Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, same old clickbait arguments.

Envy by Josse le Court - National Museum, Krakow |
CC 1.0
Welcome to 2017, which a whole lot of us hope won't be as bad as we think it will.

The Huffington Post must have had a slow week last week -- wait. Of course they did. It was the week between Christmas and New Year's; barring some huge breaking news story, everybody's on vacation. So anyway, somebody at HuffPo reached into the blogger slush pile last week and decided to run this submission that retreads all the old complaints about indie publishing: indies are hacks, and self-publishing is only fit for the elderly who want to pass along their life histories to their kids and don't want to take the trouble to learn how to write properly, and so on. You know, the usual stuff.

Predictably, the comments section lit up with indies taking umbrage. The author of the piece, Laurie Gough, had the grace in her responses to retreat a little, and admit maybe she spoke a little hastily. Still, some folks felt compelled to mention that Gough's comments might have been spurred by sales envy, as many indie books sell better than hers. The responses included this blog post, which advanced the usual arguments against attitudes like Gough's with a supersized side of insults.

Maybe it's because I'm getting over the flu (thanks, 2016, for that parting shot), but the whole thing is making me tired.

Look, we've been fighting this stigma since -- what, 2009? 2010? And you know what? We don't hear much about it anymore. That's partly because the complaints are starting to sound like sour grapes, like Gough's does. But it's also partly because trad-pubbed midlist authors are pulling their backlists from their publishers and self-pubbing those older books, and making more money now than they did before.

To recap: yes, many indies employ professional-level editorial staffs (including beta readers) and cover artists, as well as more dedicated marketing managers than your average overworked PR person at name-a-trad-publisher; yes, many indies have more education and experience as writers and editors -- paid experience, even! -- than the politicians and starlets who get the big-ticket contracts these days; yes, some indie books are terrible, but then so are some trad-pubbed books; and yes, in today's publishing world, getting a contract is mostly about luck -- unless you're an indie who works your butt off to maneuver your way onto a bestseller list, at which point agents who know a golden ticket when they see one will begin pestering you to let them sell your work to a "real" publisher.

Can we just stipulate all that?

And then, the next time somebody decides to publish one of these tired, disproven rants, can we all just not react? Because I suspect that if articles like these stop getting clicks, publications like HuffPo will stop running them -- and then we can put this pointless conversation to bed, once and for all.

I'm actually feeling much better today. Thanks for asking.

Writing news: Editing will commence shortly on Maggie in the Dark. In addition, just today, I finished a short story (epic fantasy!) for the next Five59 anthology. I'll let you know how that goes.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

These moments of retreaded ranting blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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