Saturday, June 23, 2012

Professionalism in the Writing World

I've waited quite some time before drafting this post for one main reason. I didn't want to become a member of the society I'm about to malign.

I was recently humiliated in a public forum. It was a slap of cold water in the face and absolutely stunned me speechless. If anyone knows "me," you'll realize exactly how shocked I was. Speechless is not something I do well. My first reaction was to write an angry blog about the exchange that embarrassed me. I didn't. My second reaction was to apologize to the individual who decided it was necessary to smack me down. I did that. My third reaction was to get the hell out of dodge and disconnect from an association that harbored the "I rule the world" mentality. I did that, too.

The individual who felt it necessary to slam my knuckles with a poker in front of many of my peers believed they had that right because it was their forum. It might be your forum, sweetheart, but you are no professional. This is the heart of my post. Professionalism. In this day and age of being able to interact via the internet opens a wide door for misbehavior. It is NOT OKAY to purposely embarrass someone. When circling through a writer's world, you never know who can help you build your dream or offer an insight that opens a door. You NEVER KNOW. Why would you take it upon yourself to purposely alienate and offend? Stupid, if you ask me.

This same mentality is blowing up all over the internet with the argument of "indie v. traditional." I am so sick of the circular thought patterns and direct attacks on authors from other authors, I just want to scream. Who gives a flying f*ck whether you have published traditionally, independently, or both? Are you selling books? Do you have a fan base? Are you happy? It's about the READERS people. Get over yourselves. We write because telling stories is what we're passionate about. We don't write to get rich. Sure, it would be wonderful if every single one of us were successful enough to write full time. That's our goal, right? To write full time! Not to drink champagne and eat bon-bons all day long. At least, that's my goal. I love my job but balancing work and writing is exhausting. If I ever reach a level where I have the luxury of choosing one over the other, it will be a difficult decision. I'm lucky enough that my passion lies on both sides of the road. Anyway, the point being here is that we strive for our stories to be our jobs. And that's an awesome goal. Keep it in focus!

This is a business. In business, people behave professionally. If you are traditionally published only, please don't think you have a clue about what it is to write as an independent author.Your opinions are ridiculous, because you don't know. If you are independently published only, please don't think you have a clue about what it is to write as a contracted author. Your opinions are ridiculous, because you don't know. If you are published both traditionally and independently, your opinion is helpful to those trying to determine which path is best for them. You may compare the two avenues as it adds value.

The bottom line here is that we write because we have stories to tell. Our first thought needs to be to the reader. If you have crafted a great story, the reader doesn't care who published it. The reader isn't out on the internet Googling the mud-slinging blogs that are so link-worthy in the writer's world. If we spent more time honing our craft and less time arguing the publishing basics, we would all be better writers.

This is a new world for writers, and I say get over yourselves and just write on!!! Oh, and please be professional and courteous to all. Support one another. Do not, under any circumstances, publicly embarrass a fellow artist. You never come out looking smart or savvy or knowledgeable. Ever. It's simply not a good thing.

Peace out.