I know the economy sucks right now. I know people are worried about jobs and bills and their future. I am too. Sadly, this attitude seems to be spilling out into the internet – not unusual, people often choose the internet because it feels anonymous. However, you know what? I don’t care if it’s the internet – you still need to own your words and to own the PREDICTIBLE outcome of your actions.
There’s a lot of smack talking from authors about other authors and publishers online. I wish authors would own what they say. If you get on your blog and talk shit about your publisher or readers, it’s going to get you lots of hits, but also, you’re going to come off as unprofessional and bitter. And when you get caught, for the love of Pete, just own it! Do not backpedal and deny the obvious. You said what you said, thinking you were a big dog, when you get confronted, just own it. Better yet, think before you type. You can deal with issues in a non-confortontational manner or you can call people out. But if you call people out, eventually someone with bigger britches than you is gonna call you out right back and then what?
And authors, when you go on blogs and loops and participate in reader discussions about books and you’re negative? Do you think people don’t notice? I notice. Other authors notice. Look, there are ways to discuss books, books you like and books you don’t like, but when you choose to participate in a discussion that is overwhelmingly negative there will be a PREDICTIBLE outcome. People will be turned off and frankly, eventually the tide will turn and you’re going to be holding a tiger by the tail.
Readers can discuss things in ways authors can’t in public. For a whole host of reasons. Deal with that. Or don’t. But other authors are my colleagues. Even ones I can’t stand. And listen, there are books I LOATHE and authors I loathe too. So you know, I might talk to megan about it, or my other friends in private, but what do I gain by slagging them off on a blog? It’s not the “behind the back” thing, it’s the private thing. Readers don’t need to see authors acting like asshats online.
Also, I straddle between NY and epublishing. If I hear one more time that NY is “jealous” of epublishing, I’m going to get my shovel out. They’re not. RWA national isn’t “out to get” small published authors. The way the RITAs are run is not about shoving anyone out of the club. IMO, it’s about ignorance of any other model than the traditional one. And truly, I highly doubt those NYT bestsellers even have small pubs on their radar, much less having some master plan to run them out of town on a rail. Frankly, every time I hear an author say “X” is just jealous of “us” it makes me cringe with embarassment. It’s silly and juvenile.
The “us v them” paradigm is a false one. It is not NY v Epublishing, RWA v EPIC, RT v MM authors, erotic v sweet, etc. This paradigm is a waste of time and energy. It misdirects us from what is truly important and ties us up with petty, junior high squabbling.
We write romance. To spend our time tearing each other down and creating false dichotomies is counter productive. We’re professionals. Romance is our business. We should act like businesspeople and not like we’re hanging out in the bathroom at George washington Junior high.
We need to stop it. Can we demand high standards from ourselves? Hell yes. Can we discuss and disagree without flame wars? Yes. Women can disagree and we don’t need anyone who is conflict averse to run in with cute, pithy sayings to derail things. Men don’t do this. We are capable of building worlds, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t discuss without tearing down.
At the same time, we can use the judgment button in our heads, the common sense one and choose not to pile on either. Because while you think it makes you look clever, you just look petty.