Sunday, April 8, 2012

Don't Go Breaking My Heart (Or Anyone Else's)

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about how writing made me a better person.  Normally I'd grab the link for you, but I just "upgraded" to Blogger's new format and at the moment I have no idea how to do anything. (I was lucky to find the "compose" button. Why does everything have to change every 3 months?)

Anyway, in that post (which I believe was called "Writing Made Me A Better Person") I talked about how I came into my writing career expecting every other author to be out to get me.  What I found instead was the kindest, most generous group of people I'd ever encountered.  Other writers helped me tremendously in the beginning, when I didn't know what I was doing.  Other authors interviewed me on their blogs and helped promote my work, which is why I've always provided similar opportunities here at Donuts & Desires.  (Check out the tab that says "Advertise With D&D" for free as well as paid promotion options available to everyone.)

In the beginning, my writing was weak.  I'm the first to admit it.  I would never pretend that I came into my career in a state of perfection, or that I'm anywhere close to that now.  Whether you're a writer or you do something else for a living, think about your first day on the job.  Hell, think about your first year, your first five years.  When I worked in business I was definitely one of those people promoted beyond my level of competency, going in to the office every day thinking, "I wonder if my clients realize I don't know what the fuck I'm doing." 

Anyway, back to the early days of writing.  In my first year or so writing for the erotica market, most of my stories were rejected, and the ones that were accepted required huge overhauls and rewrites.  Luckily, I was able to work with some incredible editors.  In its initial incarnation with Dark Eden Press, my first ebook The Birthday Gift went through three grueling rounds of edits.  I swore I would never write again, but I learned so much through the editing process that I gained back my confidence.

And the other part of that confidence came from fellow authors, who were always willing to help. Always.  They were unbelievable kind and encouraging even as they helped shape me as an author and improve my craft while maintaining my voice.  I owe them a debt of gratitude I couldn't ever hope to repay.

Not to hearken back to the good old days, seeing as they were only 5 years ago, but lately I've seen camaraderie among authors disintegrating.  

It makes me very sad.

I see this group of authors attacking that group of authors.  I see authors who sit with perfect posture attacking authors who write while standing on one foot.  Authors who take one route to publication attack authors who choose another route.

Help used to be offered everywhere.  Now all I see is attack, attack, attack.  "They suck, their books are crap, they shouldn't be allowed in our playground. Banish them all!"

If I were entering the publishing sphere today as an author standing on one foot and I saw all the terrible, hateful bile being spewed by authors with perfect posture, I would turn tail and run.  Yes, I'm really that sensitive.  

Without the support I received from other industry professionals, I wouldn't have had the confidence to TRY improving my work.  I would have stopped writing.

No, I'm not saying I believe all authors should be coddled like "kids today" who can do no wrong (ha!), but I am saying that nobody ever improves without encouragement.  We writers get enough shit thrown at us in the course of a business day.  (Like, ever notice how if your book changes someone's life they write you a lovely email, but if a reader wants a fatwa called against you they post it to Amazon?) The last thing we need is factions attacking factions, and feeling right and good in cutting others down to size. 

Authors, we all live in this glass house together.  Why are we throwing stones?

Compassionate Hugs,

Giselle Renarde 

1 comment:

  1. Most people who say mean things are just scared. Scared that someone else will do better than them, scared that their audience will be 'stolen' by a 'less deserving' author - as if readers aren't bright enough to work out what they enjoy, or as if they're incapable of reading the works of more than one author.

    That kind of scarcity mentality isn't healthy or correct. In the authorship game, a rising tide really does float all boats. Reaching out to other authors with sincere compliments - and encouraging one's own readers to become authors themselves if they aspire to do so brings more passion, more creativity and more happiness to an author's life.

    Those who are sniping and bitter aren't enjoying their work as much as they could be. They're not enjoying the companionship they could be and ultimately, they're missing the point.

    On a side note, your 'fatwa' comment made me giggle, so true!