Monday, February 10, 2014

The Current Writer Rampage Against Indie Publishing

There's been a lot of commentary from various folks in the publishing industry about how detrimental indie publishing is to the industry as a whole.

Over the last couple of weeks, we've heard from Steve Zacharius, CEO of Kensington Publishing; Robert Gottlieb, Chairman of Trident Media Group; and Donald Maass of The Donald Maass Literary Agency. It makes sense these folks will whine because indie writers are cutting into their bottom line. Submissions are down, and the ones coming in aren't of the usual quality. Not to mention, writers already signed to these people are leaving in droves.

But it's the writers that decry the "tsunami of swill" or the latest term, "the shit volcano," that makes me sad. What's even more sad is when these writers post these diatribes, they often close comments when other writers defend what they feel is an attack on them.

Here's the thing: these people, like Chuck and Suw, assume they don't write shit. Why? Because they were chosen by the establishment before the changes to distribution changed the game.

That's right. They feel they are the Chosen Ones.

Therefore, they could not possibly write shit.

And everyone else must because they weren't chosen.

When someone like me publishes, someone who wasn't chosen, it creates cognitive dissonance in those who believe they are chosen. Quite simply, they can't deal with the stress of two, in this case allegedly, contradictory realities, and so they lash out, even though they claim to support indie publishing and may even indie publish themselves.

It goes back to what I've said before. The playing field is no longer a step pyramid, but a level plane.

Sad to say, it's not just an attitude from total strangers. Many of my traditionally published friends, who read my work prior to February of 2011, told me they didn't understand why I hadn't attracted an agent, why an editor who'd asked for a full had turned me down. These same people then told me I was giving up, I was lazy, I was cheating by indie publishing when I made my announcement. So, which version of what these writers friends told me was the truth and which was the lie concerning the quality of my writing?

As I've said before, once you get beyond the basics of craft (which a writer should ALWAYS master before trying to publish by ANY method), the concept of shit is totally relative. For example, some folks inhale romance while others equate with eating cow anuses. And frankly, the folks that hate it DON'T MATTER.

What we writers like means almost nothing to readers. They like what they like. They buy what they buy. Writers criticizing each other for paths taken/not taken means nothing to them. If a story really is shit, the readers won't buy it.

So what are the chosen writers truly worried about? That some reader will pay for my unchosen book and not theirs.

Readers just want a good story. They won't even see the so-called shit. It's really that simple.


  1. On the attitude of your trad-pub friends, IMO it's because they saw you reaching up, which they understood, and then settling for a lower place, which they don't understand. It's the same reason men who act feminine get more shit than women who act masculine. Traditional thinking men might hate a woman who tries to move in on their territory -- reaching UP for a place that isn't hers -- but they can understand why she'd want to. A man who acts feminine, though -- he's voluntarily moving DOWN. Nobody who supports the traditional system understands that. It's confusing. He's dissing the higher status by rejecting it, which makes his fellow men angry.

    Your trad-pub friends get why you wanted to be trad-pubbed back when. But by turning your back on it now, you're dissing it, rejecting it rather than keep trying for it. That confuses them, maybe makes them a bit angry. It's a status thing -- you're questioning the system that gave them their higher status, which they see as an insult. :P


  2. Yep, Angie, it's not just turning my back on trad publishing; they feel I'm turning my back on THEM. IOW, taking a business decision way too personally.

    That's the reason I started using the lying metaphor. It's made a couple of people stop and think, but the majority stomp off in a huff..

    The funny thing is how many of them follow this blog, my Twitter and my FB. As if they're waiting for some big crash and burn. It had to drive them insane when I signed the anthology deal last year. LOL