Monday, August 27, 2012

Bow Down Before Me, Fools!

It has come to my attention that some of the world thinks that I am an egotistical jerk because of my response to the person who contacted me regarding the titling of Dead River.

Why, yes, I am. I am SOOOOOO important, being published by a Big-6 publisher, and you all, if you are not, are nothing.

I've found there is no way for me to say who my publisher is without looking like a big, conceited blow-hard, which is why I deleted part of the post. (Thank goodness for screen shots!) Actually, here's the thing: Being published by a major publisher does not make an author feel better than anyone else-- in fact, usually, it scares the crap out of them.

I know, boo-hoo-hoo, you got paid to write and aw it's so awful. Go shut up now, Cyn. I'll admit, that part is awesome! But:

Firstly, when it happens, you think that you're a fluke. You think that just about anyone in the world, even a few monkeys working in a room round the clock for a year, can ALSO be published by a major publisher, if only the stars aligned correctly.

Secondly, because of the first point, you live in fear that you will never have another book published. You likely got an okay advance, and so your life is devoted to making sure that advance earns out to please the "Big Publisher Gods" that you "work" for.  You become a slave to the numbers, because you want to make this your career and you want your bosses to be happy with you and not think you're a big turd. 

Thirdly, because you are not Suzanne Collins, you did not get as much promotion as you would have expected from a large publisher. In fact, you probably got next to nothing. And so while you are sitting at a signing twiddling your thumbs and watching people snatch your bookmarks away and use them as tissues, you think of all the money that YOU YOURSELF put into those bookmarks, and wonder if you should have spent ALL your advance money on promoting yourself, instead of half of it. You set up a blog and a website and a facebook and twitter account even though you don't like all that crap and are a very private person, just because you know that's what they expect of you. You wrack your head trying to think of things to tell people that are interesting, so they don't forget about you and your books, and meanwhile because you are a social nitwit you make it seem like you are a conceited jerk who hates reviewers and writers and basically anyone who might read your book.

Fourthly, also because you are not Suzanne Collins, when your editor tells you to change this, you change it.  When they tell you to go to this place, you go there. When they tell you to spin around in circles while patting your head and rubbing your belly, you do that, too. Because they know what they're doing... they work for a well-known publisher, after all. And I could be a monkey. I don't pretend for one moment that I have any sparkling knowledge or talent that nobody else has. This isn't about "art", and about how sparkly and wondrous and unique your prose is, and how like murdering baby chipmunks it would be to alter it. It's about business. It's about you-and-your-work-are-not-divine. It's about what will sell. And the team at a publisher works hard to figure that out. So I couldn't change the title of Dead River if I wanted to. It's in my publisher's hands. If they thought it would sell better if it were called Poop River, I'd go with it. Reluctantly.

Those are what I can think of off the top of my head. I know I am hugely fortunate to have been published by a major publisher, and NOT the other way around-- it's a dream I've had since I was a kid. Despite the above, it's still wonderful. And it's one I know that anyone can experience, should they choose, with the right amount of luck and patience.  And maybe a monkey.


  1. Cyn, you don't need to justify. You are awesome. Your books are awesome. People will talk about you and judge you and be jealous of you no matter what. You just have to let it roll off you. Your fans will love you regardless, and I am proud to be one of them.

    1. Thanks, Sara. I think that maybe I need to stop blogging, because everything I say seems to be interpreted in a way that I did not intend, and it's getting really tiresome.

  2. Wow. Thank you for telling it like it is and putting it into perspective. There needs to be more of that out there. And I totally understand going on with whatever title they want to put on your book because, well, it's Delacorte! They probably know what they're doing.

    Oh, and as for people who think you're being snotty because you mention you're with a Big Six publisher, well, they're probably just jealous, or else they feel like you should go their publishing route because it justifies their own decisions. Or maybe they had bad experiences with braggy authors and are now hyper-sensitive. The common thread there? None of it is your issue (which doesn't make it any easier to deal with, I know).

    1. Yes, that was why I said I was with a major publisher, not to rub it in this person's face, but to let them know that they've probably encountered this situation a lot more than the average person and know how to handle it.

      But I suppose it isn't my issue, and yet it still has me treading on eggshells every time I post. The internet has me so fed up. I don't get called bad things by people I know. If someone calls me something bad, I want to talk to them, hear their side of the story, smooth things over. I am having a really hard time just walking away and letting people say bad things about me. But I suppose this is the life of a public figure, even a small, inconsequential one like myself-- people are going to judge us, and we just have to stand there and pretend it's okay when that judgement isn't a nice one.

    2. It's so hard, though, isn't it? I'm a definite people pleaser, and if someone misunderstand what I intended, I just want to explain and explain until they understand. But some of them simply want to be offended. It's not easy to take the high road. I'm sure it's also difficult when someone writes a review that shows they didn't understand the book, and that it's their error, since I know authors are supposed to just ignore reviews. (Must be nearly impossible sometimes, though!)

    3. It's taken a few books, but I've gotten good at ignoring reviews-- I get they're talking about the book and not me, and we all have opinions. But when it crosses into attacking me as a person... that stings. Flashbacks to high school. I never figured out how to win then, and I suppose there is no way to win now!