Sheer Enraged Entitlement

Snow Leopard in the Altai Mountain region My hair’s reaching that point where it won’t lie down, it just sticks straight up like I have a sink scrubber on my head. More about that tomorrow, I don’t feel up to writing the whole thing now.

Today will be another 80+ degree day. GO HOME, OCTOBER. YOU’RE DRUNK.

There’s been some talk lately about “An open letter to the self-published author feeling dissed.”

I asked Sutton, “What do you say to the indie writer who reminds you that Walt Whitman was self-published?”

“You are not Walt Whitman,” he said. “The 21st century is different in so many ways from the 19th that the comparison is meaningless. No one is forbidding you from self-publishing, but neither is anyone required to pay attention.”

We both agree that books from indie writers will only increase. “It may engender a whole new stream of book reviewing,” Sutton said, “but I doubt it, because people are more interested in writing self-published books than in reading them. And if old media is so passe, why do they care so much about what we think?” (Washington Post)

This is, in large part, why I’m considering no longer offering editing services. The sheer enraged entitlement of anyone who thinks it’s “easy” to write a book, that they don’t have to study craft or do their due diligence on the industry itself, they can just vomit up whatever wish-fulfillment or fanfic they want and have it immediately make them buckets of money, is bad enough. (I am well aware I am generalising here.) But when that entitlement slops over into the egregiously bad behaviour one sees daily–well, it’s worse than reading slush, and that’s saying something. It’s getting to the point that I’ve refused clients because their expectation is that I’ll introduce them to an agent, give them a magic handshake, or that my job is to kowtow to them instead of to edit.

I realise these are several different issues–the self-publishing shit volcano, the idea that an author who publishes with a trad house is somehow a “gatekeeper” or a “traitor,” the culture of entitlement on the internet, the ease of firing off an email or blog comment when someone’s opinion has pissed you off–but added together, they make me tired.

I also wonder whether people were as entitled before the internet, but this just puts it on display and gives it a venue. Given the plus ca change involved in humanity, it’s not unlikely.

I am SO GLAD I am not reading slush anymore. Even years ago before people could scratch out some bellybutton lint and expect to be paid for it on Amazon, one would get nasty, hate-filled screeds from a certain slice of the slush pile. It’s only grown worse, and seems to be bleeding over into other people who want to get “published” (if you can call it that) by hook, crook, or any other method. I understand wanting to get your story out to the world, I really do. My understanding and compassion, however, does not excuse you treating someone badly, making death threats, or calling you a “toof aced lieing cunt[sic]” like the email that landed in my inbox this morning.

*eyeroll* AND YOU WONDER WHY I TURNED DOWN THE CHANCE TO EDIT YOUR 130K MAGNUM OPUS, SIR. If the only word you can spell correctly is “cunt,” there is not enough money in the world to pay me for the headache.

Anyway. *clears throat* I’m not sure how this is all going to shake out for the industry. But until the market adds some quality control, my time might be better spent knitting.

  • Hillary

    Best comment I saw about this all day came from Marshall Maresca on FB. Chuck had a discussion going about the article:

    “If people want to praise the fact that they don’t have to go through gatekeepers [with author publishing], then good for them, and I’m glad they have a venue to get their work out into the world. But at the same time, if you don’t go through the gates, it’s disingenuous to point to the courtyard that is through the gate and go, ‘Hey, why aren’t I treated the same as the people in there?'”

    It’s a different beast. If you go through X channels to get your books into reader hands, it seems odd that you expect the exact same results/treatment as the people who went through Y channels.

  • martianmooncrab

    the vision of Lili with knitting needles in her hands is terribly attractive.. and scary.

  • I have a problem with people screaming about “gatekeepers.” There may be gatekeepers in publishing, but in the over-a-decade or so I’ve been in the field, I have yet to meet a single one. What I have encountered is quality control, and people making decisions. These are very different than “gatekeeping.”

  • You are awesome. I’m sharing post this on Facebook.

    This is my favorite part:

    “You are not Walt Whitman,” he said. “The 21st century is different in so many ways from the 19th that the comparison is meaningless. No one is forbidding you from self-publishing, but neither is anyone required to pay attention.”

  • wolflahti

    Regarding reading slush, the following is from my FAQ:

    I’m a writer, too. Will you look at my novel and tell me what you think?
    Yes, but only if the writing isn’t so awful that it makes my eyes bleed. My rate is $60 per hour.
    And I’m a slow reader.

    Maybe I should add one about sef-publishing and entitlement.

  • particle_person

    “toof aced lieing cunt[sic]”

    …it might almost have been worth getting that email to read a gem like that. Toof aced! (giggles)

  • Why, I cannot imagine why you turned down the magnificent chance to edit that book.

    “toof aced” bwahaha and here I was wondering what that meant, until I figured out “two-faced”.

  • It’s the last bit–that nobody is required to pay attention–that a lot of people miss, I think.

  • It tends to get a lot of hatemail. Which can be amusing, sometimes.

  • I am sure that person hopes I will regret not taking him as a client.

    I do not think I will.

  • It was all of a piece. I think that was the only word spelled correctly. Sheer entitled choler does tend to short-circuit the part of the brain responsible for spelling.

  • squiggy

    Yes, yes, yes!!! This times a thousand.