Every time I say I’m not going to do something on this blog, events conspire to force me into doing that which was denied. Namely, updating the blog…
In other words, Sarah Hoyt has once again posted a couple of essays that are just screaming to be shared. If you’re like me and are just now wading into the e-pub universe, they’re especially worthwhile.
Until recently, if you wanted to be read by the largest number of people, the path was easy. First, you had to impress the gatekeepers. Fortunately the gatekeepers were a small clique living mostly in NYC and all attending the same parties and reading the same books or – more likely – watching the same movies. And they weren’t shy with their opinions, either. They talked all the time, because you see, living in an echo chamber, they viewed their tastes and opinion as symbols of their status and intelligence. So, attend one or two conventions, and you could psyche them.
Failing that, there were slews of books, seminars and workshops that taught you how to think the way they did, for the purpose of creating stories they’d love.
Finally, from We Band of Writers:
Of course, editors and publishers couldn’t have you killed and all your wealth confiscated, but they could block you from publishing, which for a lot of writers is worse than death, and make sure no one saw your books, ever.
And while some of the books that made it to the top were good, no one who saw how the sausage factory worked on the other side, can have the slightest belief that these workings are in fact even vaguely “fair” or that traditional publishing is in any way a meritocracy.
In fact it was more like a “Meritrocracy” in which we meretriciously tried to ingratiate ourselves with the powers at the top, who could make or break our career even while resenting their power and often insane decisions.
Which fully explains the bad taste left in my mouth after over a year of querying. Yuck. I finally gave up on that path after an otherwise reputable agency that was interested in my work decided to follow the crowd and open their own e-pub “imprint”. I subsequently decided they didn’t need to see the manuscript revisions they’d asked for, if they can’t get the whole “conflict of interest” concept.
No way to know yet if that was the right decision, but it certainly feels better to actually be doing something on my own terms. Call me a control freak, but that’s business.
Which is what this is, by the way. What, ya’ll thought I was doing this for fun?
Okay, well, that too…