Today, we have Justine Manzano over and she's got something to say and it's worth hearing:
Lift Me Up, Beat Me Down
Are you with a mainstream publishing company? Bad news, man. They steal all of your money. Very shady. Be careful.
Are you with an indie publishing company? Well, they aren’t going to do much for you. So much for being the next J.K. Rowling. Hopefully someone important will read your book and pass it on, or else you’re never going to get recognized.
You self-published? *wince* Oh...couldn’t get anybody to pick it up, huh? You know, there are no gatekeepers in the self-publishing world. There’s nobody there to tell you if you suck or not. Maybe you shouldn’t just jump in and self-publish? You’re tainting the pool. It’s already a dirty pool.
You haven’t published yet? WHY NOT. These days you can self-publish, you know. You don’t even need to mess with those corporate suits. Just do your own thing. But be careful. You’re going to have to promote yourself. Also, DON’T TAINT THE POOL.
Sometimes, the publishing world can be a murky place to be. You want to go with a choice, and then twenty people have a handful of reasons why that’s an AWFUL idea. You change your mind, go a different route, and a handful of OTHER people tell you what an awful idea THAT is. You go to these people for support - writing groups, friends, family, people who still think you can make J.K. Rowling bucks off of the publishing industry - and they tell you all of the things you are not supposed to do.
Especially in the writing/blogging community, we have become a place that is big on tearing down each other’s choices. Someone makes a kickstarter to raise money for her books? We tear her down. Someone writes a blog post we don’t agree with, we tear them down. We think it’s okay to pick on each other and then we complain about the bullies of the real world as though there are no real people behind the computers we speak through.
So what should we be doing? We have to remember that, in the writing world, there is no such thing as competition. What? Have I lost my mind? NO. There is no such thing as competition. We’re all doing the same thing. We are writing stories that we really want to share with people, and we are putting them out there in the world. There is no shortage of stories. There is no shortage of readers. For more voracious readers, like me, four books in a month is average. That’s a lot of reading. A lot of books purchased. And that’s not even considering the stuff that’s in my Kindle, that’s in my TBR pile at home, that’s on my reading list.
People can read many things, and as long as you are writing something that has quality, it will rise to the top. So instead of saying all of the things others shouldn’t do, if you want the industry to evolve and grow, you should commit yourself to making sure the cream rises. Review the things you love. Pass on recommendations of good books to friends. Actively support good writers. Get the word out. Put your money and your mouth where your opinions are. But definitely give your fellow writers a lift, not a beat down.
Their choices don’t have to be your choices in order to be valid. But then, that’s true for a lot of things, isn’t it?
Bio: Justine Manzano is a multi-genre writer living in Bronx, NY with her husband, son, and a cacophony of cats. She maintains a semi-monthly blog at JustineManzano.com where she discusses her adventures in juggling motherhood, writing, and the very serious businesses of fangirling and multiple forms of geekery. The Order of the Key, the first book of her YA Fantasy series Keys and Guardians has been contracted for publication by Distinguished Press and will be available for purchase in 2015.