(Gonna rant here. Consider yourself forewarned.)
The book’s not even out yet and it’s already begun.
The remarks. The innuendo. The exclusions.
“You can’t be a real writer if you’re self-published.”
(Published or not, real writers WRITE. It’s the name of the game. If you manage to get paid for it as well, that’s a bonus, but the fact remains that writers write.)
“If you were any good, a real agent/publisher would want you.”
(Oh? There are plenty of writers out there — hell, plenty of artists of every stripe — who bust their humps trying to get noticed. There are a lot of good people who have gotten attention, yes, but don’t fool yourselves into thinking that all of them do. There are limited resources and — seemingly — an unlimited amount of competition. So what’s a person to do? Let the work die? If you’re an artist of any sort, you know that’s impossible. Do that, and a part of your soul will die right along with it.)
“Do you realize how lucky you’ are? Most people never get published at all. Many who do don’t get published more than once. What makes you think you deserve it?”
(I know I’m lucky, but I’m also greedy. I want more. I’m a storyteller, pure and simple. I want my words out there for people to read and think about and discuss. Do I deserve it? Damn straight I do! That’s not ego talking; I’m definitely not overburdened by self-confidence. But I’m a good writer, that I do know. Maybe not the best there ever was, but certainly not the worst. The things strangers have passed along to me after having read one of my stories, the ways in which I’ve touched them and moved them, tell me that. SOMEONE has to believe in me. Know what? It better be ME.)
“I’m sorry. I don’t review self-published books.”
(Doesn’t do me a lick of good to stress that my prior work was published in the standard manner. THIS work was not and that’s all that matters. Still . . . I understand where this is coming from and it’s a legitimate complaint. I can’t fault the reviewers. An awful lot of self-published work stinks like dead fish at low tide.)
And that’s what really pisses me off — the self-published writers who don’t give a rat’s ass about the craft, they just get off on seeing their name in print, on being able to say “I wrote a book.”
You bastards give the rest of us a bad name. There are good solid writers out here struggling to have their voices heard and your lack of interest in being a craftsperson, in learning basic sentence structure or narrative form, serves to raise the tide against them.
(True Story: I was at a meeting of a local writers group when an older gentleman was being touted for finally self-publishing his book. During the coffee break, I went over to congratulate him and he gleefully said, “And starting tomorrow I begin editing!”
What? I wasn’t sure I’d heard him right and I definitely didn’t understood. “You mean you didn’t edit it before you published it?”
“Well, yeah,” he said in an off-hand way. “But there’s a bunch of errors I need to re-edit.”)
You see why I’m crazy?
Why did that man chose to not fully edit the first time around? Why did he not do draft after draft after draft? Why did he not make sure the manuscript was as close to perfect as he could make it before he spent the money to have it published?
Because he doesn’t care.
Writing is hard work and serious writers work hard at what they do. To have the craft of writing belittled in such a way is not just an insult to the work, but to your audience and to other writers.
Give a damn, people! A writer’s job is to care about the work. The craft demands tears and blood; sweat and sleepless nights. It demands commitment.
It is a holy chore.