by Carol Burnside
These days authors finally have choices. We’re no longer worshiping at the feet of giant conglomerate publishing houses and many of us have little to no need for an agent. We can diversify our career by selling to a traditional publisher, a small house, a digital first publisher, e-only publisher or we can publish our own work in as professional a manner as most publishers in both e-book and print. Sometimes more so. And we are able to negotiate contract clauses like never before.
With all these choices, I’m worried the exhilaration of freedom has caused some authors to become arrogant. Over the last few months, I’ve seen authors dissing others because they still choose to go the traditional route of agent and submitting to publishers. I’ve seen traditionally published authors still being a little snooty towards the self-published. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes not so much, but recently I was on a popular social media site, checking some posts within a group and came across a post that had me gasping at the outright rudeness and audacity of the comment contents.
**If any of this rings a bell, please don’t mention the site or anyone involved. I don’t personally know anyone who posted a comment, but here’s how it went . . .**
A person I’m not familiar with had posted that her book had been accepted for “normal” publication by Createspace. While I thought the terminology was a little strange, I scrolled down, expecting a chorus of congratulatory comments. Ho! First one out of the shoot demanded to know what she meant by “normal.” Never mind that this woman–whether through hiring it done or doing it herself, which is no small feat either way– had published her book in print form.
I scrolled down farther.
Occasionally, I found a comment that contained the word “congrats” or “congratulations,” but often it came with a “but anyone can do that” type comment.
Implication: It’s no big deal.
Others told her that everyone’s book got accepted unless there was a glitch in their manuscript, but that could be fixed and then it would be accepted.
Implication: You’re not special.
The author of the thread clarified that “normal” meant “in print,” and I could tell from her post that English probably wasn’t her first language. One would think the comments below that would contain a little more understanding. Well, think again.
Some chimed in to speak to others, ignoring her original post and comment, which is rude, and talking about their experiences uploading and such, even mentioning they’d done it many times now. Others posted questions that had nothing to do with her announcement, creating a separate conversation within her post/thread.
Implication: See? Your one little book really is no big deal. Not even worth our notice.
I felt like saying, “Really, people? Really?” but I simply congratulated her and wished her success. In all fairness, I should probably acknowledge that this was not a romance writer’s site, but a general writing list. Overall, most romance writers are, IMO, more supportive and tactful. I just hope that this case of author’s behaving badly isn’t a trend.
It would serve us all to remember that just as the tide is changing toward the perception of the self-published novel and away from the absolute need for a publisher, that trend could reverse one day. Diversity is needed for the publishing industry to be healthy and flourish.
Have you encountered similar situations or just the opposite?
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Carol Burnside is the award winning author of the Sweetwater Springs series and other works.Today is the last day her novel, A Suitable Wife, can be purchased for 1/2 price at the following venues:
All Romance : http://tinyurl.com/ASW-Are formats avail: PDF, ePub, .mobi
Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/SW-ASW (use code FM83B at checkout)
formats: epub, mobi, pdf, lrf, pdb