Saturday, May 17, 2014

But Enough About ME

I am not going to talk about my progress on the WIP. Nope, not a word, even though it is threatening to overwhelm me.  Gods, I can't sleep at night worrying about alternative ways of handling scenes and "did I forget to add that?" nightmares.  But, as I said, I don't want to talk about it.

One of the big questions on everyone's mind recently is whether self-published authors can be considered as professionals by other writers.  To understand the depths of this question you need to understand that most "other" writers today came up prior to or during the digital revolution. The eldest members started their careers pounding the keys of manual and electric typewriters, correcting drafts with white-out and tape, mailing bulky envelopes, and then waiting weeks for the rejections to arrive before investing more time and stamps to try a second market.  Writing was hard and tedious work before near-instantaneous communications.  For many of the old school the delay between the final draft and acceptance/publication was a matter of years as the work went through the hands of copy editors, proofreaders, printers, distributor, and finally, into stores.

Todays self-pub writers spin tales on computers, clean them up with software tools, and have their beta readers respond via e-mail before "publishing" their work on line.  Even though a very few of the self-published reap great rewards, the majority labor in vain to earn a pittance, if that, but all consider themselves as authors. It costs little but time to self-publish and that time is often saved by cutting out experienced editors, skilled copyeditors, and professional graphic composers.

Is it any wonder that there is resentment as the newly published sneer at the "other" writers who question which of the self-published are worthy of being called professional writers?  There should be no doubt that money earned is one criteria, but what about those in the great majority whose sales are modest or non-existant?  Small print runs and poor sales are not unknown in the physical book market yet those published authors are considered as professionals. Is there some magic lower level of sales that marks the line between a failed scribbler and someone "other" writers consider as 'professional?"

From my perspective the entire question is one of recognition and acceptance.  As writers all of us need to find a way of granting respect to those availing themselves of the new  markets being created.


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