Saturday 27 October 2012
I make no secret of the fact that I, unlike a number of writer-types that I communicate with online, am not a published author. In my study there are no boxes of self-published novels waiting to be sold and posted out to potential adoring fans. I do not have an author profile on any online sales forum in order to sell my wares. I am not agented, repped, or managed by a literary agency. Nor am I blessed with the miracle of having been signed by a traditional major publishing house that will have my work published, promoted, marketed and whored out to all those influential literary critics. I don’t even rate on the scale of being picked up by a small independent publishing house. No, I’m simple, unsophisticated . . . undercooked in the literary world. All I have is my lil blog.
Yes, I’ve matured enough to move on from calling it my ‘bloggy thing’, although many I know still refer to my public collection of writing in that manner. But no, I’m still not published and nor have I set out on the road to self-publication, e-books and the like. However, does the fact that I am unpublished diminish me as a writer? Does it make me a fraud if I refer to myself as a writer when I have no works in print other than my blog and the manuscripts that I have in my writing box? In my mind, the answer to both of those questions is no.
Not everyone though would agree with me, and fair enough, each to their own. I certainly do not begrudge anyone their opinion. What I take offense to, what I find . . . objectionable is when writers who do self-publish, or who have been picked up by independent publishing houses patronise me, behave in a condescending manner towards me, peer down their noses at me, all because I am unpublished. Yes, I’m being rather specific, aren’t I? Angling this at indie writers, self-published authors? And I’m sure that more than one of these folks is spouting something about the green-eyed monster, blah, blah, blah.
In truth, God’s honest truth, I put my hand on my heart and swear that this is not borne out of jealousy. Some of those people are saying, ‘Suuuuure. See? She had to mention that so that people think she’s not jealous.’ Really, I’m not. In my opinion, each writer has their own path to travel, and kids, I’m still at the beginning of mine, and I intend to travel it at my own pace. I am content with where I am and, dare I revert to overused statements, I’m honing my storytelling skills, refining my writing, finding my niche. It’s not my time to publish – yet.
I’ve met a number of authors who have signed deals with major publishing houses, who are New York Times best-selling authors, really impressive writers who’d have every reason under the sun to be up themselves. But they’re not. They’re helpful, giving of their time, happy to discuss the finer points of writing and publishing with the ‘little people’, the readers, other writers, and all of this is done without an ounce of conceit. They don’t request of their readers, via Social Media, to RT their tweets, or ‘like’ their FB page, or add them to circles on G+. Yes, they do send out links to their websites, interviews, TV appearances, panel appearances, literary conventions, etc. But they never expect, nay demand of their readers to act on their behalf. They are genuinely humble, modest, and appreciative of reader loyalty and support.
I may be travelling in the wrong circles, but I have seen very little of this from self-published, indie folks. I’m in no way implying that all indie writers are, y’know, crappy. Absolutely not. There are some wonderful and supportive authors out there, and I have quite a number of them across my accounts. They are out there, and they do exist. I’d simply like there to be more of them around, and less of the others who seem to think if a writer isn’t published then they’re not worth giving time and attention to.
I’d like to know: how many of the self-published and indie authors who expect me to support them by tweeting links, liking FB posts and pages, and pimping their work actually bother to stop by my lil ol’ blog? I’ll bet there’s not many. I know that very few bother to RT my links, or ‘like’ my FB posts. And I’ll also bet that time will be the proffered excuse. I don’t buy it. If you have enough time to tweet, Facebook, G+, and whatever else me, you have enough time to check out what I write.
Does this bother me? I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. Well, it used to bother me, but not any more. I now choose not to waste my time on their work. Instead, I choose to read the work of those who are supportive of my writing. It’s not rocket science.
So, be nice to people on your way up because you’ll need them on your way down – so goes the cliché. And the unpublished author you disregard might one day be the best-selling author than kicks your a$$ – that one, I made up. 😉