Twitter Me This

 

So. I had my ass surgery and have mostly returned from the fog of anesthesia and prescribed pain medications. I stopped taking the Vicodin this morning because I was so stoned that my distractions started suffering distractions of their own. I started to take this time to tell you a funny story about this one drug-induced dream I had, but it can wait.

Instead, I want to talk about something I find both funny, and sad.

As a writer of a first book, I am encountering all of the obstacles unknown entities face when attempting to break through publishing barriers, and get into print. As a businessman, I understand the risk undertaken by a business anytime it decides to take on a new product or employee, or a new philosophy. I realize that a publisher takes a huge risk anytime it signs to produce a book.

Publishing a new book requires huge investments of time, labor and contact resources. Likewise, I get it that publishing an unproven writer ratchets the risk of loss on those investments to uncomfortable levels.

As an observer, I have studied publishing to educate myself as to my options as a new writer. I see that new writers are nearly impossible to publish in a standard house. While my personal style is to knock the door down if my knock goes unanswered, I always try to make sure someone is home first. My method always works, unless nobody is home to field my queries, or their doors are too heavily fortified to yield to my boot-jack kicks.

Obviously I’m still a little stoned from the meds because that makes no sense. Let me try again. Standard Operating Procedure for me is to:

  1. Study my options.
  2. Evaluate said options.
  3. Prioritize choices.
  4. Act.
  5. Don’t take “No” for an answer.

 

My research into publishing has led me to the conclusion that it is a jumbled world of disparate business models, old and new. I have found publishing industry people to be just like those in any business- some good and some bad. The establishment has professionals with high quality skills and dedication, and so does the new wave of self publishing companies. Likewise, both have their share of asswipes.

Unlike many of the other first-book writers I have encountered, I’m not angry about any of this. I won’t kick your doors down because I am not going to do any more knocking. I give a shit, because it is controlling my universe of choices, but I don’t take it personally. This isn’t about me, it’s about an industry in turmoil.

Publishing is no different from any other industry that has technology’s bullseye on its back. Like Blockbuster Video, publishing is vulnerable to computer-aided work output. Just like the classic pen-and-paper graphic artist is at risk to the computer graphic whiz kids over to 99Designs.

Imagine spending days laboring at your drafting desk at Disney Studios, sweating to get this animation cell of Micky Mouse, carrying the bucket of water in Fantasia, perfectly synchronized with the previous cell you completed last week. Today’s computer graphic designers can do that in a few minutes.

Everything is changing. Hell, the entire Earth is in a state of rapid flux, it isn’t just publishing.

I accept my plight. I’m OK that I can’t find any agents to read my queries. I know my stuff is weird and different, and that it will be very hard to sell even if it is good reading. But I don’t know if it’s good reading, or not. I won’t know until someone qualified to pass judgment reads it and comments.

It’s OK with me that this endeavor is difficult. What right do I have to expect anything else? So what if it’s hard to get published. The finer the sieve, the smoother the sauce. Quality products are a condition precedent for any industry to survive.

Maybe quality products are conditions subsequent to industry survival as well.

Last week, I commented about some of my publishing industry observations, both positive and negative. I explained how I have come to realize that I am either not a good enough writer to grab the attention of the classical publishing movers and shakers, or I don’t fit the mold of what sells. I’m not already successful, my celebrity is local, not national, and I’m not a vampire or cowboy writer.

Self publishing is my only current option, so I’m taking that route. Steinbeck didn’t have this choice, but thank God it’s available to me. I’m OK with doing it myself, and now excited to learn the process. I think I have found the people to guide me along the way and will report on my experience.

So, get to the point, Mooner, you are boring the shit out of me, right? Here’s the point. Since posting about CreateSpace Publishing last week, I have had my Twitter account blocked from following numerous accounts of publishing establishment professionals. I have been following the Tweets, blogs and writings of various industry people in my efforts to learn about the industry. Some have decided to attempt to keep me from watching them.

As one said to me in a private note that accompanied her de-Twitterating me as her Follower, “We thought you were one of us, Mr. Johnson. How can you support the germ that has invaded fine literature. How can you feed it the money it’s using to consume the flesh of our centuries-old profession?”

Me, I’m wondering if this is one of those “feed a fever” sort of discussions, when she continues. “I reject you, Mooner Johnson. I reject all there is about you.”

Seems some people actually enjoy the process of rejecting writers. But how can she reject me when I made no submission to her? I reject your rejection, Madam. I’ll not stand for it.

The other person, an agent, who wrote to explain why he was rejecting me as a Follower said, “I think you are funny and your insight is spot on. Nobody knows the future of our industry and you might have some hope. But my boss just told me to nix you from my lists. Goodbye, Mooner.”

They’re going to teach me, right? I already set up a dummy Twitter account and listed them to follow. Because of technology, they can’t get rid of me that easily. Kicking down the back door in this case.

Now, I’m starting to sweat and swoon from all of the antibiotics in my system, and my butt is starting to throb, so I’m going to make my point. If I can figure what it is. I want to say something smart. You know, moralize this dealie in such a brilliant way as to make the shitheads who have blocked me hide their faces in shame.

Instead, I’ll just say it’s funny, and sad. It’s funny that I can get such a strong response from someone I said nice things about. And it’s sad that they can reject me because that support isn’t 100%. Block me because you think I’m a moron. Block me because I fray your moral fiber. Toss me from your Twitterland because my writing is unreadable.

But, when you throw me out of your club because I don’t agree with you 100%? That’s what right-wing religious fuckballs do.

I need a cold Carta Blanca.

Manana, y’all.

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