I am Still a Writer Part 3: “Selfie Revolution & Indie War!”

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            My first essay about the treatment of the Indie/Selfie author was short and written in a white hot rage. I am still angry and even though the rage is no longer at a flash point level it is a deeper and more intense feeling. Time has not calmed me down boys and girls it has served to stoke the flames transforming me from a nuclear weapon to an industrial blast furnace. There will be some overlap in this essay with the first one and I make no real apologies for that. If you have been with me for any real length of time you will know that I am sloppy but entertaining writer.

            For the first time in many years I am preparing for war.

            Does that sound overly dramatic?

            It probably is but writing has become the second most important thing in my life (my family will always be number one). I have become extremely serious about my craft in the last year and the things I have been seeing recently have left me open mouthed and angry.

            I recently read a blog from a so called “Book Critic” that got my knickers in the proverbial twist. This person, who does not reveal their real name, seems to enjoy being a complete asshole. I will not name said blog or said reviewer, neither will I provide a single link to the piece of shit he wrote. I refuse to drive traffic in any way shape or form to a person or site I can’t stand. What I will do is give you one of bullshit bullet lists of the “Points” he made.

  • Selfie writers suck
  • Traditional writers will always be superior to Selfie writers (the jackass actually said this, not implied it actually fucking said it)
  • Anyone who doesn’t do things the traditional way is just playing a game and should never call themselves a writer
  • If a Selfie writer was any good they would be traditionally published, hence they are not any good
  • Anyone who reads and enjoys the work of a Selfie writer is a moron
  • The quality of self published work is not worth looking at
  • The self published world is a cesspool (actually I have heard/seen that word used a lot in connection with the Selfie World)
  • If a Selfie cannot afford to pay to have multiple editors and top notch cover artists you have business publishing
  • If you want to be a writer you need to accept that the traditional publishers are going to bend you over and make you take it up the ass (bonus points if you get that reference) and that by accepting it you are paying your dues and earning your place and the adults table
  • Selfie Writers still suck

            I actually want to address the “Playing” and “Adult Table” parts more than anything else. It leaves me confused, hurt, and enraged that many (not all) reviewers, bloggers, and traditional authors SEEM to be of the opinion that this is all a game to us. They act as if what they are doing is important art. In their minds they are the lords of creation who craft on scraped calf skin with liquid gold. Conversely we Selfies are the children with their magic markers and freezer paper.

            It’s sickening.

            It’s elitism.

            It is pissing me the fuck off!

            I work hard and the vast majority of the Selfie writers I know work even harder. We are a hard scrabble lot who for some fucked up reason dream of making a big enough name for ourselves that we attract the attention of the traditional publishing world so we can join them at the big kids table. We want the respect we think comes from having one of the big six or the 2 dozenish mid level publishers acknowledge our existence.

            Fuck’em, I am not playing this game anymore. I have nothing but respect for those of you who still cherish that dream and I wish you nothing but the best. But I do not want it and I don’t fucking need it. If one day a publisher drives a dump truck full of cash to my door and also leaves me with editorial control I may consider a traditional deal. But I want you to remember these words in the years to come.

            I WILL ONLY DO THIS ON MY OWN FUCKING TERMS!          

            There is no reason you should ever take the bullshit that so many editors like to shovel on new authors. It seems that many editors think it is their duty to break a new author and remold them into what they consider a “Good Writer”. My first real editor actually told me that it didn’t matter if I suck he was going to make me into a writer.

            Bullshit, I am a writer asshole.

            Let me make one thing clear. Good editors do the work of saints. A good editor works with the writer to polish and shape the tale into something awesome. Bad editors tend to take a hammer and egg approach, meaning they just smash the tale up and slap it into a frying pan. But a good editor is worth his or her weight in gold pressed Latium.

            The one major advantage Traditional Publishers have over all of Selfie and Indie Publishers is relatively deep pockets. They can afford to hire multiple editors and premium cover artists regardless of quality. They can afford to market and promote work that is mediocre at best.

            We cannot.

            Digital publishing and the refinement of the Print on Demand (POD) process has given us a less biased playing field but we are still fighting an uphill battle. I can afford to hire editors on a case by case basis, and only ONE editor per book. I have been sinking serious money into cover art but it’s still not on the same level as your mid rung traditional publishers.

            But so fucking what?

            Critics, bloggers, reviewers, and traditional writers seem to think that Selfie/Indie writers should be putting out work with the same level of polish as traditional publishers. To them it does not matter if the quality of the tale is superior or even commiserate to anything coming out of the big 6’s presses. All they care about is the level of shine and the people attached.

            What about Indie Cinema?

            What about Indie Music?

            What about Indie Comics?

            Why are the attributes of Indie Music, Movies, and Comics lauded and the Indie Writer is consistently shit on in comparison?

            I’m not sure if there is an answer to these questions. The world of publishing and writing is changing faster than ever before. As the number of books sold by traditional publishers drop the numbers sold by the Indie Writers rise. The game has been changed and the traditional world is scared. There fear has trickled out and caused backlash against those of us who refuse to do things within the established framework.

            We are Indie.

            We are Writers.

            We are the Future.

1 Comment

Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books (www.palladiumbooks.com) and Third Eye Games (www.thirdeyegames.net) before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press (www.gwspress.com). I also work for Fat Goblin Games (www.fatgoblingames.com). In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!