Sunday, May 31, 2015

Publishing, Snobbery, and Me

*This post started as a comment on Paul E Cooley's essay Snobbery and Reality, and then it kind of ran away with itself. Please, read the original essay.*

I've been a literary snob for as long as I've been reading and it got worse when I started "seriously" writing. The dream was to write an important piece of literature that would allow me to live off royalties long enough for me to write my next American Classic. Oh, and I was supposed to do all of this by 25.

Growing up a book nerd there was something special about publishing houses. They were these magical kingdoms full of people who believed in your genius and lived to spread your work throughout the lands. They were your biggest fans and they made sure you got lots of money and a pony. A pony is very important for a writer.

At least that's what they were in my head. And I held on to that part of the dream for so long that I started to lose sight of the real dream. When I was 8, sitting up all night, writing an incredibly naive novel, I wasn't doing it for financial security or prestige, I was writing because for some reason my little brain felt compelled to tell stories. As I learned more about how books were made, it made sense to focus on getting published because that was the way to get your stories to readers. It was the only way- at first. But by the time the internet became a thing, and self publishing exploded all over it, I was completely absorbed by my literary snobbery. I was a "real" writer. "Real" writers didn't need to self publish. I hadn't published anything myself but I felt superior to those that were doing it all on their own. I pitied their efforts.

I was a jackass.

It took me years to realize that though. Years to get to a place where I didn't pity self-published and small house/indie published writers, but admired them. And started to consider becoming one of them.

Now I want 2 things for my writing:

1 I want it get to readers who will love/need/appreciate it.
2 I want the possibility of making money.

The rest is just bows and ribbons.

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