I had a question to my post on a PPW post, but my response is too large for the Reply section, and I’m not going to whittle it away, so I’m posting it here. I apologize in advance if doing it this way offends anyone, it’s not a blog ploy, I just need to say what I need to say, and the Reply section won’t accept anything over 4,096 characters.
Here is my reply to Chris Mandeville, of Delve Writing:
It’s a mindset, Chris. A Damaging Culture.
My beef IS partially with Jennifer, if you wanna get right down to it. Or perhaps, with what she SAID.
Here is her paragraph:
“And here’s the deal: whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, if you want to sell your book, everyone expects you to do the marketing. Yep you. Even if you get the Big NY Deal, you are still expected to do the marketing because, frankly, there is no reason to gamble on a new or mid-list writer, which means little-to-no marketing money. And who wins? The guy with the biggest motivation and perseverance. They guy who reads the field and decides how to make the plan.”
Nowhere in this para is “This is what the publishers believe” or “According to publishers and their Bean Counters….” No, it is stated as her own opinion. Coming from HER beliefs. You really want to roll up some shirt sleeves? It was stated as an object of fact and slipped under the radar because the rest of the post was not about that statement, but it had already been said, and was now unconsciously RE-INSERTED into everyone’s consciousness—except mine. I utterly and immediately rejected it. So, no, I do not agree with her statement, phrasing, or otherwise. I caught the intentional or unintentional subliminal message spread to the masses.
When someone in a “position of authority” (i.e., a blog writer, author talking about same) puts forth words about a subject, others read it and agree with it or not. But the person has put forth an IDEA, a CONCEPT, and whether or not agreed to by others, or right or wrong, the concept is further ingrained into the psychic gestalt of the weltanschauung under discussion. She perpetuated a line of thought without so much as a second thought. Spouted a line said by so many others, that I heartily disagree with, and she said it in a public forum. And, I’m sorry I have to say, was this line not questioned by reviewing eyes? If it was seen and not addressed, this is what I’m saying…it’s ingrained in everyone to be a truism, when it simply is not.
I have “nothing personal” against Jennifer in and of herself, nor in her marketing aspect of her post (yes, it was a good one otherwise), but I do take it personal when a “fellow author” continues to so tritely and dismissively put forth concepts that are frankly injurious to all writers except the Knighted Few. Believing in this line of thought comes along with root assumptions that are too numerous to get into here. But to say something like “…there is no reason to gamble on a new or mid-list writer…” without exception(s)/qualification(s), and to a wide audience as PPW/the Internet, which includes many who may be new to this wacky business, utterly stuns me! Yes, I’ll go so far as to say INFURIATES me. Does it not bother anyone else? Do all of you out there really believe this? Jennifer, do YOU really believe this? Additionally, “…And who wins? The guy with the biggest motivation and perseverance. They guy who reads the field and decides how to make the plan.” How can you say something like that (given the inference to the previous sentiment), that is utterly dismissive to the Unknighted Few? There are many out there–geesh, look at our own Beth Groundwater. She IS the Poster Girl for “motivation and perseverance”; she is THE ONE I always think about when it comes to such things, to pushing-pushing-pushing. To me, she IS the standard for what all authors should ASPIRE to, for crying out loud. Unfortunately, many of us have day jobs and simply cannot do what she has done. And (furthermore) to dump on those authors (like me) who cannot do what she’s has done by tritely saying we don’t want it enough/dedicated enough/<inserted comment>, is (IMHO) a punishable offense and deserving of jail time and real hard labor. That’s where the Big Guns should come into play, helping out the UnKnighted Few with THEIR resources (who they HIRE for this stuff, who have DEGREES/experience in doing this stuff), and not further lumping responsibility totally on our already packed and stretched thin shoulders.
To take your concern, Chris, “about the money.” It’s far more than just about whether or not huge corporations have or nave not money. It’s the damaging CULTURE, the incorrect MINDSET. Money is only a tool, an EXTENSION of one’s beliefs. They’re reluctant to spent the money because they don’t want to spend time and effort in selling something NEW. As much as execs talk the talk, they do not walk the walk. One issue rolls directly into another. I know some are stingy with money, but in the mindset of “spend money to make money” why the reluctance (let’s just use the word that really matters, here, they are UNWILLING) of funneling not just money, but RESOURCES to unknown authors? Isn’t it obvious they are the ones who truly need the resources? It’s about the perceived return. “They” don’t feel they will get “the return.” But new authors won’t get the return BECAUSE no resources are thrown their way! Vicious Cycle! If that’s the case, then don’t take on the author! It’s not a simply pat answer, they have or don’t have money. Of course they HAVE money, they’re monstrous corporations. But of course there’s “little-to-no marketing money” because bean counters and execs ARE throwing all their money on “sure bets.”
Chris (and Jennifer), can you not see what such a seemingly small, dismissive statement, really impacts? Most may not think that one liner through, or give it another thought, may take it at face value, and it will continue to perpetuate the injurious culture that is already out here…but that IS changing. I do not mean to be insulting to Jennifer nor her beliefs, but sometimes there just isn’t a nice, fluffy way to address an issue. If we all SAY we want change, then we have to ACTIVELY (key word, here) combat for that change. We have to change the way we look and ACCEPT a status quo that is clearly not working [for authors]. You want change, change your mindset, the words you choose, the words you write, the “knowing acceptance” you nod your heads to. Give yourselves some credit! Do not blindly accept something just because I—or anyone else—says something in a public forum. You see something you don’t agree with, to the best of your POWER take issue with it (hopefully, respectfully, as I hope I am also doing). I don’t know if Jennifer actively believes what she said, or simply said it because it’s WHAT SHE’S BEEN TOLD.
But that’s my point.