Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Words: Why Can't We Be Friends?

As much as I strongly believe that books and stories can be tools of unification, it wasn't until I went to library school, began writing my own books, and started this blog that I realized how much division seems to come along with them.

There's ebooks versus print. Traditional publishing versus self publishing. Writers fighting an uphill battle to find agents. Agents trying to sell to publishers. Published authors versus sales statistics. Authors versus bloggers. Even bloggers versus other bloggers.

To put it kindly, there's an awful lot of tension in the room.

I know that it's not like we can all just call a truce and these divisions vanish with all of us waking up tomorrow being the best of friends. That's just unrealistic. What I am proposing is that we all take a minute to think back to those words many of our parents and teachers no doubt worked to instill in us as youngsters: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Easier said than done, I know, but hear me out. I'm not saying this means all publishing is suddenly created equal or that agents are suddenly required to take on writers 'just because' or that there can be no such thing as negative reviews. I think we all must keep in mind that there's a person at the other end of all of this.

Aspiring writers pour everything they have into their books, and then they do it all again in their query letters. There's no way agents can give personalized rejection responses to every query, but to send a query takes a special kind of bravery in the first place, so is a form rejection really so much to ask? Believe me when I say that the form rejection is infinitely preferred to the 'no response after two months means no.'

Authors versus sales is something I know less about. All I can say here is that remember the long journey it took to get your book published and now here it is! You've accomplished what so many others are still dreaming of. Keep at it and your numbers will come.

And then authors and bloggers - come on, guys, really? We undeniably need each other and to say anything else is a lie. We all need to have thick skin, here. Authors send their books out into the world with the understanding that not everyone will love it. Bloggers send their thoughts to the Internet knowing that their opinions can impact potential readers. Most things in this industry are highly subjective and matters of opinion, and even if you didn't like a book, you can say so nicely to try to spare feelings.

And now I'm rambling here, but I think you can see what I mean. I still believe in the good side of publishing, that with hard work and a lot of luck, great literature is happening all around us. So play nice, people. We're all on the same side, here.


  1. I feel honored that my post brought out this treatise! I agree!

    1. Thank you so much! Your post (which everyone else can see via the link below) just really struck a chord with me. I'm currently stuck in the land of query and rejection letters, fighting off the green eyed monster of jealousy, and I think that you said it so well that with each new step, there are new challenges and worries. I can only hope I get to experience them someday, too.

      So thanks for being awesome!! =)

      Lisa's post that inspired this one:

  2. I am so with you on everything!

    I personally try to stay away from the drama as much as possible. I just don't care for it. I personally support anything/anybody that has to deal with with books (bloggers, published authors, self published authors, etc). But I do see that there is a lot of bias out there and especially, an unwillingness to be open and kinda branch out and accept others. Where does it come from? I believe, that it has to do with some people's ego and arrogance but oh well.

    Although, I am clear that it probably wont stop, there is always a "someone vs someone" fight out there. So all we can do, I say, is not to add to the drama from our side of the fence and to not take part in it. Hopefully they will see one day that all this disagreement is pointless.

    1. Doing our best to avoid the drama is all really any of us can do, along with working to not add to it ourselves. Not that I'm an expert in any of the above mentioned capacities, but in the time that I've been doing this blog, I'll admit that it's been harder than I was expecting to come into the group. Branching out and open mindedness is key, as is remembering that behind every screen name is a real person with thoughts and feelings.