I’m still in limbo, waiting on very worrying medical stuff, waiting to hear if the car that broke down is fixable, waiting on council bureaucrats decisions about whether we have a home or have to demolish it (as a mutually agreed wait, pursuant to the medical issue, I am grateful for the delay, but it is still waiting.) It’s something all trad published – or attempting to be trad published – authors learned. I won’t say we learned to be good at it, or happy about it, or even to do it well, but by heaven, we learned it. The industry is glacial in responses, and worse when it comes to things like paying. Of course when it comes to wanting proofs or corrections, it is entirely another matter.
It’s one (just one) of the reasons I am trying to shift to Indy publishing. Given their behavior of late I am very worried about Amazon’s future conduct (I have always been wary – but there is nothing like seeing blunt force aimed at tens of millions of people – and the courts allowing this proceed to re-emphasize this.) It’s my belief that big tech and the traditional media have underestimated the situation, and assumes that money and dominance means they no longer have to play nice. Maybe I’m wrong, but jamming the lid on, gluing the relief steam valve down, and cranking the heat up never worked out well for the pressure-cooker or the kitchen.
Still, as with so many of us, I am heavily reliant on these companies, and it is ‘easy’ in many ways to stay that way. Or to put it another way, I have grown accustomed and it is hard to find new alternatives – especially right now. But I am working on it. And so should you. Becoming anti-fragile is a hard ask – I thought I’d done a big piece of it with our home. Yes, well, about that… and then of course health issues can strain anyone’s ability to be independent and self-sufficient, and anti-fragile. But the death by a thousand cuts is not just something bureaucrats inflict on you. You can inflict it on big tech and the media too. Every nibble counts.
Don’t buy from people who hate you or support them as little as possible. On the other hand do support those who support you. (One of the things that gets me about the bureaucrat at the council who caused all this grief for me: The island’s business and thereby her job, her livelihood rests on the island doing well. So of course you go and give trouble to the guy who writes a lot about the place, to a large audience.) A friend who is a successful trad author recently explained how he wouldn’t be supporting and promoting a small local-to-him bookshop… because they had refused to carry his books, let alone have him in to sign them. One of the core features of becoming anti-fragile is finding a reciprocating community. Don’t be the guy who doesn’t put in but wants to take out – but don’t carry parasites either.
Secondly, always try to have a plan B and plan C and D and maybe through to G – especially for things that you think are safe and stable. Yeah, health or home are both hard issues to have a plan B to – other than survive. But we’ve got a camper that fits on the back of the ute, as well as lots of (temporary) offers of shelter. Yes it would be hard to live long term like that, but one does what one has to, and it gives us time to make other plans.
But for now I just have to wait.