Last week I had participated in another grueling message board conversation about a successfully published commercial author putting down self publishing. Said author did not, in a recent interview, give any real concrete arguments against it. She merely said, “DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH.” Yes, just like that. In all caps.
Needless to say, it offended a bunch of indie authors at this board (as should be expected.) A 10 page long rant ensued. Arguments ensued. Feelings already hurt became trampled on. Insults were hurled about. Nasty comments were made. And, when the dust cleared we all realized it was (as someone else put it) a “knee-jerk reaction” and a little “silly” in retrospect.
So why am I bringing this issue here to my harmless little blog, in which I’ve somewhat refrained from my “pro indie” rants?
1) I’ve decided to NOT let it get to me anymore. People are going to say what they want, even people who should know better…
This commercial author doesn’t know me, I doubt she’s even read my books. And, yes as a successfully published author you’d expect her words to be more eloquent (gotta credit editors). But, I’ve decided not to let this elitist brand of nay-sayers get to me anymore. I am no longer going to take it personally, unless it actually does get personal. By that I mean, if someone says “A lot of indie books are good, but that K. Crumley’s books really suck…” or “Wishful Thinking was the worse book I ever read…”
If the blanket statements don’t apply to me, then they don’t apply to me. I’m just going to ignore them. I know that I have taken the proper steps to ensure that my books are not the equivalent of literary toilet paper. And, this is something that is my responsibility alone as an indie author.
I’ve made improvements to my books even post-publication, by changing the covers or altering prose, eliminating formatting errors, correcting typos, etc…
Now of course subjectivity comes into play. I write about faeries and mermaids, instead of vampires. My voice is more dramatic than some. If my books are “not for you” then, they’re “not for you.” I can take that type of criticism. Heck, I think most people can.
Yet, I continue to remain true to myself as an author. But now I’m wondering off topic here…
2. I haven’t heard of this author. I haven’t read one book by her. She’s not even in my genre. Her words carry no weight with me.
Now I know some people have a problem with that…in the MB conversation I referred to earlier, people thought that myself and some others were being snide and catty by saying that. As if we’re trying to discredit her level of “fame.” When really, it isn’t that at all (speaking for myself here.)
If I never heard of someone, but they said “XYZ thing.” Then, their comment on XYZ means nothing to me. Who they are in other people’s eyes has nothing to do with my perception of those people. All that author is in my opinion, is another author who went about things another way and has a closed mind toward another way of doing things.
In the arts–or maybe in any field–we chose our own mentors, authorities, and people to emulate. Someone we have never heard of isn’t going to fit into that category (at least not automatically.) And, even those Mentor’s POV’s will be taken with a grain of salt at times. If J.K. Rowling herself came out and said “Authors shouldn’t self-publish right away because they’re selling themselves short…yada yada…” I still wouldn’t stop what I’m doing. But I would listen/read, and respect it as her honest opinion.
Finally, it is no sin to claim you never heard of a “famous” author. People have different levels of familiarity, and as a wise person once said “every author is unknown to some portion of the general public.” That’s irrefutably true. Even if you read avidly, even if you are a writer, there are some authors you never heard of. I think that applies to ANY field, the arts especially. As a dancer, I was shocked to find that one of my friends hadn’t heard of Natalia Makarova, Gelsea Kirkland, Margot Fonteyn, Suzanne Farrell, Et al. She knew full well however about Joel Gray and Baryshnikov. Her knowledge of the dance world, evidently was limited to Cinema. It did not mean that she was trying to discredit my dance knowledge, or any of the prima ballerinas I had named. And, it was a fact that she never heard of them…
No reason for her to be tarred and feathered. I’m sure any advice these esteemed ballerinas would give on dancing would fall on deaf ears with that girl. That’s the only point I’m trying to make.
I could add a third point to this, about the fact that there are people in this world who just love to argue. People who have a bad day, and come online looking for people to take it out on. People who love to bully, or insult other people to make themselves feel superior.
But, I won’t waste my time on that. We all know that it’s best to avoid feeding trolls. 🙂
Have a great week, and enjoy writing and publishing…by whichever means you chose to do so.
Don’t let the generalized statements get to you! 🙂