In which Dave discovers that a vocal and entirely too influential minority of publishing are out to ruin his sales.
I don’t know what’s going on in the world anymore. I went away for most of a month. Mrs. Dave and I went to find winter in Colorado, and I ended up wearing short sleeves for most of our visit. There were Superstars (though I wonder whether that refers to those of us in the audience, or the well-selling folks up front) and then there was several hundred miles of road through gorgeous country, and a few dozen awesome people in a few too-short weeks.
Then I come home to find I’m now the wrong kind of fan, having the wrong kind of fun, writing the wrong kind of stories in the wrong way, and reading the wrong kinds and shapes and colors of authors.
Wait a sec. *reads that again*
Nope, same as when I left in January. The same people are freaking out over the same nothings. Larry’s still the bulwark of the Read and Write Fun Stories movement (a.k.a. the Evil League of Evil) and I still haven’t heard back on my junior membership application. (Though I’m nearly certain Wee Dave snuck one in ahead of me AND got it approved, given his recent behavior.) Her BBEvilness continues to skewer the pomposities of the Myrmidons for Cultural Domination (I’m terrified of their ill-fitting spandex and pink, pleather
thongs whips. Absolutely horrified. Wait, which one was it, again?) as they stick their head above that selfsame bulwark. I just hope she doesn’t end up berserkrgang, as I have zero interest in cleaning up the mess. Brad continues to represent Sad Puppies to the world in his intelligent gentlemanly manner, and his enemies continue to heap filth and degradation on their own souls as they attempt to heap the same on his head.
In other news, it’s Lent (I hope you all celebrated Shrove Tuesday in the appropriate manner, and collected many beads) and I’ve given up social media. Being raised Presbyterian, I’m almost certainly doing it for the wrong reasons, but I’m hoping to improve my productivity in the time management and words written arenae, thereby increasing my ability to earn income via my chosen field. I’m certain St. Adam Smith would approve. A corollary is that I won’t be on the usual spaces to read the usual updates from the usual suspects. I’m highly susceptible to chat invitations and email, however. Be warned.
The bit of steaming … stuff that’s proving singularly irritating at the moment, is the tempest over the reading – or not, in this case – of specific stripes of author. A darling of the SJW set recently challenged all the readers everywhere to stop reading a specific kind of author. For a year. Now, this challenge wasn’t aimed at those adhering to a specific ideology, or those who write in one or another specific genre.
Nope: the author of the piece (which I’m not linking, as I have zero interest in driving further traffic, and I’m nearly certain everybody is already familiar with the basics. Instead, I’ll link to Larry’s masterful fisking of same.) challenges her readers – and by extension, all of us – to stop reading “white, straight, cis, male authors” for a year. (Now, as someone who can check all those boxes, I resent this. Refusing to read my writing – and pay this author – on the basis of accidents of birth is the rankest form of discrimination, and it’s wrong.)
One stated purpose of the challenge is to expand horizons, and that’s all well and good, but how are you expanding your reading horizons when you arbitrarily remove a subset of writing simply because the authors share a set of superficial characteristics? That would seem to me to be a narrowing of your horizons. Perhaps I’m wrong, though.
Implicit in this racist, sexist, misandrist challenge is the assertion that non-white, non-straight, non-male authors are getting little to no exposure. The line I particularly relish is, “if the majority of books being held up and pronounced Good and Worthy are by white, straight, cis men, it’s easy to slip into thinking that most good and worthy books are by authors that fit that description.” Except that’s just it: the vast majority of books pushed in media as Good and Worthy aren’t by people who are heterosexual, white male writers.
Beyond that, the notion that the only way for non-cis/straight/white male authors to gain readership is for people to chose their work preferentially over other writers (besides doing those same other writers (seriously, need a simple label for “everybody besides the one group Princess T hates enough to call for discrimination against.” seriously) a major disservice in giving them a hand-out instead of a hand up) is simply untrue. Those writers-who-don’t-resemble-me have exactly the same opportunity I do. Write a work, get it edited, put together a cover, and put it up on Amazon. Set up print-on-demand for those who want a hardcopy.
Publishing is at its most democratic ever. Literally anybody can publish today. You can write your opus on a Google document at a public library (the Bradbury method of Fahrenheit 451 fame, updated for the 21st century, and likely a good deal cheaper), find an editor online, find an artist via Deviant Art, pay them both through PayPal, have them upload the finished products to your DropBox, and upload your finished book to Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, and Nook, all without even owning a computer! The bar for entry to the market is so low as to be nonexistent (a different argument for another post, that).
Now, regarding push, pull and exposure (to hearken back to Kate’s post yesterday),
again: I don’t care what you look like or who you want to do what with those are going to be subject to the usual array of market forces. And really, that’s what the aforementioned Myrmidons hate. They hate that certain authors who happen to be white, straight, manly males (some of whom aren’t any of those things) continue to earn comfortable livings writing science fiction, and all without their permission or approval. They hate that there are people having fun in unapproved ways, reading unapproved stories by unapproved writers, and generally going on about their unapproved lives, all the while ignoring the shrill screeches from certain quarters.
And somehow, in order to appease their wrath, we as readers are to ignore an entire segment of the market (and an opaque segment, at that. Between pen names and the lack of author photos, it’s impossible to know just what an author looks like, let alone who or what they prefer to sleep with) simply because of an arbitrary set of accidents? I don’t have time or energy for limiting my pool of potential reads, and judging by previous comments from you, gentle readers, neither do you.
Note: I’ll have some new cis, white, straight, kilted, bearded writer’s writin’ for y’all in the near future. Stay tuned for specifics to come.