Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fools and laypeople

They always say "Don't argue with fools. A passerby won't be able to tell who's who."

While that may be true, I think there's a better reason not to argue with a fool. You can never win. You see, when a fool is convinced of something, nothin you say will unconvince them.

Sometimes this same thing happens to the layperson. People who are not familiar with the ins and outs of a field, just don't understand why things need to be done a certain way. You might remember I told you about a friend's problem with a friend sabotaging her diet. Her friend didn't get how important it was for her ALWAYS to follow the plan.

It's important for me to publish traditionally. I don't have any standard but my own, and other aspiring writers. My neighbour telling me that I'm good is not quite the same as someone who edits Stephen King telling me. For me, traditional publishing means I AM good enough. Laypeople don't get that.

I know that I am not the self-publishing type. I don't sell well. I feel guilty about saying stuff like "You should spend your money on this thing." If I do ever say that, it's because I really, really, really believe in it. The most I would probably say is, "Look I have a book." And I would end up with only friends, family and a few blog followers buying a copy. Laypeople don't get that.

I don't know why you write. But I know why I do. I'm not in it for the money (clearly- but it would be nice to make some). I write because I have stories to tell. And I have dreams for my stories, as you'd have dreams for a child. I want them to go out into the world and be known. I want people to recommend them to one another. I want people to quote them. I'd love for classes to study them some day. And I would feel like I'd done my job if even one person in the whole world realised something new about life, through reading one of my books. Laypeople don't get that.

I want writer's fame. Where everyone knows your name but they couldn't identify you in a line-up. I want to do Oprah book clubs. I want to cut ribbons on Libraries. I want to present a Literary prize at my MFA Alma Mater (when I have one). Laypeople don't get that.

I'm not against self-publishing, or POD (Print on Demand) or vanity publishing. But they require a plan if you're going to be successful. I want to be successful and I'm not much for plans. I'm more of a "jump and hope I remembered to pack the parachute" type. If it's for you, go for it. If not, don't argue with the laypeople. You can't win. They won't get it.

Interviewee clue: This week's interviewee's debut novel will be released next month.


Postman said...

I'm not a layperson, then! I totally understand. I feel the same way. I feel that, in order to consider myself "successful" and feel like an "author" that I must needs be published traditionally - no matter how long it takes.

Good for you for having literary scruples.

Kate Hart said...

I got very insulted by a suggestion a family member made, until I realized he had no context to realize it was rude. Sometimes you just have to smile and nod. Thanks for playing along!

Kaitlin Ward said...

Love this! I understand absolutely how you feel :)

Cynthia Reese said...

You're so right. I've learned to smile and say, "Well, now, that IS interesting. I'll have to consider that."

Good luck in all your goals ... may you achieve them all!

Marsha Sigman said...

You did a great job of clarifying why the traditional route is the best! I feel the same way!

Jess said...

I completely agree! I shudder when people ask me if I'm going to self publish, but your post is a great reminder that people who don't write don't understand. Thanks!

ElbieNy25 said...

You once said "if my book had an illegitimate sister it would be hers (meaning me)" I think I feel if I had an illegitimate sister it would be you. More than once now you have blogged my very thoughts.

I want my stories to be known, be part of a college course curriculum, go on a national book tour, and make my full time living as a novelist. I hear you and may we both get what we want!

YA Highway said...

Thanks for participating, Claire!

Claire Dawn said...

Thanks everyone. You're welcome to YA Highway.

Laura, I feel you. I wonder if eall writers love their critique partners this much. I feel like it should be a relationship status on facebook or something :)

Ellen said...

Now I'm imagining all those book fan pages on Facebook having relationship statuses...
"Hunger Games is now 'It's Complicated' with Battle Royale."