Prejudice. That's the top of this exciting Friday Frenzy. Actually it's more about what it's like to be an Independently Published author or an "Indie" as we are referred to. It reminds me of High School. In fact, I'm beginning to think that the entire world is just one big High School experience. Because, after all, teenagers are just young adults trying to find out what it means to be an adult, and High School is their playing field. Isn't it interesting that kids divide up into groups or cliques in High School? The nerds, skaters, jocks, cheerleaders, brains, geeks, weirdos, hipsters, emos, rockers, scenesters, outsiders, preppies, mean kids, etc... Whether you liked it or not, you were in one of those groups. Me? I was in the weirdo, outsider, and geek groups.
Yet don't we do the same thing as adults? We gravitate toward others who act and think like us and shun those who are different. We are just more polite about it (usually). Plus because it's on a much larger scale, we don't have to see the "other groups" on a daily basis. So, don't be surprised that there are cliques among writers too. There's the pulblished, the award wining published, the best-selling published, the unpublished, the pre-published, the once-published, the after-published, the never-going-to-be-published, and the Indies. The published are the elite. They are the jocks and cheerleaders and the popular kids. Before I got published I was a nobody. (At least in the world of publishing) If an editor even bothered to read my query letter requesting that they look at my manuscript, I'm sure they glanced over it rather quickly before going to the next. I received rejection after rejection, most of them written in that canned informal response sent to everyone. I felt like the poor, starving kid standing at the window of a fancy restaurant, staring with hunger at those inside enjoying a decadent meal. Most people, editors and agents and publishers rarely gave me the time of day.
Then I got published. Suddenly I was inside the restaurant eating the food and laughing and mingling with all the fancy people. Publishers and editors talked to me. I was whisked around the country to book signings and conferences. Reviewers contacted me for interviews. I had finally made it. I was one of popular kids for the first time in my life!
Then after 16 books with a well-known publisher (Thank you, Barbour!) I decided to write more of what I wanted to write so I went independent. And suddenly I found myself outside the fancy restaurant again. Now, my writing is the same, my stories are the same, but for some reason, I'm not one of the popular kids anymore. Recently I was contacted by the INSPY Awards to tell me that my novel, Tears of the Sea, had been nominated and they needed to know who was the publisher so they could contact them. I wrote them back, saying how honored I was to be nominated and that I was the publisher. I received a quick reply saying they didn't accept independently published books.
Why am I telling you all this? Not because I'm upset. I'm not at all. I think it's a great study on human behavior, human cliques, who's in and who's out, and how we label people as being worthwhile or being worthless. Based on what? Usually it's only the labels we assigned to them in the first place! In truth, I've reached the age to realize that none of what this world labels me with is important. No title, award, accolade, insult, or degradation defines who I am. I am an author. I write great adventure romances that glorify God. I am His princess warrior and I could care less what club or restaurant or contest I'm allowed into.
So no matter what the world labels you with, ignore them, and listen only to how God labels you!
Short and sweet today. Study the craft!! I get so many notes from young writers who have written a book and want to know what to do next, but when I ask them if they've taken writing courses or read books.. they say no. You may have a great story rattling around in your brain, but you need to learn how to get it on paper in such a way that you won't bore or frustrate your readers. Study the craft. You don't have to go to school, necessarily.. but you must read good books on how to write. That's what I did before I got started. Okay, Enough said. :-)