Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why do writers argue all the time?

It seems the Internet was made for arguing, and the world of books and writers is no different. There are those who argue for and against digital publishing. There are those who argue for and against self publishing. There are those argue for and against book stores. There are those who argue for and against Amazon. I could go on.

All of this arguing, this bickering, consistently baffles me. I simply don’t get it. I understand people have their preferences, but why is all this worth arguing over? Why is it worth allowing your blood to boil and your heart rate to jump? Frankly, why is any of this an either-or situation?

If I decide to self publish with Amazon, why should others act as if I’ve infringed upon their personal rights and kicked their favorite puppy? If I decide to send out a manuscript to a literary agency, why should this offend someone so much they have to curse my name and any spawn I might foist upon the world down to the seventh generation?

Are we really that petty?

For writers, the truth is there is not one solitary road to success. We must all find our own way. What works for me might not work for you. What works for John Locke or Stephen King or Dr. Seuss probably won’t work for me. Picking up advice from other writers is great, but we can’t follow their exact path to success because there is too much open ended within the world of publishing. No one knows for sure what the next “big thing” is going to be. No one. Oh, yes, the next Danielle Steel novel is sure to sell so many millions, but her audience is already built. No one can predict from where the next Harry Potter or Bridges of Madison County or The Da Vinci Code is going to spring.

Since it would be impossible to create a near perfect road to success for a writer, would it not be prudent to keep one’s options open? You can never tell what might lead to that big break. It could come from the traditional publishing world, or from Amazon, or from a celebrity who loves your books, or from sheer dumb luck.

It is not as if any of the many options available to writers is harming anyone. If one writer decides to self publish, it’s not as if they are damaging in any way readers or other writers. The same can be said for writers who continue along the more traditional path to publication.

Opinions are fine, but I often feel in our anxiousness to be heard and in our need to prove we are right, we lose ourselves and we lose our real voices. It’s also quite possible we could lose our readers, because most readers don’t care about all the little in-squabbling that goes on behind the scenes of the publishing world, and those who do pay attention from time to time are more likely to be turned off by what they see than to nod their heads and say, “Yes, that writer is correct about everything.”

Why can’t we all just do our own thing, have our opinions, but not be so vicious about it?


Seth D Clarke said...

We all love a good story, so what matters it what form of media it comes in? Print is good for some, digital for others. Apples and oranges, man. Apples and oranges.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think part of it may be that writers are just good with words and it takes words to argue. Plus, you gotta scream pretty loud these days to be heard. I agree that it's pretty ridiculous though. I like to express my thoughts and get feedback on them, but then I know I'm not likely to change anyone's opinion so I short circuit the argument. It's OK just to know that we are different.

Ty Johnston said...

Seth, that's pretty much how I feel. What difference does the medium make, or how one decides to approach their writing career?

Charles, exactly. Also, I feel those who think they have to scream their arguments don't realize (or don't care) that not only do they not prove their point by being the loudest, they drive away any serious consideration of their point simply because of their attitude and manner of approach.

Patrick Jones said...

It's sort of like arguing about religion, neither is right or wrong. What ever it takes to get my stories to my readers is right. Do I want to make money? Sure but the people who susport me are the important part. Paperback,or any other form is right. If I have to argue, I'd rather it be over which beer tastes better...but then maybe we're both right again. It's a matter of which is right for you.

Ty Johnston said...

Sorry, Patrick, but there's no argument about beer. Samuel Smith's Pale Ale. Nothing better. ;-)

David L. Shutter said...

Lots of deep lines being drawn in the sand now in publishing and I see the rehtoric getting a lot worse before (if ever) it gets better. Some voices from the traditioanal side clearly seem threatened and show little but contempt for the indie movement, Amazon, et al.

Folks that are finding success with indie pubbing have (mostly) nothing good to say about the traditional system that either flatout rejected them or, many feel, failed them miserably in the past and don't deserve to still be around.

At the end of the day it's livelihood for the published folks and long, cherished dreams for the aspirants. Serious stuff to poke a stick at.

Loved your bog tour BTW, great stuff.