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.