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Rants of Great Magnitude

Noses Where There Shouldn’t Be

I love my job.

Today the weather is perfect. Sunny, clear blue sky with white puffy clouds. The dewpoint is thankfully low, meaning almost no humidity and it’s a balmy 72 degrees — a great relief from the 100+ temperatures from this Summer of Hell.

The windows are open, the breeze is blowing through the house and I’m working on articles today; tonight I’ll move on to editing. Foster the People are singing on my garage-sale stereo, procured for a mere $2. Life is good.

So, what’s the burr in my panties today? Because you know there has to be one. Well, I have to say it’s not entirely my fault — there were conversations, and then I read my friend Patti Larsen’s post and my irritation runneth over. And I just have to make some pertinent points:

1. Publishing a book doesn’t mean you are suddenly rolling in the money. Especially if you self-publish. Bitch, please. Saying something like that just highlights your ignorance of how the writing business actually works. Like Patti says (and it’s been my mantra for years) this is a MARATHON, not a SPRINT. Meaning, you might earn some decent cash over the span of months or years, but you don’t publish and take a wheelbarrow to the bank the next day. I wish.

This is more likely what's in my wheelbarrow.

2. People don’t take into consideration the fact that successful writers (notice the distinction, okay? Don’t make me point it out again) have put in thousands of hours learning their craft, practicing their skills and falling flat on their ass. Hitting it big right out of the gate is rare and you will probably have a better chance of being hit by lightning. Seriously. Not that it doesn’t happen, but the stars have to be aligned just right. The vast majority of successful writers have worked hard to get where they are, and work hard to stay there. They’ve taken second jobs, worked ungodly hours, made time at five am to throw words at the paper and hoping they stick while juggling a full-time job, family and personal relationships.

This is more like what we do. It's dangerous and we sweat.

3. In addition to this, successful writers have also invested in their BUSINESS. That’s right, you heard me. Writing for a living is a BUSINESS. Oh, there’s art and skill and talent, of course — but if you don’t treat your writing career as a business, you’re not going to make it. This means you are going to have to make some sacrifices along the way. Equipment, books, workshops, conferences, membership to professional organizations, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s editing, book covers, formatting, ARCS…so much more. If you’re not willing to invest in your business, in improving your skills as much as you can, you’re making this ten times more difficult for yourself. Don’t believe me? Fine. I’m the one making a living as a writer. How about you?

Tell you what. You don't dissect me, and I won't dissect you. Deal?

4. As far as asking me how much money I make or how many books I’ve sold, my advice is…DON’T. Don’t ask me or any other writer that kind of question, because it’s rude, invasive, and none of your fucking business. I would never ask YOU such a personal question, no matter what your profession is. How would you feel if someone asked you how much you have in your bank account? My kids don’t even know this. My boyfriend doesn’t know. And I don’t know this about them. It’s none of my business. No one but ME knows my financial status, it’s classified and unless you have the decoder ring and the password, you aren’t gonna know either. I’m the one that pays my bills. I’m the only one privy to that info. It blows my mind that just because you’re a writer, people think they have the right to stick their nose right in the middle of your personal business. So don’t be a rude fucktard.

GET OUT.

In conclusion, mind your own business and I’ll mind mine.

Caveat Emptor vs. Caveat Venditor

WARNING: This is a true NettaRant. You might want to wear a helmet.

ā€œIā€™m just feeling kind of truthsome right now. Life is too damn short for ifs and maybes.ā€ ~ Capt. Mal Reynolds of the Serenity

Instead of your regularly scheduled programming in which I feature some form of Fabulous Fiction, I have instead decided to shake things up in more ways than one.

Yep, it's likely to get thick. And I'm pretty sure it's not going to bring any boys to the yard.

As you may well be aware, I am all for supporting the self-publishing wave, also known as the Indie Movement. (Although some contest the moniker, “indie”, as it really applies to a different aspect of the publishing business…still, I’m not one to split hairs.) I believe passionately in self-publishers coming in to their own without the stigma of “if you’re self-published, your work sucks hot rocks.” That being said, some self-publishers are making it VERY difficult to don the pom-poms and rah it up.

Oh, not on purpose, I’m sure. Pretty sure. Right now it seems like it’s the “American Idol” of publishing, and like American Idol, some people are just not right for the stage, and that’s my nice way of expressing it. It’s a buyer beware world out there — I’m not saying it hasn’t always been that way, but at least with the Big 6 as gatekeepers you had some assurance of quality. (You can argue about their control issues another time. I’m on to something else right now.) In this Wild West Frontier of self-publishing, as a reader you have to do your own due diligence as far as sniffing out quality material to read.

Okay. Now that I’ve laid the groundwork, I need to vent. Consider this your wake-up call.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S GOOD AND HOLY, PEOPLE, GET YOUR SHIZ-NIZ TOGETHER!

It’s not just a “let the buyer beware” world out there, it’s a “let the seller beware” world! Wake up! I understand you want to jump on the bandwagon and present your work to the world, but have some patience! Is it your best work? Could it be better? Have you EDITED your piece? Have you hired a professional editor or just let your sister who has a degree in liberal arts have a whack at it? Did you put it away for a few weeks to look at it with fresh eyes, or did you mindlessly throw it up on Smashwords or Amazon so fresh off the word processor it’s bleeding from a thousand knife wounds? You guys are KILLING ME.

And while I’m at it, let’s take a look at formatting. Is it formatted properly? Is it consistent, or do you have flawed formatting throughout the entire novel? You know, like it starts off with indents, then goes to block, then back to indents? Are there proper spaces between paragraphs? ARE THERE EGREGIOUS TYPOS?? Did you even bother to put it through a simple spell or grammar check?

Am I perfect? Oh, hell no, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that. It’s not perfection you’re going for here, but at least aim in the general vicinity!

Oh my GAWD, you make me stabby, cranky and want to spank you so hard you can’t sit down at your word processor for a YEAR.

Don't make me get out the whip. Because I WILL do it!

I have seen so much potential absolutely RUINED by LAZINESS and that makes me NUTZ and quite frankly, it pisses me off. As a self-publisher myself, every one of you that is too damned lazy to make sure you’re putting out a quality product is adding to the very stigma you’re trying so hard to dispel! I know you’re in a hurry, I understand why you’re in a hurry, but slow the hell down! Will it really kill you to take an extra few weeks to make sure your work is polished, professional and ready to fly?

If it’s not, you run a real risk of wrecking any chance you might have of a successful launch, and instead you’ll be thinking oh, this self-publishing stuff is bullshit, just like you think the Big 6 is “The Man” and keeping you down, when in fact it’s your own fault! If this is any example of the kind of material you have sent to “traditional” publishers, it’s no wonder they kicked you out on your ass. And if your baby is NOT ready, then roll up your damned sleeves and DO THE WORK.

You’re doing even more damage than that. You are tearing down the credibility of every single writer out there in the self-publishing process who actually works their ass off to make sure what they produce is as good as anything from the Big 6. It’s aggravating, defeating and embarrassing.

I realize this post is not going to make me popular at parties, but someone had to say it. Go ahead, make your voodoo dolls and stick pins in me, but in your heart of hearts you know I’m right or you wouldn’t be so annoyed at reading this.

Go ahead. It wouldn't be the first time.

I am really frustrated (no, Netta, really??) by starting off reading a book by an indie and being unable to continue because of the above-mentioned flaws. I am frustrated because many of these pieces have great potential, but have sadly fallen victim to the author being in a big fat hurry or just not caring. And if YOU don’t care, why should I? That’s right, I don’t. I’m not liking your damned page, I’m not liking your damned book, I’m not re-posting, re-twittering or re-anythinging your work if you can’t actually give a rat’s ass about what you’re putting out there. I’m sorry. I just can’t do it. If that makes you hate me, oh well. I’m over it.

Self-publishing is not the easy way — NEWSFLASH — there is no easy way! Unless you realize that you’re not going to be successful and you’re just clogging up the works like a hairball in the drain.

Hire out what you can’t handle, such as formatting, book covers or editing and if you can’t afford to hire it out (and BELIEVE ME, I am so in touch with that!) then impose on good friends who do know how or learn it yourself. Stop pimping writers who aren’t ready. And for the sake of all of us out here, buyers and sellers alike, have enough respect for yourself, the profession and the potential fans to take your time to put out the very best you can.

Otherwise, get the fuck off the stage.