I eagerly await the news of the Organization Formerly Known As SFWA’s response to the latest development in publishing: the traditional contract now with added boilerplate disclaiming any guarantee of hard copy format. I suspect those of the Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa will call for the smelling salts as this latest shift in the quicksand they’ve been claiming for years is ever so stable has the potential to leave the poor dears with nothing to distinguish them from – horror of horrors – independents and self-published authors.
Just think of it – for so many years they’ve had the security and prestige of knowing that their books would be in actual bookstores, making it really easy to tell that they’re real authors, not like the self-published and independent riff-raff hanging out at that horrible, horrible Amazon place. They could sneer at us pleb indie rabble because we didn’t have real publishers who got our books to real bookstores (never mind the speed with which the real bookstores are vanishing), and look through their lorgnettes at us because they were Worthy! Their publishers told them so, and it’s hard to get into the field, so it must be true, right?
Those ever-diminishing sales must be because the genius of their Feminist Glittery Hoo Haas is just too erudite for those redneck yokels out in flyover country. They have awards. They have Feminist Glittery Hoo Haas. All they have to do is waft and the glittery makes everything perfect!
Only… Those ever-diminishing sales mean the horrible accountant types (“Dahling, I have a Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa. I don’t need that icky Math stuff.”) are putting choke collars on their editors, and their editors (“Dahling, nobody told me there was Math involved.”) are trying to cut costs without having – for the most part – the faintest idea of effective cost management. This is trickle-down economics where the stuff that’s trickling down… isn’t gold. It all flows downhill, after all, and authors, especially the not-so-bestselling Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa types, are at the very bottom of a rather deep valley.
Now, the savvy author (who isn’t there because he/she (and in extreme circumstances it) has headed off to the mostly unmarked paths of indie-land) would recognize the opportunities afforded by so much fertilizer and make use of them. Possibly even build a raft out of words to float from the valley on the amazing torrent of trickle-down… stuff. The poor Feminist Glittery Hoo Haas merely stand there looking up in supplication treating each drop, each trickle as it were as manna from heaven. Some of them may perhaps wonder why it no longer smells as sweet down there in the valley, but they’ve spent so long training themselves that all good things come from above that it’s unlikely to be more than a passing thought – if they haven’t trained themselves out of thought altogether.
Meanwhile, the questions remain:
What will The Organization Formerly Known As SFWA make of this latest development?
Will we rabble be treated to a command performance fit of the vapors?
Does anyone who actually read books give a damn? (Yes, I bowdlerized a bit. So sue me. Actually, don’t. It’s not worth the effort and the only winners will be the lawyers.)
Tune in some time in the future for the exciting answers to these and other irrelevant questions you couldn’t be bothered asking.