Sunday, June 12, 2016

We All Want Some Love

One of my favorite shows on TV is Supernatural.  During the 8th season’s finale, one of the most poignant moments came when one of the lead characters, Sam, was trying to cure the lead demon, Crowley, of being a demon.  Crowley was slowly getting his humanity back when he screamed out, “I deserve to be loved!”

That moment got me thinking about writers and our zeal to get noticed by people in the industry, whether it be publishers or agents.  I think that no matter how successful we may eventually become, we all want to be loved.

I think this drives a lot of folks to run into the arms of traditional publishing.  We tend to think of that crowd as the authorities on what’s good and what’s not.  We can sell a million copies, but having someone official notice us validates our life in some way.  Should we think like that?  No, but it exists, and there’s a sense of not quite belonging if we can’t get an agent or publisher to like us.  I would love to live in a world where we could ignore this longing, but I’d also like to have a billion dollars, and that ain’t happening anytime soon either.

I’ve even found myself perusing the agent listings from time to time, even though I’ve committed myself to going the indie route.  So why do I bother?  Because there’s still that tiny voice in the back of my head that wants to be liked by an authority figure of some kind.  I’m not saying it’s right or healthy, but it’d be dishonest to deny it exists.

To me, this is one of the things that keeps the traditional industry alive.  Aside from people being skittish over going it by themselves, many want a stamp of approval.  I know a writer who has never been published but who feels that he’s awesome because an agent picked him up.  When I ask him about this disparity, he responds with, "My agent tells me I have potential."  This is ludicrous – I’ve read his work, and it’d be great if he ever got it out in the indie world.  But his agent tells him he can do it in the traditional world, so despite more than five years of nothing being published, he continues to stick with her.

Maybe approval is overrated.  Still, it exists.  Overcoming it is where we stumble.

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