore! I tried everything. I know it needs a professional edit and polish. I wish I could have sent it to a publisher. They know how to do these things properly. I did manage to send in the romance to PJ Media, hopefully they’ll get back to me. Anyway, my niece is going to read it tonight. She’s got connections. She does plays and has oodles of friends. So let’s see what happens. I’ll give the book a read when I get it back. I like characters with attitude. May we keep in touch? I’d like to have a friend who knows what it’s like to be a writer and how hard it is to put yourself out there and hope someone notices. As for the horror novel. I split the chapters. Just to see what the initial response would be. Not very good. I’m still working on the thing and will eventually publish as a whole novel. It was just a testing of the waters as I’d never dabbled in horror before. Oh well. I am sorry about your husband. I’m sure he’s smiling down at you from heaven above. From someone who has also lost a loved one, they know these things. Trust me!

        Katia Nikolayevna

        June 6, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      • Thank you, Katia.

        Certainly let’s keep in touch. And I hope your niece likes AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. (The cover may not make sense until she’s into the novel. My male novelist friends did *not* like it, but my female novelist friends did, and my publisher and I definitely did, so it stood.)

        When you finish your novel, let me know and I’ll ask Jason. He’d be the best to read it, but he also has another friend who reads a lot more horror than I do who might be intrigued enough to take a gander at it.

        Good for you to send your blurb and romance to PJ Media! I know it’s hard to do that. But I’m very glad you did. Keep an eye on their site; usually it takes a week to two weeks before links to works go up.

        Thank you for your kind words about my husband. They are appreciated. (I like to think he still knows what’s going on, too. He’d surely shake his head at the Jenner sisters and their ghost-written novel…you should’ve heard what he had to say about Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s movie “Gigli.” ;-))

        Barb Caffrey

        June 6, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    • BTW, Katia, I looked you up at FB and could not find you. I can’t friend you…boo, hiss to that! (But you can find _me_ fairly easily…I use the Brewers pic there also.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 9, 2014 at 4:43 am

  4. I’ve never seen “Gigli.” What about “The Room”? That one…don’t even get me started! Thank goodness! My niece is very picky. I recommended “The Dark Unwinding” to her and she’s yet to take a gander at it. I’ve given her “The Root Cellar” and “The Ruby Ring” not to mention one of the “Bunnicula” series. I grew up on those and she’s having trouble reading and passing a state exam to pass into the ninth-grade. I keep telling her to read more. But it seems to go in one ear and out the other. Well, I’ll see what she has to say. If the cover is good enough for you and your publisher, then it’s good enough! I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. It conveys the story you’re trying to tell. Thank you for the kind words and hope to hear from you soon! 🙂

    Katia Nikolayevna

    June 6, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    • Again, you’re most welcome.

      “Gigli” is a movie that probably could’ve been good, but wasn’t, and it got savaged at the site Rotten Tomatoes, way back when. Those reviews are probably still there, somewhere…

      Oh, goodness, yes. “The Room” didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, either.

      I hope your niece will read more, mind. Reading is the best thing you can do as a person; you learn a lot, you educate yourself no matter _what_ you’re reading, and you learn more about yourself and the world. It’s a win-win.

      It’s too bad we can’t get more teens to believe “the man” is trying to keep them down, and that reading is the way to tick off “the man.” (I know this is very old slang, from before _my_ time, even, but it sounded better than “tick off the powers that be” or “tick off the authorities” to my mind.)

      It’s possible that your niece didn’t pick up on the picture of Sarah at the end of the world Gate (she’s there), which is depicted on the cover of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. It’s subtle, but Bruno’s trying to get back to Sarah, and he’s running and carrying three magical backpacks (which are helping him, but in their way).

      Without him already being in love with her, why do it?

      And yes, as it’s a comic fantasy/romance, you need to have something that isn’t quite expected on the cover…who expects to have a romantic lead be three-feet tall and rather ordinary looking who’s carrying three backpacks running toward something he probably would be running away _from_ if not for the love of Sarah?

      Barb Caffrey

      June 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      • I always thought it looked rather less like him running toward it and more like the backpacks towing him in their wake… 😉

        stephanieosborn

        June 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      • Yep, and that’s exactly what it is. 😀 But I wasn’t sure Katia’s niece would understand. 😉

        You have sharp eyes, Stephanie!

        Barb Caffrey

        June 6, 2014 at 11:17 pm

  5. My niece has very peculiar tastes. She likes One Direction! Need I say more? She just doesn’t have the passion for reading that i had when I was her age. It’s very sad. Especially since she’s having so much trouble in school. She’s easily distracted by her phone and texting her friends. As a writer, I thought my encouragement would be enough. Always for every Christmas I would give books, hoping the love of literature would rub off. Now she’s having a hard time passing into the ninth-grade, and it’s so upsetting that I can’t help her. Makes me weep a little. 😦

    Katia Nikolayevna

    June 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    • I completely understand.

      Why not try to get her to write some One Direction fan fiction, then? (Or at least read it?) That might get her interested in the same way teen girls used to read Teen Beat and the like — does that magazine still exist?

      Barb Caffrey

      June 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm

  6. […] And remember . . . support a real writer. […]


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