Monday, January 2, 2012

Negativity Hurts All Of Us

by Darke Conteur

Please excuse me if this sounds like a rant, but it's something that's been bothering me.

I don't know if it was the time of year, or all that pent up frustration of dealing with a publishing industry that, at first glance, didn't seem to want to embrace the digital media, but there was a growing negative atmosphere tainting the writing community in 2011, and it spread like wildfire.

For years, publishers and agents held the 'Golden Key' to a writing career, and if you wanted one, you had to go through them. Now that there are viable options and the words 'self-published' don't have the same stigma they did five years ago, more and more authors are choosing to follow a different route, and that's fine, but each writer's career path is different and no one has a free pass to crap all over the either system, old or new. Be warned, the internet has a very long memory. Just because you delete your harsh comment doesn't mean it's gone forever.

The most disturbing comments I hear are people waiting—wishing for the Big Six to go under, and take those 'blood-sucking agents' with them. Okay I may be exaggerating on the whole 'blood-sucking agents' part, but I can't believe that people would honestly want to see other people out of work, especially in this economy. Sure, if one of the Big Six went under those at the top would probably survive, but all those UNDER them, would be out of work also. You shut down a workplace, and everyone from the mailroom people to assistants, interns (even though interns aren't paid), lose their jobs too. If Traditional Publishing is on its last legs as everyone claims, who will hire all those underlings? What about the authors? Especially those who just got a contract with said publisher? They're left in limbo or worse—a book published 'dead'. What if that was you? How would you feel? You've just had your dreams realized, only to be crushed. Would you really wish that on someone else?

Don’t think traditionally published authors aren't part of this negativity either. They're not as vocal, but I've heard a few new writers upset over nasty comments aimed their way because they self-published. Sometimes they're called lazy, or their books are called crap. Sure, maybe they need to hone their craft, but we should be helping each other, not cutting one another down.

My wish for 2012 is for all the bickering to stop. We're all in this together, negativity only pulls us apart.

23 comments:

Paul Carroll said...

I'd like to see the balance of traditional publishing and indie publishing: there's no reason people can't pursue both paths. Wishing for the downfall of one of the other is totally uncalled-for, even without considering the jobs lost in the matter. Are we that keen to smash down the new and innovative? Or, equally, that keen to destory part of our history and culture? People speak too quickly and get trapped by their own words.

JeffO said...

Well said, thank you.

Karen Walker said...

Wow, a breathe of fresh air and truth. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. I am so with you on this.
Karen

Darke Conteur said...

Thank you for your comments. I was unsure if I should post this. I thought it would come off looking like a rant, but I felt it had to be said. :)

Amanda_Corlies said...

Wow! Yes, well said and sadly needed. I hope people will be kinder to one and other in the coming year, and, at the very least, try to see things trough another's perspective more often. Thanks for posting this.

Richard said...

Wanting to see others fail or perish is a selfish way of seeing things. And selfishness tends to destroy the one who is selfish. There's room for both indies and the big six. It'll just take time for everything to shake out.

marlenedotterer said...

You are so right. I do think we'll reach a balance eventually, between traditional and independent publishing. Right now, the pendulum is swinging, so things are a bit extreme, but it will settle down.

Christopher Hudson said...

Actually, I no idea was such a dust-up ... I knew things were a'changin', but don't they always?

Darke Conteur said...

@ Richard - I completly agree. :)

@ Marlene - I think it's because SP took off in such a big way. I don't think anyone could have predicted it. Things will balance out, but I have a feeling some of this negativity will linger for a while.

@ Christopher - I've seen it for a while. It ruined a forum I used to partake on. It got to the point no one could/would see the other's POV, and I left. I know other people who did too.

Jemi Fraser said...

Good post, Darke. I don't get all the negativity either. Life is too short and too precious to waste it :)

M Pax said...

Well said. I've read a lot of traditionally published stuff that's crap, too. The only difference is who's doing the publishing honestly.

We need to respect each other's decisions about how we end up publishing. And we need to respect each other. No matter what, every author pours a lot of work into their stories.

And we'll all improve over time.

Kelsey Jordan said...

It did need to be said and thank you for doing so. To me publishing is a scary journey and making the decision to publish whether it be traditional or self is a scary endeavor and each choice should be equally applauded.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I don't understand how a community that can be so friendly online can wish for the failure or downfall of anyone else in the community. I love that there are options for people who want to share their writing. I think it's good all around.

Darke Conteur said...

Thank you all for your comments. Now that this is out in the open, maybe the negativity will stop, or at least, be called out.

A happy and prosperous New Year to all of you. :)

Elana Johnson said...

Amen!

DeniseCovey_L'Aussie said...

It's a watershed in the publishing industry. A lot of confusion and uncertainty leads to negativity at times. Hopefully it will settle as the industry finds its way.

Happy New Year!

Denise

About Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Things are changing and the positive is that writers are more empowered. And, this will encourage change in the industry. I think it will all be positive in the end. Agents are not ogres - I had a wonderful agent and you know what, she is a real human being, and a lovely one! There is room for us all and more choices. I decided to self-publish and I'm very proud of my book and my accomplishment. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I would also work with an agent and a tradtitional publisher given the right circumstances. I like the idea that there are many options. Thank you for writing this post - we can all choose our paths without denigrating others or their choices.

tammywrites said...

I think there will always be room for both, it's a changing world and change is always hard for people. I have no bias, the fact someone has something 'out there' in whatever form impresses me enough. :)

Camille Gooderham Campbell said...

Excellent post. Of course there is room for both large publishers and self-publishers, and all kinds of small pubs and writers' cooperatives and any other kind of venture one can imagine. Sadly, as you say, it seems that many of those who've embraced one particular model seem to be ill-wishing everyone else's choices, possibly in the belief that the failure of others will increase their share of the pie. You're a star for supporting the idea that there are a multitude of options, and I share your wish for harmony in 2012.

Matt Sinclair said...

Although I'm not always successful, I try to apply this rule to my comments online: "If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it."

I'll say this: Well done, Darke!

Suzanne Payne said...

I'm just now getting a chance to read this. I'm like you...we're all in this together. Supporting is way better than tearing down.

E.B. Black said...

I remember reading a book reviewer say that he couldn't stand self-published books and would never read one again because they obviously didn't know how to proofread. This bothered me because I know that I am not perfectly and probably leave tons of mistakes behind no matter how much I proofread and also because it felt extremely disrespectful to insult someone who worked so hard to write a novel (it's not an easy task) and to be exhausted by the idea of reading it. I am not going to self-publish, but I still don't approve of what was said. There's no reason to stereotype or belittle someone.

Leslie Rose said...

Well said. Negativity is a waste of oxygen.