Saturday, July 19, 2014

Us vs Them

It's an expression I've always hated, a way of thinking that rubs like a barbed wire against the skin. There used to be a time when people would shrug, realizing their minds would never meet on a point and move on. No brutal pounding of verbal insults and slights to cut a person down for their disagreement. I'm not sure when that changed but it seems exhausting and sad to cling to.

I love the social website Reddit, one of my books is inspired by it. I have often wasted time there while I was supposed to be writing. Usually in the general and most popular area but for a few days I wandered into the /writing subreddit and it was interesting until the word self-publishing came up. At that time it was a pack of rabid wolves attacking a small woodland creature. The vehemence and disdain was off the charts, it was shocking. What the hell just happened, was all I could think. I get not all writers are in love with each other and that that is common but the utter loathing and contempt for a self-published writer was something I couldn't fathom.

Stumbling away in a daze I found the /self-publish subreddit and the response was so different I could hardly believe it. People were welcoming, sharing, answering the oddest of questions with sincerity and openness. In the comments section  someone mentioned, yeah don't go to /writing they hate self-publishing people.

Hate, hate is a very strong word and it's also a sad word. To use up so much emotion on someone or something that most likely doesn't know or care about that hate. Yet, what the person said was true, the people in the writing section seemed to hate self-published people.

Why? Forget the argument for self-publishing, that the old system is crumbling that unless you are selling a million units your publisher doesn't give you the time of day. Forget the argument that being able to make a living, is barely plausible going through a publisher these days. The argument for self-publishing should be good enough in and of itself, the writer is writing and telling their story and they are in control of their life story. How can that be wrong, how can that be stupid, how can that be looked down upon?

I've said it and my friend told me, if I don't do what I want with my life and write then I will be a miserable, cranky bitch. Writing makes the voices quiet, writing makes the world make sense to me, writing makes me happy when I have told a story that needs to be told and can then be shared.

If you have the kind of hook and are the second coming of Stephanie Myers or Stephen King you will get play and you will get published and you will have a team of marketing behind you. If your book isn't bad, is more or less enjoyable then you'll get a five thousand print and the bookstores will get two of your books and you'll be faced in on the shelves and maybe you'll sell enough for them to want another book. The highlights and arguments for a publisher that used to be there, so are not anymore. Editing, bullshit number one-there are books that deserve a 50-100 page cut and don't have it. Even the copy editing that would be considered basic is missing these days. Marketing-see above, if you can be sold they will if they don't want to waste the money then it's on you the author. Support-I'm sorry but that's just laughable, unless you sell there is none.

Maybe I'm taking this too much to heart and am overly sensitive but I just don't get it. I worked hard on what I wrote, editing, revising, worrying over cutting and then adding. I didn't throw up some graphic words at the page and hoped they stuck. I didn't choose erotica, I chose erotic romance because I wanted to tell the story of falling in love and the turmoil and the highs that go along with that. Even for the writers that write erotica there is a need, there is a purpose and if it's written well it shows. I took control of my floundering dreams and made them into reality. I did that by writing, getting a book cover, having my work formatted and putting it up for sale. No, I didn't do that by sending out hundreds of query letters and waiting for someone to tell me I'm good enough spent months trying to sell myself and then waiting a year for maybe a deal.

As far as I'm concerned there is no us vs them, there are simply people who chose to take different paths.

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