Friday, February 6, 2015

On Snooty Authors

I am about to have a soapbox moment, so if you don't want to hear it please navigate away from my blog to look at sleepy kittens, adorable toddlers or playful puppies.

OK. Here's my beef: What is it with authors who belittle other authors?

I recently had a conversation with someone who made a comment about the little people who use print on demand, co-publishing, vanity publishing, etc. to produce their books. It went a little something like this: "Ick."

What I don't understand is, why does this even matter? A person sat down and put their whole being into a piece of work. This writing took away from their other hobbies, relationships, responsibilities, sleep and lifestyle in general for a period of time. Then, once complete to a point that they were brave enough to share it with others, they sat down, Googled some options, and chose the publishing route that worked best for them. Maybe they slogged away for years to find a publisher (like I did for Age/Sex/Location). Maybe they said "Eff this" and self published (as I have for A Giraffe in the Room and Adaline). Maybe they were lucky and they knew a guy who knew a guy at one of the big publishers. Maybe they got together with a friend and formed a small press or joined a writer's co-op. Maybe they dumped their whole book onto a blog or forum. Maybe they sent an entire novel out in a series of text messages.

Yes, I completely understand that different publishing decisions have an impact on what happens to a book. There are a lot of sharks out there who are eager to help a writer publish for a fee. There are lots of small presses who don't sell more than a hundred copies from their catalog in a year. There are a lot of dead ends, short roads and winding paths in the world of publishing. Who the *$&% cares which option an author chooses? At least they chose something. They made the effort, and they are either happy with the result or not. It is not up to other people to judge.

Look. Here is the bottom line for me. People talk about writing books. They might jot down notes once in a great while. But the overwhelming percentage of people who think writing a book sounds like a great idea, DON'T WRITE A BOOK.

If you, or someone like you, happens to have found a way to fight through months/years of writer's block, family demands, eye rolls and chuckles at the coffee shop long enough to write "The End" and then get a cover around those pages, Kudos to you. It doesn't matter how you get your book into reader's hands. What matters is that you had an idea, tended to it until it grew into a complete story, and then were brave enough to put it in front of readers. Maybe the only person who reads your story is your spouse, maybe it's a million people following the New York Times book lists. It doesn't matter to me if you dispense your work on foot or on the top shelf of your local bookstore.

You did it. I did it. We did it our own way, and screw anyone who poo-poo's the effort.

/end rant. Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments below.

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