Toxic Tempers And Fevered Egos In Publishing
As of late, we’ve seen a lot of hoo-ha and fol-de-rol about “legacy” publishing and self-publishing. We’ve seen words like “house slave” and, I dunno, something about frogs and monkeys sexually assaulting one another? I don’t want to look too closely at that one. Eeeesh. Some of the voices think that all this is a-okay and that tone doesn’t matter (a curious exhortation when made by a writer, a person for whom words and tone should matter). Some of the voices recognize that those terms added little to the debate (with others placing most of the fault on those who were offended rather than those causing the offense — “I’m sorry you’re offended” is different than “I’m sorry I caused you offense”).
You know what? Hell with ‘em.
Stop listening. Stop paying attention. Stop shining lights in dark corners. Let the cults tend to their leaders. Let the Jonestowns grow more insular and paranoid and leave them to their invective.
The loudest of those voices are swiftly becoming irrelevant — they keep saying the same things ad nauseum. They have one trick up a well-worn sleeve. The hypocrisy and hyperbole are slopped like gruel on an orphan’s tray. They’ve resorted to, in the best of circumstances, trollish behavior. And in the worst, the behavior and language of bullies. Any points they may have — points that, in some cases, make a lot of sense and others that are woefully narrow — are lost in the eye-rolling rhetoric.
They want attention.
So, let’s stop giving it to them.
They’re going to do what they’re going to do. Which is their right to do so. They’ve got their ideas. They’ve got their opinions. Good for them. Just the same, the discussion has hit a wall. And the whole conversation has become a bit of a circus. Or, worse, a circle jerk. Remember: last one on the cracker has to eat it.
Nobody wants that job.
Let’s also be clear that toxicity and egomania is not unique to self-publishing: I’ve seen many in traditional publishing make brash and unreasonable statements about the DIY thing, too. Don’t let anyone tell you that self-publishing is not a viable part of the ecosystem. It is. It is a legitimate and equal choice where once it was not. Let the zealots on both “sides” have their barbed wire fences and jungle compounds and false dichotomies. Leave them to their eager-to-please sycophants: a manic chorus like the buzz of cicadas.
They’ve got their way.
You find your way.
I’ll talk more about this next week in a post called “Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law,” but for now, just know that every writer digs his own tunnel and detonates it behind him.
(Actually, I see that Will Entrekin has a good post on this today, actually — “There’s No Such Thing As The Publishing Debate.” A good quote from that: “If only we could acknowledge that there’s really no debate about publishing, we could start really helping readers find new writers, and vice-versa, and really, isn’t that what books are really all about, anyway?” Check it out.)
Little Chucky Wendig
Oh, and P.S. –
To the dude on Twitter yesterday who accused me of blocking him because, apparently, I hate self-publishing? I clearly, plainly, certainly do not hate self-publishing. I do not advocate against self-publishing. I have six self-published books. They have earned me not insignificant income this year. (Though, also to be clear, I’ve made more money publishing traditionally and with work-for-hire during the same time frame. Goes both ways.) I, in fact, at the time of your accusation had not blocked you at all and I remain unclear as to how you came to that conclusion. I’ve since blocked you, of course. I’m happy to have a conversation, but I’m not happy to participate in a fruitless discussion where you see fit to fertilize the conversational lawn with bullshit. I don’t brook bullshit — especially when it’s about me or people I respect.
*drops a smoke pellet and disappears like the Motherfucking Batman*