Pages

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hierarchies

At the top of speculative fiction reign the lords of literate mien who cast off novels with ease, compel readers into autographing frenzy, and attend conventions as honored guests. Agents and editors alike swarm to their sides while publishers wet their seats in anticipation that these lords of literature should deign to sit beside them at award ceremonies. Their books are easily found in bookstore windows and on end caps.  Some of them even make a living at it.

Below the highly esteemed lords gather the lesser lights, those knights of the realm who produce books that are respectfully written, but somehow fail to gain the public's attention and thereby achieve stardom. These knights are the stalwarts, the strong mid-list host who produce the bulk of literary content that supports the publishing kingdom. Without their diligent efforts the reigning lords, editors and publishers, agents and fans would not exist.

The expeditionary force, the army behind the royal assembly, are those who carry the pikes and shields and trudge along in anonymity, gleaning literary sustenance from the roadside while supporting ourselves by other means.  The spear carriers sit at no signing tables, are not hosted by convention committees, nor do they ever find hordes of clamoring fans awaiting their appearance, yet their number is legion and in total literary output overwhelm the total output of the nobility.

The pen-weilding army can be found battling for attention among the anthologies, magazines, and web sites. You will find them toiling away in their hovels at word rates that scarcely buy a crust of bread or even provide enough to afford attendance at any convention beyond easy commuting range. The struggling spear carrier fights hard to simply to remain within the van.  Ever present in their minds it that failure to produce in their hard-scrabble writing life can leave them forgotten in the wake.

Yet, even the members of this under-appreciated army are not the lowest creatures of the realm.  At the sides of the vast marching host stand the minions; the drudges, the sculls, and wanna-be scavengers who cannot join the march despite years of endless efforts to produce something salable.  These minions beg for scraps as they work long and hard to find the key, the magic words that will unlock an editor's heart and grant them admittance.  Frustration is ever their companion and failure upon failure their only hope as the endless horde marches by, aware of the desperation at the roadside and fearful of rejoining them.

Yet, despite all the barriers of talent and skill, of endless failures, even a lowly  minion can find the strength to wrest a gleaming sword from the stone, raise it above their head, strike a new direction for the march, and become a lord of the future.

#SFWApro

2 comments:

  1. That leaves out the option of indie publishing entirely. Was that intentional?

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you mean unedited, self-published stories, yes.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading my blog!