The Business Rusch: Respect
This comes in the same week as a post in HuffPo about "The Elephant in the Room" in regards to self-publishing. The author of that post seems to think nobody has noticed or talks about the (completely expected) excess of low-quality work in self-publishing. From what she says, she's relatively new to the self-publishing world, and the article comes off, imho, like this old joke:
There's a giraffe standing in the middle of the park, and as people walk into the park they say "Oh, look, there's a Giraffe!" And they talk about it and exclaim about it until the subject is exhausted.
And new people come in and exclaim "oh, look, a Giraffe!" and the people who have been there a while repeat what they've said for the benefit of the newbies, and this goes on for a while until people are used to the Giraffe and sick of talking about it.
Finally some late-comers enter the park and exclaim about the giraffe, and they say exactly what everybody else has already said. The people who have been there for a while are just sick to death of the conversation and they ignore the newbies, and a few are very rude. They're not actually ignoring the giraffe, they're ignoring the late-comers.
And the late-comers say "Golly, that giraffe is a real elephant in the room!"
Only in this case it's a little different. Because the late-comers here are people who have bought into the disrespectful culture that Kris talks about in her blog post: they are people who have no respect for those who are already in the room.
I'm not one of those Indies who is hostile to traditional publishing. I have written more about how much I miss rejection slips. I have written about how much you've got a lot to learn when you're just a Hatchling or a Neo-Pro.
I do think, however that the hierarchical nature of publishing clouds our ability to see what's going on. There are many great and helpful editors out there -- but I think our idea of who and what an editor does keeps us from seeing what the new generation of writer needs.
These days, I cringe when I hear "that author needs an editor!" The implication is always that the author is a child who has no judgment. If that is true, the author most emphatically does NOT need an editor. The author needs a teacher.
We have a myth in traditional publishing that writers need "handlers." That we never graduate. That an editor or agent -- even one fresh out of school -- will always know better.
Furthermore, indie publishing has broken out into a much wider world than traditional publishing ever did, and, in some areas, is very very different from traditional publishing. And what those authors need will be something quite different than what traditional authors need.
And that's the real elephant in the room.
Next week I'll start a series of posts called: "We Don't Need No Stinkin' Editors!" It's not about what some of you think it's about. It's about how what you think it's about is irrelevant. The world is changing much more radically than people in publishing understand, and we need to evolve our quality controls to suit the new paradigm.
See you in the funny papers.