Ugliness in the Publishing Industry
I’m angry. I’m furious. I’m at the end of my fucking rope.
I’d like to say its about the BLM movement, and what’s happening in Australia and America is terrible.
I’d like to say it’s the #Publishingpaidme tag and the disparagement between black authors and white authors is sickening.
I’d like to say it’s the transphobic tweets from JK Rowling this morning but to be honest it was one tweet.
And it has me tearing down the walls.
Bursting into tears.
So mad I was physically sick.
I’ve never been so angry and upset I’ve vomited before, but there you have it.
Because the BLM movement triggered transparency in the publishing industry about advances. Advances are paid by publishing houses to authors with the expectation the book sales will exceed the advance. Twitter is rife with authors talking about how much they got paid for their books and one clear comparison is the black to white author advance deals. Some have been frankly disgusting.
But the proverbial thing that has me crying with absolute RAGE is the author who got nearly a million dollars for a YA fantasy who was also prolifically self-published. That she got picked up by a traditional publisher after she’d been self-published, and gained readers, but traditional publishers STILL shit on self-publishing.
And the money she earned? She reinvested it into her self published market.
Keep in mind for a VERY critical moment that the #Publishingpaidme tag was MEANT to be about the disgusting difference between black and white authors, and that the amount white authors get paid for their books in comparison is obscene. Keep remembering that this tag was supposed to address the gap and encourage authors to come forward but also for black authors to know their worth. Stay focused on the fact that this tag was inspired by the need for equality and that the industry doesn’t currently serve that need.
Now… LETS TALK ABOUT THE WAY SELF PUBLISHING IS VIEWED.
One person being thankfully honest about the #publishingpaidme tag has admitted in the late naughties she got close to one million for her books. ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Anyone saying that isn’t much please remember; MOST AUTHORS (TRAD INCLUDED) ARE LUCKY TO MAKE 10K A YEAR.
She writes about the possibility of self-publishing with the proper amount of dollars invested into self-publishing is very lucrative. After already earning nearly a million dollars in a trad contract.
And you should know, without spending, I don’t know maybe a million dollars, on a marketing campaign, your self-published novel probably won’t get far.
What drove me the most to my anxiety about all of this was that the idea that self-pub is lesser. That its full of scammers, low lifes out to make a dollar, those who dont care about story telling.
I GET IT.
There are a host of authors out there aiming to make a buck. I write articles on them.
There are a host of authors trying to game the system. I write articles about them.
There are a host of authors who do not accept editing. I write articles about them.
But when the idea is thrown in front of me that you can just go ahead and self-publish after being rejected by trad publishers, I want to scream. Why? Because I remember the same author who started the #Publishingpaidme tweet did NOT ask for any self-published work in a recent tweet about books. In fact she made a point of asking for traditionally published books. As though they were the only ones that mattered.
Let’s keep in mind this tag was supposed to bring about equality.
Down in the grey waters of ignored society trying to share their diverseness in a way that would have their stories celebrated and embraced MANY SELF PUBLISHED AUTHORS COME FROM SMALL DEMOGRAPHICS.
OH and in case you are wondering about my ability to be here let impart a couple of things;
I have PCOS.
I have Aspergers.
I’m closeted bi, and consider myself her/they and don’t advertise it because there are others who’s gender stories are more important/I don’t feel comfortable doing it.
And I don’t need your fucking judgment on any of those parts of myself.
The tweets going around about a self-published author getting a trad deal implies a disparaging tendency to only accept what’s “trending”. This kind of behavior encourages only writers of a certain “quality”. This kind of writing is actively against the very authors it claims to be seeking action for.
Don’t have an agent?
Don’t have a publishing contract?
Don’t have a social media platform?
Get the fuck out.
God I wish this wasn’t the case but staring at all this and listening to these deals I am sitting over here stating; I DON’T HAVE ANY OF THIS. Neither do a bunch of authors who deserve it more.
I didn’t get an advance from Literary Wanderlust and I didn’t expect one; they are a small press I trusted with my story. I wonder how many other writers did the same. And no you shouldn’t HAVE to get an advance to feel of value but with so much pressure being placed on that right now you might be thinking it’s the difference between a good and bad book.
No, its not.
The same way a self pub and trad book is not the difference between a good and bad book.
You wanna talk self pub in comparison to trad? Yeah, I’m happy to talk about it, but what I want to talk about is the quality of the book – not whether or not it made money. Or did we forget somewhere along the line it was supposed to enrich lives?
Time and again I’ve been told I’m a good story teller. Time and again I’ve been told my writing needs to improve. And I have no problem with this.
My problem is with ANY author shutting out self-published authors BECAUSE THEY ARE SELF PUBLISHED.
As though they are inferior.
I’ve seen the very people traditional authors claim to represent write GREAT stories in the indie and self pub community. I don’t know what kind of a wake up call they need to grasp the self pub industry holds a SWATHE of great story telling. But having read and reviewed many of them I can say one thing to these authors calling on diverseness and equality in writing, who are ignoring the self publishing industry.
YOU ARE FUCKING LATE.