Okay, first of all, I know I’m late. But this could have been next September so what are you complaining about? Second, yeah, I know that title is writing a little more than I can cash. Third, I totally believe it to be true.
There’s been a recent upheaval in the publishing community as it realizes that independents are on the rise and eBooks are taking a great deal of the wind out of the sails of the traditional book. Some people have embraced this and have decided that this format and this movement needs all the support it can get. But, in my opinion, it’s not nearly enough.
For a long time there’s been a stigma around the idea of the independent author. They’re shut out of most of the writing unions and guilds, they rarely qualify for any of the award ceremonies and getting your work reviewed by a professional can be troublesome and requires some doing. Then, after all of that, if they happen to be a big hit they aren’t acknowledged until someone signs to publish more of their work. Up until that point you’re not just excluded from the industry – some might blame you for the recent decline in sales. In no other industry is someone treated like a leper for striking it out on their own as much as they are in publishing.
The music industry has embraced several independent talents over the years. Hell, in recent years that seems to be their lifeblood. The film industry devotes entire festivals to their independents. But authors? You better hope you don’t ever need someone to piss on you if you get set on fire. Not only will they not do it but the only liquid that might get tossed on the flames is a little of the stuff they’ve been passing off as water.
Keeping up with the internet as a writer can sometimes be a bit taxing. With all of the expectations placed on independent writers, the idea that you then have to continue to put out content can be unreasonable and stressful. Honestly, I realized this some time back when my self-publishing experiment turned out to suck more than I thought it would and I found myself burnt out on all of the little facets of self-promotion required.
I know most people who start writing blogs or opening twitter accounts happen to treat it like some sort of hobby, but it’s always been part of my work for me. It’s not that I dislike writing (obviously, look at the length of my posts) but I’ve always wanted my stories to speak for themselves rather than me rambling on in their place. I don’t feel all that interesting most of the time. And when my work was suffering in the past, and boy did it suffer, I lashed out a little bit at the social networking and web logging thing.
“Oh my god,” you’re saying sarcastically, “an emotionally unbalanced writer?!”
Yeah, well, let’s get something straight, I didn’t burn out because I’m emotionally unbalanced (though aren’t we all?). I burnt out because there’s aspects of the industry which suck hard, like the vacuum of space, and they don’t tell you squat about it until you actually get into the thick of things. You really don’t learn it until you’re slugging it out with people in a public forum.
But along the way it does start proving itself useful. You get a feel of the communities, you get a feel of the culture. In a way, you can use social media as a way of studying people and how they think. And eventually there are things you start to see as trends of thought on the internet, as you’re swimming through everyone’s stray thoughts and updates on their lives. In the process of seeing that, I realized there’s something that needs to be said.
To put it simply: Technology and progress are not the enemy of art.
Wow, look at me, I’m back. Though I don’t know if anyone will bother looking at it since I haven’t updated. I’ll be honest, I was pretty right about the kids kicking my ass back and forth across my house while draining what little is left of my sanity and soul. Truth be known, I can’t remember the last time I had a guilt free sequence of uninterrupted sleep, but that’s another story.
Today, I got rejected again. My crane looks like crap.
But it got me thinking. See, before the kids got here I had a sequence of other entries I wanted to make here and I realized that I had to get them in. Not only that, but I had to fight to retake what little of my life there was to take. In essence, I’m not getting any sleep anyway, so I might as well do something with the couple of minutes here and there where I get to take a breather. I can sleep when I’m dead.