I’ve started to write five different entries today but deleted them all. Damn filters. Sigh.
In general – a letter from a president of a professional organization that contains the phrase, “Who told you life was fair” will always sound condescending. Why? Because it is condescending. Clue: You’re not my mother and I’m not nine years old. I’m also not paying my mother dues (although she claims she’s paid hers). For the record – I happen to be a career focused romance writer. You can ask most people who know me, I’m very careful about the choices I make, about where and what I write and when. My career is extremely important to me so don’t waste my time with “who told you life was fair.” If you ask for feedback from people and you actually get it, well, that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? Or was the point that you only wanted to hear what supported your particular perspective. If so, perhaps it would be more accurate to call for “feedback on proposed rule changes that conforms with my perspectives” because well, life isn’t always fair, as you so correctly point out and not everyone is going to agree with us. So feh.
Something else and as a matter of FYIage, this is not actually related to the above point but something else I read earlier today – epublishing. I love epublishing. Or at the very least, the epublishers I write for. If there’s interest I’d be happy to talk about my experiences – positive and negative. Got a question – ask it and I’ll do my best to answer it.
Epublishing gave me my start. Ellora’s Cave took a chance on me and helped me build a career. Samhain contracted a book in a totally new genre for me and has been amazingly supportive of me an an author. My editor Ann Leveille has made me a better writer each time I’ve gone through edits. The same goes for Angie James, my editor at Samhain. And yes, I do go through edits and I don’t know any authors who haven’t done edits at an epublisher. As to whether or not they’re the hardest edits I’ll ever do, I can’t say. I’ve got a lot of books left in me so who knows what will come down the road? In any case, every book has its own challenges.
My epublished books are, in fact, real books. I work hard on them and I put as much effort into their writing as I do the books aimed at New York. In turn, what I write for New York is just as good as what I write for epublishing. I’m not “too edgy” for New York. When I get rejected it’s not because “New York isn’t ready for me” or whatever. (clearly it’s because they don’t recognize my brilliance)
I want to resist the us v them mentality (and in a way, that is related to my first point). I’ve seen a lot of defensiveness from epublished authors and I understand why. I do. But it’s not necessary. In the first place, the only person whose opinion matters is the one who looks back at me when I’m brushing my teeth (this morning with this new toothpaste with green tea that sucked big time but I digress). Do I know I’m doing the best job I can? After that, do my editors think so? Do my readers think so? Does it matter to me what someone else who doesn’t know me or what epublishing entails thinks of me? Not a bit. Well unless it affects me professionally, and that’s a reality sometimes, but still, as a human being you can only control so much. You can’t control the fact that “I’ll get to it soon” doesn’t actually mean the same thing in publishing that it means in a restaurant or in your daily life. You can’t control the petty ignorance that allows some people to make themselves feel better at your expense by belitting your publisher, genre, mode of publication, age, dress size, etc. You can’t and you know what? It’s not worth the time anyway.
I want, as a professional seeking to advance my career, to expand my base. To write for more places and reach more readers. Hell yes I want to sell to New York! Yes, I want my books at the Top Foods (by the way, I LOVE it when I see my fellow authors there like Lisa Renee Jones’ fab new Blaze for instance). There’s a kind of distribution I will have when my Spice book comes out that I don’t have now. That’s a fact. The only value judgements about that fact are those I let anyone else imbue upon it. It will reach more people in many countries. It will be an audio book and it will be translated into several other languages. That’s freaking cool and I love it.
Does that mean I reject epublishing? Not at all. I love Samhain and EC and I love the ability to write with more freedom. Because I’ve earned it. By that I mean, they took a chance because in fact, they have the ability to take more chances on unknown authors. I ran with it and I’ve been blessed with a nice bit of success and because I have a track record, I can have the freedom to push the envelope. I treasure that. That isn’t to say New York doesn’t offer the chance to push the envelope – but they have financial and other constraints which make the wheels turn slower and it takes longer to make a track record. Again, a fact and the only value judgements are those we give ourselves.
I’m sick to death of watching this sort of west side story situation. WE ARE ALL ROMANCE AUTHORS. Our strength is in our diversity. That’s also a fact. Give it whatever value judgements you wish.
August 8th, 2007 at 4:23 pm · Link
I’m NOT a romance writer, but I’m with you in the us versus them mentality where print publishers versus e-publishers are concerned.
There’s room for all of you publishing folks. Stop fighting and play nice — you might find out there’s more room than you realized.
August 8th, 2007 at 6:01 pm · Link
Ah. Read the new RWR, then?
Everybody’s career is individual, what’s right for one person is wrong for another, and that’s true in both epublishing AND traditional publishing. And the same thing can be right for a person at one time and wrong at another, because things change and goals change.
Really, what we all need are tools and accurate information to make informed decisions for ourselves. And not compare our careers to anybody else’s.
August 8th, 2007 at 8:12 pm · Link
Yep, read that post, too, Lauren.
I’ve been peeved for a couple of days now and I’m getting tired. Honestly, I pick my fights and the RWR one is the hill I choose to die on. I only wish that what I say would make any difference.
When people outside the industry say things because they don’t know any better, I get all excited because it’s an opportunity to inform them. When people inside the industry say things out of sheer bloody-minded stupidity, I usually keep my mouth shut because everyone’s entitled to their opinion. No matter what I say about them in my head. 👿
But this one just grated me raw. She asked for opinions and then got huffy when they weren’t the ones she liked.
*sigh* Sorry. Didn’t mean to hijack your comments section, but I really enjoyed your post. Hoping to follow in your footsteps, too.
Now if I only I could finish writing the damn book! 😉
August 9th, 2007 at 5:50 am · Link
That post in RWR has grated on me since I read it. It rubbed the wrong way.
We are all in this together. I wish some people would figure that out.
August 9th, 2007 at 6:35 am · Link
We’re all writers trying to build a successful career. And those of us who write for e-publishers work just as hard, if not harder, than those with New York Publishers.
There is no need for one group to be disparaging the other. We’re all romance writers and the rest of the literary world is only to ready to do it for us.
August 9th, 2007 at 10:02 am · Link
I don’t understand why is there this constant pitting of writers against each other as if you have chose sides. Confused reader looking from the outside.
August 9th, 2007 at 11:49 am · Link
Hmmm, I didn’t read it. I think the maid thew it away, actually. She cleans my desk for me if I let it get too cluttered, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad if I had stuff piled in a particularly cunning way.
August 9th, 2007 at 4:41 pm · Link
Dear confused reader from the outside–you are the only one who counts. Okay, the writers and publishers count too, but if you find a writer you adore, like LD here, you don’t give a dang what organizations she belongs to, that’s my guess. She writes good books, whether the cover says Spice or Samhain or Ellora’s Cave. You don’t need to pay attention to the rest, and I’m beginning to think the rest of us should give it less emphasis. As usual, a great post Lauren.
August 9th, 2007 at 5:08 pm · Link
Susan – it’s useless to fight with each other. It gains us nothing.
Charli – Exactly.
Sela – you didn’t hijack – that’s on point. I suppose that’s where my main point of annoyance was. The letter started out consescending and it only got worse. It’s laden with assumptions and well, you know what they say about assumptions.
Mechele – well yes.
NJ – yep, a total waste of energy
Christine – I don’t think the majority of authors do. But then things happen and people begin to feel defensive and lash out but it doesn’t help to do that.
Ann – you didn’t miss much
Ciar – you make me blush!