Sunday, May 18, 2014


I came across this post from Hugh Howey recently.  For those who don't want to follow the link, I'll summarize - Hugh went to an event for writers recently where the writers were segregated into two groups.  One ballroom held those who've gone the traditional publishing route, while the other(described by Hugh as "dinky") held self-published writers.

On the surface, this sounds like a classic case of traditional publishing's pretension.  To me, however, beyond the fact that traditional publishers put on the event - thus making it reasonable they'd push their brand over indie writers - is the fact of indie writers needing to understand that we're never going to be accepted by the traditional world.  They honestly do view themselves as better since their work has been validated by an agent and a "real" publisher, and they won't accept indie folks unless/until that work has been sold to a traditional house and the writer in question has gone over to their side.  I don't think any of that should be the issue.

The real issue should be whether or not we should care.

Ask yourself why you're in the business.  Are you writing books so you can be accepted by agents and editors in New York?  If you are, then you need to find a way to schmooze up to those people.  However, I went into writing in order to tell my stories to the public, and, hopefully, make a little money.  I wanted the freedom to say what I had to and sink or swim on my own.  If I make it, that's great, but my definition of making it doesn't include getting the approval of the traditional world.

We have to be okay with the fact that the traditional publishing world sees us as its dimwitted younger cousin, the one they're embarrassed to be seen with in public, so they pretend we don't exist.  Just know that they live in a dying industry that is being overwhelmed by technology and new blood, the same way you looked at that wrinkled old patronizing relative you had as a kid and knew they'd be decomposing soon enough.

Until we accept that we can't care about what the so-called elites think of us, we'll never succeed in anyone's eyes, even our own.

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