When a good (wo)man goes to war
I’ve been pussyfooting around one of the major reasons that this merge is happening – happened now actually.
About six months ago, I started getting involved in a very specific area of the writing community. That involvement was, in part because after closing five presses with Glass Block, I decided I’d had enough and was going to publish it on my own. Couple that with the fact that the average writer that I know has no technical expertise to speak of and a lot of the questions I was seeing and hearing was specifically to do with blogging and I thought ‘what the hell‘.
Here I am four weeks in and not only am I arguing with people who don’t know their twitter feed from their RSS feed that spam is spam no matter where it’s stuck, I’m now in a special kind of WTH, because sometimes it really is kinda hellish and difficult to get people to see what they are doing to the community as a whole. There are some *seriously* serial unprofessional people out there. And before people say that it’s true of any community, yes it is – that’s not the point I’m making. The point I’m making is there are some seriously, terrifyingly badly behaved people in the community who don’t deserve the benefits that the rest of us are securing for everyone. And we don’t deserve to be tarred with the same ‘can’t even keep a tense straight, bloody hell is this what I’m in for if I buy indie books’ brush.
There, I’ve said it
I’ve been avoiding the rant about the level of unprofessionalism in the community for a while now, but having had the worst week to date with my community mates, and losing my site to an ill advised email from an author who shall remain nameless (The Indie Author Community was removed because, basically, someone complained and though I’d had a chat with my host, they pulled the plug and refunded me rather than waiting for my side). Apparently threatening to sue the host works, well done.
The point being, I’ve decided that there are going to be more than just a few domain changes happening around here. One of the biggest ones is that I’m going to stop – or at least *try* to stop worrying about ‘the crazies’. The low barrier of entry to the Indie community isn’t anything to do with me, and while I’m being shoved into the limelight in the community far more than I enjoy, all I can do, personally is emulate the behaviour that I hold to be the kind that I’d expect others to show.
The other side to that though is that I have to go ‘to war’. To war against perception. Against everything that I revile in the community, and I have to lead by example all at the same time. So.
From now on, I review books to my standards – no gentling the authors and giving them the chance to ‘update’ their stuff. No working with ‘known’ troublemakers in the community (because contrary to popular belief, we moderators do chat together) and no bending my standards because I know the person ‘couldn’t afford’ an editor, or has just chosen to forego that aspect of publishing. I totally appreciate the money reality for some is that they can’t afford an editor, but I hate to say it, putting out more books isn’t going to change that you’re making the same mistakes and while readers don’t read the same way as ‘professional’ reviewers do, they still know a crap book when they read it. And while there are some writers out there managing the same as ‘poor’ traditional presses that are pressed for time and get most of the mistakes out, I hate to break it to people, but the majority of indie writers aren’t *them*.
Readers might not be able to point at something and say ‘that’s the wrong tense’ or ‘thats a plural participle that’s dangling off a grammar cliff’ but they still know that it’s poorly constructed and doesn’t match the standard of publishing they are used to and that’s where many indie authors are shooting themselves in the foot – and the wallet ultimately. How are you going to make enough money to afford an editor if your book is so horrible people return it for a refund for example? Or worse, you put them off the indie community entirely, and the only non publisher stuff they load onto their readers are knitting patterns?
Next post? The projects 🙂 I have to have artillery to go to war after all 😉