Stockholm Syndrome

I should be writing. I need to finish this book before I head to NYC the first week of February, but something has been bouncing around in my head for a week or so.

It started with this post in the Huffington Post called The Myths and Realities of Self-Publishing written by the CEO of Kensington Publishing. Some of you might remember my mini rant on Facebook about how I felt about the information in this post, and to be frank, I and many other authors/people/llamas felt that there was a ton of misinformation on the realities of self-publishing, which is like the definition of ironic. I’m not going to get into all that, but I do suggest you read Laura Kaye’s post HERE which goes into detail about the misinformation.

Fast forward to last week or so where an author did a very honest post that–yeah, I’m gonna say it–the vast majority of people sort of missed the point and turned her into the poster child for anti-traditional publishing. When in reality, she was just kind of explaining why she can’t give away a ton of free crap all the time.

Anywho, that post spawned THIS post, which kicked off so many posts you’d think a damn mogwai was fed after midnight, and we ended up with THIS and THIS and THIS and there was even surveys created about how much money an indie author vs. a traditional author makes, which was inspired by Steve’s HuffPost article.

And I keep getting repeatedly drawn into the comments on these posts–and I seriously hope Steve stops responding to blog posts, because I have a book to write and I find this whole thing amazingly distracting. For realz.

But there was one thing that stood out to me more than the fact that the only thing Steve’s responses to authors seemed to solidify was the disconnect between what a publisher thinks their authors feels like and what the author actually feels like– I’m pretty sure there’s eventually going to be an Internet meme created to capture this.

But like I said. It’s not that. It’s ALL THE COMMENTS.

And what I mean by ALL THE COMMENTS is the downright hostility toward other people who make their own decisions based on contracts and the infinite number of variables that NONE of these people are privy to. Such as equaling a traditionally pub’d author to someone suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

Yep.

Stockholm. Syndrome.

Or equaling the relationship between an author and their publisher to that of an abusive relationship the author keeps going back to.

That was classy.

And I could continue on about  the flaming insults and the insinuations from authors about other authors who do work with publishers, saying they are basically morons with no sense of business and should be patted on the head.

And we all know there are authors who think those who self-publish do so because they write crap books and are cluttering the market with their unsavory little piles of glittery poop that will make it harder for readers to find their SHINE LIKE A DIAMOND masterpieces.

Or they’re just lazy. Because writing a book you self-publish is like totes-ma-goats different and easier than writing like the same book that sells to New York.

Or those who self-publish just don’t like rejection. Like they’re so scurred of it that they just self-publish and, I guess, pray that no one leaves a bad review and rejects it??? Okay. I don’t even follow that train wreck of a thought process.

Seriously, ya’ll, what the fuck ever.

As everyone knows, I’m a huge supporter of self-publishing. Duh. I’ve self-published. I’ve also worked with small, independent presses. I’ve also worked with major, traditional houses. And I also plan on self-publishing again. I’ve had success, whatever qualifier I personally deem as success with small presses, bigger guys, and self-publishing. I like to think I’m smarter than the average person suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and smarter than the average person writing glittery, golden poop. So I think I make some good business decisions every now and then.

So I like to think my next  sentence comes from someone who’s had and will continue to have a foot on either side of what is not an imaginary line between Traditional vs. Indie.

There is no one way to publish a book that is right or wrong, or smarter or dumber than the other way, and just because you’ve found success or haven’t doesn’t make you the voice of GOD when it comes to publishing.

It does not matter that YOU made hundreds of thousands or millions on your advance or in your royalties. It does not matter that YOU made hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions self-publishing. It does not matter that YOU made below minimal wage with a traditional publisher. It does not matter that YOU self-published a book and it faded into the night like a really bad writing cliche. None of this makes YOU or ME an expert on the many facets of publishing or where we can get up on the oh-so high pedestals that are so high up there that it must be a wee bit chilly that YOU know what is better for someone else when it comes to their publishing career.

There. I said it. Seriously.  No one knows everything. Writing and publishing books is not what I’d consider an accurate qualifier to be telling people how to make their OWN path in publishing while body slamming the other side like a drunk frat brother everyone is embarrassed of.

Here is where I use numbers, because numbers are fun.

1. Money isn’t everything.

And yet this is what really seems to get people going.

Now, I ain’t gonna lie. Money is great. Money is nice in a dolla makes me holla, Honey-Boo-Boo style, but not every single author makes every career decision based on how much money they’re going to get out of the book. And not always making decisions based on money doesn’t make an author a bad business person, but probably makes them more well rounded with longer longevity in the industry. I’m going to use myself as an example here. If I went into my first book contract thinking only about money and then deciding against that contract because it wasn’t throwing dollar bills at me like I was the hottest stripper in the club, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I didn’t self-publish Wait for You to make money. I self-published that book because I basically got rejected. I also didn’t take the highest offer in the auction when I sold Wait for You, because money truly isn’t everything when it comes to making career choices.

2. You’re a sell out. And you’re lazy.

Once again, using myself as an example.  I chose to sell Wait for You to a publisher because it was the right thing I felt that I needed to do for my career. It’s not selling out. There are things outside of money that publishers can provide you that self-publishing either can’t or makes it hard to do, like for example, print. There is still many, many readers out there that don’t read e books. And so what if I or any other author wants to be able to walk into a bookstore and see our book? How does that desire effect the authors that don’t care about that? It doesn’t. At least you’d think. P.S. They can also provide you with a shit ton of money that also makes it worth your while. Just saying.

Another thing is, the general public and other authors, are not privy to every contract and every call concerning a book or the future of a series or the author’s career. To make assumptions based off of absolutely no knowledge of why a person signed with a publisher or decided to go the indie route is really kind of disturbing. Like as disturbing as equating contracts to abusive relationships.

If an author decides they don’t want to work with a publisher or they don’t want to shelf a book that’s been rejected, that doesn’t make them lazy. Self-publishing is hard. All you traditional authors out there looking down your noses at them? Try formatting a effin book for loading. I think you’ll find a new respect for them. I tried it for two seconds and was all like…

I hired someone who apparently likes torturing themselves.

Each decision an author makes in terms of their career is the decision they feel is right for them, if that means signing with a NY publisher, a small press, or going indie, and that’s all that matters in the end, because really, other people’s opinion’s on it are pretty much just people talking from their asses. I hate to say it. You’re not better than them because of your choices. You are not a special snowflake.

3. Can’t we all like hug one another and shitz?

Being an author is kind of hard just, you know, writing lots of words and then taking those words, polishing them into that glittery golden poop, that do we really need to be so disrespectful of each others decisions when it comes to what we do with our OWN words? Like isn’t the whole process, going to New York or going indie or sitting down at the computer for the day and not hanging out on Twitter all day, seriously not stressful enough that we don’t need to make it harder on each other? Why is there author on author hate based on the method of publication? Why isn’t their more support for one another, because in the end EVERY book no matter the method of getting into a person’s hands, creates MORE readers. And isn’t that really what writing is about? Hell. Isn’t that why we’re all writing in the first place?

4. Mind your beeswax, yo.

The amount of time that it took me to write this post probably equals to half a chapter or time I could’ve spent honing my craft, or hell, playing Mario Brothers on the computer, because honing my craft is hard and tiresome and I’m lazy  and currently in an active abusive relationship with lots of publishers, so I’d probably should’ve spent this time drinking or something.

Being a hybrid author is soooooo harrrrrrd.

I can’t imagine the amount of time some of these people spend dishing out their opinions on why their method of publishing brings all the readers to the yard more than someone else. Like, I don’t know, if an author didn’t come on  the blog and ask for advice, can’t we all just mind our own beeswax and actually focus on writing a wee bit more? I mean, if your chosen path works for you, that’s great, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone else.

Radical concept, right?

Everyone has different experiences with publishers and self-publishing. For every bad story about a publisher, there’s one just as bad about self-publishing. The world, and especially the industry is not perfect.

Another radical concept.

And for glittery, golden poop’s sake, can we stop acting like publishers are the equivalent of the anti-Christ and that self-publishing is killing the whole industry? Or that Amazon is going to eat our little, literary babies? Because I’m going to say this again, publishers big and small, self-publishers, and Amazon, all get books into the hands of people which creates more readers which benefits everyone.

So in closing….

There are many ways to be happy with your career in publishing. There is no one right way. There is no one answer for every book or every author. But the one thing is for sure, assuming that you know the right way and the only way is the wrong way.

And you’re probably end up coming across as either an insecure or bitter douche canoe.

45 Responses to “Stockholm Syndrome”

  1. Giggles. This post is FAB. I read the entire thing and for some reason, that makes me happy :D Also, this post makes me happy. You go Glen Coco! ;)

  2. Jen – BRAVO!!! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Robin

  3. Lauren Blakely says:

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

  4. Bravo. Every author is different. Like my critique partner says, “Each author has to do what is right for them.” Everybody has their preferences. Some people prefer more traditional/small press route, while others prefer self-publishing. Either way, if readers enjoy the novel, that’s what matters.

  5. Thanks for this wonderful post. I think a lot of people tend to focus on how the story is delivered rather than the story itself. It doesn’t really matter in the end if you prefer traditional and I prefer self-published. I like pizza hut and you like domino’s. I like mario and you like sonic the hedgehog. The fact of the matter is that we love the stories, and the pizza, and the games! And we should all be finding a way that is both lucrative and enjoyable for all parties involved.

  6. If I didn’t love you before, I do now. Awesome post. :)

  7. K.R. Wilburn says:

    as an author who both read that post by Wendy Higgins (which was epic by the way and despite the load of crap she’s probably taken for it, was really an attempt to show her fans she’s not a cheapskate who hates them) and just went through all the hassle of sorting my options and signing my first contracts, I cosign the hell out of this. Do what’s right for you and stop worrying so much about everyone else. That huff post article didn’t turn me off all traditional publishing, just with Kensington because I don’t care for sanctimonious drags.

    So, can we all go back to writing great stories and reading better stories and dicking around on twitter?

  8. Lori says:

    Ummmm Awesome. Did I mention you’re awesome????

  9. Carol Kunz says:

    Bravo, take a bow for that truly Awesome Post!!♥♥♥♥

  10. For this, ye shall receive three LOLZ and one standing ovation.

    The new writer mantra for 2014: Shut up and write.

  11. My life choices . . . I chose Dean. And his car. lol! I love Supernatural!

    But seriously, I’m with you. Chilax, peeps. I have readers. You have readers. It’s not like prom when only 1/4 of the class is male and we have to have a b**** fight to get a date. There’s plenty to go around for everyone.

  12. And my date is Dean. SO BACK OFF!

  13. Dotti says:

    YES! The voice of reason.

  14. April says:

    OMGosh Jennifer! You nailed it! I totally agree!
    What’s crazy is I’m one of those in-between readers! I have over 200 books on my iPad, but I have over 300 on my book shelf in my bedroom. I don’t know what I’d do without all of them… Only a small handful are both e-books & traditional hard/paper back. But the reason I started reading again (after being an ignorant teen and all) was because of a paper back book on clearance! – & I never would’ve gotten to read the whole series if I hadn’t had Amazon…
    Both ways I’ m sure are profitable, & both way make people read. I love opening up a new book & the smell that comes with the first page of words… Especially when it’s a book that was anticipated! Nothin’ like it!
    But I equally love when my Kindle app syncs, & all of a sudden, there’s this new book, that I forgot I even pre-ordered! AHHH!!! I get to have a reason to stop what I’m doing – & read it! Occasionally I even put it down for a minute or two & finish what I was doing to start with! ;)
    The point is…. Please! – From a readers stand point – & A future Writer as well (I just quit my job to write full time! <– yup! Go ME!) I would say to each their own, & mind your own beeze wax!
    Who cares how the books get to us readers! – Just get them here!

    ;)
    (ok, getting off your soap box now!) A

  15. Bravo! And this is one of the many reasons I love you – the main one being your characters… but yeah, bravo!

  16. I stay away from posts about indie vs. self vs. traditionally published books for the above reasons! Thanks for ranting so I don’t have to. Haha! Keep on writing, lady. We need more authors who are willing to brave these shark-infested waters with a bit of clarity and snarky commentary.

  17. hayley says:

    Jennifer there is a reason why you are my favourite author and one of my role models.. because of posts like this. You nailed it perfectly. You are amazing and the mantra is something I am so sticking to… Shut up and Write.

    I love you and your books and your rants… you are just amazing!

  18. AL Parks says:

    Love it! Readers devour books at an unbelievable rate…and do not buy just one or two books by their most favorite authors. They read lots and lots and lots of books by many different authors. I doubt many of them even check to see if a book they are interested in buying is self-pubbed, small press or from the big boys. They. Don’t. Care. They only care about whether or not they wasted their money on a book that sucks…

  19. Janine says:

    Yes. Yes. And… Yes. You are awesome. Love this post!

  20. Luc says:

    Wow, totally agree with you and agree with the comments that you are awesome.
    Love you Jen! :)

  21. Larissa says:

    Preach it, girl! I <3 you.

  22. I love you.

    SO FREAKING MUCH.

    Is there any way we can auto-send this column to everyone on the ‘net?

    :)

  23. Crane Hana says:

    Yes, a thousand times yes. I’m tired of the vitriol spewing from both sides, because it’s the same nonsense I have been hearing for years. Every book and author are different, and there logically cannot be one right way that fits every situation. I commercially published my debut novel. I’m getting ready to self-pub something else. I have dozens of author friends who do both.

    The only path in this game that I personally find suspect is vanity/subsidy publishing. If I have to market my own work anyway, I’d rather self-publish than give someone $5K *and* royalty income.

  24. Can’t disagree with a word you said so thank you for saying it.

  25. Stacey Lynn says:

    Love Love Love

    Thank you so much for taking a break from your writing, twittering, and Mario computer playing to set the world right again.

  26. Tristina says:

    Loved this. I agree with all of it. I wish people would calm down and focus on creating amazing stories instead of sneering at anyone who does it differently.

  27. That was the single best thing I’ve read on the SP/Trade P issue. By which I mean, that’s one of the few I’ve seen that is more of a solution than part of the problem. Brilliant.

  28. So much common sense packed into one post!! Thank you.

  29. THANK YOU.

    *Stands and applauds*
    I read those same insulting comments and was like, “No. Just…no.”

    *hugs*

  30. Jessica S. says:

    Very nicely put!

  31. MFlorencia says:

    I.LOVE.THIS.POST
    You are amazing, you know that?

  32. Sarah Allan says:

    Well said! Thank you for writing this post–and doing it so awesomely.

  33. You Go, Girl!
    Ethnocentrism is never pretty – how amazing that social concept has infected publishing?
    Thanks for calling everyone on the carpet, Jennifer.

  34. Jen says:

    I think, too, that the loudest voices are the most successful ones which makes it seem like all self published authors are making more money than anyone else but what’s true for trad published authors is true for self published. A very small margin are going to be making huge pots and some will be making smaller pots and some will be making little bear pots.

    We never hear from the smaller pots or the little bear pots because it just isn’t as sexy so we assume that self publishing is littered with people making new car money every month. It just isn’t so.

  35. Wendy Logsdon says:

    Drop it like it’s hot Sista girl! Love it! …and uh #BitterDoucheCanoe Brilliant!

  36. Jinni says:

    Please send this to Steve Z. by carrier pigeon. Thanks.

  37. Dee M. says:

    I heart you. Disregarding the fact that I agreed with each and every single word written in this post…I’ll focus instead on the fact that I would have converted to any religion of your choosing solely due to the “No No No No” GIF. BTW – WTF is that thing?

  38. I love you, Jen. :D This post was awesome and loved the gifs. I agree with you. It shouldn’t matter. We have choices in publishing. You do what works. Stop the hate train and deal. You know?

  39. Nina Levine says:

    LOVE this post!! Love, love, love!!

  40. So true! Thanks for saying this. I don’t think there is a wrong way to publish. There are infinite variables involved. Everyone just needs to calm down and write!

  41. Yvonne van der Bent says:

    Wow. I feel like someone should say “Can I get an AMEN!” Well, amen Jennifer. Nicely spoken!

  42. Cathy Clamp says:

    From all of us hybrid authors out there, thank you! Very well said. :)

  43. Lynne Matson says:

    OMG- Jennifer, you’re awesome…like this kick-butt post. :) So well-said.

    And “YOU ARE NOT A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE?”? Might be my fave line EVAH.:) (and fave gif.:D)

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