Yes, I photoshopped a movie poster. Because I HAD TO!

Lani Sarem is Indefensible: a rebuttal

April Walsh
5 min readSep 8, 2017


So I recently found this article written by the author of the hour: Lani Sarem. If you don’t know about the situation with her, see this masterpiece and, if you have time, Kayleigh Donaldson’s real-time thread on Twitter as this whole thing unravels.

Anyway, I basically had no choice but to write a long reasons you suck speech. Since the comments are subject to approval, possibly by Lani, I’m sure it will never see the light of day. So I thought I’d share it here — with necessary visual aides…

Oh, Lani, Lani, Lani. Let’s say all the above is true (see this drivel). You just played the game the way it’s played (not saying it is true, but let’s say it is). There is so much more wrong with your rise to the limelight.

— Like the tracing paper your cover “artist” put over an existing work of art.

— Like the writing, which is nowhere near good enough or even hilariously bad enough to make a book go viral. I mean, at least 50 Shades and Twilight were good for a laugh. And I’m saying this as someone who writes fanfic… No one thinks your Jackson Rathbone self-insert fanfic is interesting enough to be a bestseller, including Jackson Rathbone.

— Your book is not YA. Your heroine is too old for the category and you only put it there so it would be the next Twilight (a terrible ambition, IMO), which leads me to the next…

— You wrote a book in order for it to become a movie starring you.

— You are on the wrong side of 30 to be playing 25 and, if you don’t realize that, then I don’t know what to say to you (I say this as a fat woman approaching 40: Know your limitations).

— Plenty of crap authors have gamed the system, so it’s not like you’re the first. There are companies where the only goal is to guarantee bestseller status. You know what happens to them? Sellers stop doing business with them. ( Bad business will out.

— You reached too far and you got sniffed out because, usually, when a book hits number 1, people have heard of it, read it, met someone who read it. Your name and your title rang no bells and that led to your downfall. You should have shot for number 20 or something. Maybe you would have gotten away with it.

— Your book displaced a more deserving story in The Hate U Give, a story dealing with real world issues and realistic pain. No one wants yet another paint-by-numbers love triangle complete with self-insert heroine who’s soooo pretty, (but doesn’t know it) and soooo special that all she wants is to be normal!

— And that’s the problem. If this “surprise hit” of yours were well-written, original, or compelling, then people would have shrugged it off. But the quality gave it away and had people digging for answers. You know why?

— You are not a writer. You know what people who write good books do? They write because they want to or even have to, because they have a story in them and they want to share it, not for some easy road to fame. They enjoy writing for the sake of it. A calculated, formulaic story, written only for some cash and fame might make some money, but it will never be credible. You are not a writer. You are a struggling actress. You are not in this business for the right reasons.

— Your story has the same title as a book on dealing with terminal illness. Even with this controversy, your book will be selling more than a book people might actually need in their lives. No one needs your story. It does no good in the world, it adds nothing smart to the conversation, it benefits no one… except maybe you now that people know your name. I hope you’re happy with why.


— I’m sure you’ll sell a few copies to people who are curious. I mean, what you did might be awful, but I don’t suppose it’s illegal so far (except that cover), but I’m no lawyer. I’m sure you’ll get something out of it. I just hope the bad outweighs the good because you deserve it.

If you want to jump into the pain that is this story, my dear friend Margaret is taking that bullet here.

If you haven’t had enough of me ranting about terrible books, see what I think about terrible romance novel cliches.



April Walsh

Professional singer. Amateur writer. Accomplished nerd.