Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

Over the past eight months or so, my view of agents has changed considerably.  I've gone from hoping to impress an agent when I first began this journey - believing that to be the only path to success as a writer - to now wondering how they still have jobs in the new era of indie publishing and print on demand.  And as I've gotten more into the new way of looking at things, my distaste for some agents has grown, mostly because they come across as elites who look down their noses at those not part of the country club.

Something I ran across recently has only reinforced that.  Agent Rachelle Gardner has always gotten rave reviews from her clients.  She's been seen as helpful, friendly, and always looking out for their best interests.  Even so, she still had a barely concealed sneer in her work when discussing self publishing.  I wrote it off since I had moved from the path of wanting to go traditional and more along the path of indie publishing. However, this post from her caught my eye.

Here's the key quote:  "I’m excited to join the ranks of self-published authors, so that I can truly know what it’s like on BOTH sides of this publishing world!"

I want to be happy that she is coming into this on her own terms, but part of it truly rubs me raw(if I'm to be honest).  Ms. Gardner, like a lot of other agents, has never given much credence to self publishing, yet now she is doing just that.  My first thought was, "Couldn't she find a traditional publisher for her work?"

The comments section is a mish mash of the usual "Gee, you're so great.  Please think well of me so maybe I can land you as my agent one day," but it was the point of someone in the traditional world, someone who has always advocated the traditional path, now going to indie that made me wonder if the world had truly turned upside down.

I know I shouldn't feel this way.  I should be happy that someone so accomplished has recognized that there is value in the indie world.  However, it's not like she's decided to stop pursuing traditional publishing, nor has she said anything about her barely concealed disdain regarding self publishing in the past.  It almost smacks of, "I'll show everyone just how easy it is, and maybe I'll make some money on the side."

Despite my argumentative personality, there truly isn't much in this world that will set me off at heart.  However, intellectual consistency is one of those things that will do it.  If you've always been on the path of "unemployment checks are for losers," then don't accept them when you get fired.  If you've always been big on "paying taxes is a patriotic duty," then stop trying to squeeze every deduction you can.  When you have a path, stick to that path.  In other words, be consistent with it.  Go down the road you advocate for others with gusto and passion, but don't then choose something else just because it suits you in the moment.  It'd be one thing if Ms. Gardner had seen the light on indie publishing and decided she was done with traditional publishing, but it's her continued adherence to the traditional world while self publishing that irritates me the most.

Yes, this is an immature reaction to someone who is probably a great person, and I'm using her as a vehicle to vent my frustration at all agents/elites who've looked down their noses at the masses.  I won't pretend this is in any way rational or an adult thing to do.  I just get tired of the "Do as I say, not as I do" motif.  I'll be back to sunshine and unicorns on the next post, but I'm going to continue to fume for now.

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