Publishing Industry Drain-Circling

The more I hear from the publishing industry and how incredibly asinine they are, the more I’m glad they’re circling the drain.

I read an agent blog this morning wherein two of them had the audacity to defend the “no response means no” policy. They “don’t have time” to send out rejection letters anymore. They’d like writers to believe there’s soooo much going into them now there’s simply no time to spare for the courtesy of a rejection letter *throwwristonforeheadandswoon*.

Now — before I start to RANT here, I want you to click away if you’re solidly convinced in your determination to publish through the gatekeeper system. Click away now, because I don’t have kind things to say about those writers and their way of thinking. I see it everywhere I go on the Internet, so if you’re easily offended and want to believe in that way of being published, get off my lawn. NOW.

Still here? Good, let’s continue.

If you’re still sucker enough to try and bash your way through that brick wall with your face, more power to you. But stop holding your breath waiting for a rejection letter. It’s not going to happen. If you haven’t heard back from them you’re not going to. They’re too good, too important, to address each writer’s life work with a form letter. And they’re damned sure not going to bother giving you a personal one. Why do you keep doing this to yourself? And for the love of all that’s holy, why would you do this and say it’s your “dream”? If you dream about being mistreated, please — pay ME and I’ll do it RIGHT, and on a PERSONAL LEVEL. I’ll mistreat you like you’ll never forget.

Writers, I’ve heard it said more than once now, have the same mentality with their publishing overlords as an abused person has with their abuser. I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll keep saying it because I’m sick of seeing the same stupid arguments come back — you don’t need them, THEY need YOU. PERIOD! You have a choice, you have other options. They have to take what writers send them, but writers can go do things a different way. They should do things a different way, for Pete’s sake. If you stop sending them the work they’ve deemed “slush” — it’s not your work, your blood sweat and tears, your time and energy, your creative output and your labor, it’s SLUSH they have to slog through — they will stop being arrogant. They.will.stop.being.arrogant. Don’t you get it yet? You are not going to be “validated”, you’re not going to be “legitimized”, you’re not going to be valued, or cared about, or respected, and you may not even be paid for your trouble. You’re going to be cheated, robbed, forced to do things like marketing and publicity, and travel and do appearances and conferences on your dime. And those are all the reasons most of you are saying you don’t want to self-publish.

But those reasons aren’t legit, and those concerns aren’t either. They’re bullsh!t and we both know it. You have a chance to do things differently and to connect with your readers. And while you’ll still have to make some effort to publicize your work, you can honestly focus on the writing, because that’s the main tool to gain attention in places like the Kindle store and Nook.

Stand up for yourself and stop taking the abuse and theft they’re dishing out (yes, they’re stealing, and if you don’t believe me then you can believe this writer). Do it for yourself, by yourself, and learn a thing or two about the business end of the craft. How’s it going to hurt anymore than learning to write a query letter? You’re all willing to do that, even though that’s a skill which can’t BE learned. It’s different for every agent or editor or publisher. It’s a moving target, you can’t ever pin it down, and you can’t guess the mood or PMS level of the person reading it on the day they read it. Why try? Why bother? Go your own way with it. You can. You should. Your readers deserve that chance, and so does your book.

But if you’d rather sycophant to  those ivory-tower a$$holes staring down their noses at you and keeping you licking their boots, be my guest. Just don’t come around here and tell me how it’s just as valid a way and just as valuable. I won’t hear it, and I won’t tolerate it. It’s a lie and you drank the Kool-Aid, not me. I won’t have you vomit that on my blog. Sorry writers. Legacy gatekeeper sycophants need not apply. The bold and brave belong to the future.

And as for the argument of “How many sales do YOU have?” — well, those same people state emphatically and without fail they’re not publishing for the money. They just want to be recognized by “professionals”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t hold water when the first question is “what are your sales like? how many have YOU sold?”

Truth is, with few exceptions on my blog here, I’ve likely sold more than you. For one thing, I’ve been published three times in the last eighteen months. In addition to those sales, I’ve sold a handful of my short story collections, too. Nothing Earth-shattering, for sure, but more than I’d have sold through a gatekeeper’s laziness and stupidity.

And I don’t even have a novel finished yet. When I do, the story may be different, depending on how things go. As with almost all things this way, it’s about luck. You can increase your chances of being lucky by having more books up there to see, to choose from, to be noticed. So write. The focus can, in this business model, be on the writing. No matter what the gatekeepers tell you, that’s not the case in their system.

So think that over.

Oh well, that’s it for me. It’s a long post today, so thanks for taking the time, and have a great weekend!


Copyright DarcKnyt 2011, all rights reserved

4 thoughts on “Publishing Industry Drain-Circling

  1. I’m telling you, sometimes I don’t know which side of the fence I’m on. I quit my editing job. I’ll tell you why in an email if you really want to know. The point of mentioning that is how much time I spent not working my own novel WIPs. The fact is definitely that publishing is more about marketing and the upfront commercial viability of a novel. There are some exceptions. I like that a big(ger) publisher like Tor accepts unsolicited request. They don’t do queries, either. Why? They say it’s because “it’s practically impossible to judge a project from a query.” I’m inclined to agree. With the editing job, the query was almost always inaccurate compared to the actual novel or writing. And the other editors would like a query I absolutely hated. Personal preferences and so on.

    This is what I’ve said for years. You can’t judge a manuscript by its query. It’s stupid and completely nonsensical to try and determine a writer’s skill or the viability and (more important for gatekeepers) marketability of a work from the author’s query. It complete crap. If you want to send that email about why you quit, please, feel free. I welcome it.

    The sad thing was that the submissions in general sucked. I mean, really. No one paid attention to proper grammar, let alone any basic story writing techniques. You really would be surprised at the total amount of slush — I mean, stuff you wouldn’t bother touching in a million years. Either these authors really don’t care or someone needs to give these people a reality check.

    Yes, there are going to be sucky books written. No two ways about it. But the fact is, we don’t need gatekeepers to filter our reading material for us. That’s similar to a banned book concept. I’ve read some CRAP writing in my day — a lot of it — and almost all of it came through the gatekeeper system. And for the counter-argument “Oh, but there are plenty that don’t suck too!”, I’ve got only this to say — those who put themselves in front of us to “screen out” bad writing don’t do that. If you put a faucet in your house, what good are they if there’s no plumbing going to them? This is the gatekeeper system. They’re not filtering out BAD writing, they’re filtering IN what THEY think will sell.

    And that’s horsesh!t. Readers will decide what’s good and what’s bad and they don’t need the gatekeepers’s help. PERIOD. They’re dictating what I can and can’t read, and that’s not right. This is about choices and being able to access the authors I want, the stories I want, the way I want, without anyone deciding for me what’s marketable or not. F**K that. I say. Ahem.

    So like I said, the editing experience has sort of put me in an area of confusion. Now I have no idea what I want to do. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know I want to self publish the WIP I’m working on, but terms of other novels I write, I still don’t know. I guess we’ll see how the self publishing experience goes. If I like it then I might just stick with it. Funny how that works.

    And I do NOT understand why this causes you confusion. It should solidify your decision, not make you more indecisive. For the life of me I can’t see what you’re confused about. And what does “we’ll see how the self-publishing experience goes” mean? The experience will go however you make it go. If you’re dedicated, do your due diligence and learn what you need to do to publish to Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc., it can only either publish or be rejected for formatting issues. The “experience” isn’t something I can understand I guess. In your financial position — if I understand it — you’re not really able to do anything but e-publish anyway. I think the expense of print publishing and even POD will make the “experience” more difficult and time consuming, and most authors can’t charge enough to recover their costs AND offer a viable product, so why bother with that? Print self-publishing has ALWAYS been a disastrous idea. Stay clear of that.

    You have friends on dA, ask one of them to make a cover image for you. You know someone who can help you with reading and making sure format’s okay, then ask them to. You need beta readers and a good honest critic, so ask someone (NOT the dA ones, either). You need an editor? Well, maybe one of the people you met through the job you had can help? Or you do it yourself, but seriously, be thorough. And then, you’re ready.

    If you expect to sell a million books you’re going to be disappointed. You wouldn’t have done that through the gatekeepers either, in all likelihood, so why be disappointed in whatever you end up with from e-publishing? The “experience” has nothing to do with it, in my book (pun intended). It’s about freedom to connect with your readers. NO system guarantees success, but at least ONE system guarantees opportunity. Think of it that way before you weigh in on “experiences” — which don’t dictate reality, btw.

  2. Not to mention that publishers aren’t even going through agents anymore, they’re hovering over the Kindle authors, trying to lure the best-sellers over to the legacy side of things. Agents are irrelevant now, for all intents and purposes.

    There’s still a huge amount of arrogance in publishing even without agents though. I just heard today of a story wherein an author signed a deal with no clause to prevent indie publishing other work in different genres, but got dumped by the publisher when she did just that. They’re so afraid of it they won’t tolerate even the IDEA of an author getting something more than they give. This industry is pathetic and I hope it dies fast. And hard. LTY.

  3. Yeah, it’s great how they’re the last ones to the party on this. The music industry went through the EXACT SAME THING. Did publishing learn? Apparently not.

    Not only did they not learn, they REFUSE to learn, even as Rome is burning around them. Their solution? Go recruit Locke and Hocking. Locke refused to give up his e-rights though. HA!

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