I’m so pissed right now, I can’t even.
So, of course, I’m going to rant about it. Not much else I can do, because life’s not fair, deal with it, and all that.
I love writing books. I love publishing books. I love readers. Other writers are great too. What I don’t love, is the inconsiderate and unprofessional shit that authors deal with way too frequently and how we’re expected to just swallow it all with a smile, because why? We don’t matter. Apparently. We’re told to be professional. Don’t bad mouth people, especially publishers, because Horror is a small community and you could fuck yourself if you piss off the wrong people.
And I’ve been good about this. I’ve been the better person. I don’t talk shit about anyone publicly. I don’t share details of the countless times I’ve been fucked over, and if I do, I definitely don’t name names, because it’s not professional to do so. It’s not what grownups do, right? Right. I’ve given the benefit of the doubt over and over again, no matter how poorly I’ve been treated, but you know what? Fuck that. I’ve had publishers close without notice to any of their authors until D-Day (THREE FUCKING TIMES IN A SINGLE YEAR). I’ve had them not pay on time or at all (lost count of how many times this has happened) and I’ve chased the money down, which always makes you feel great. Now, I’ve had one sign a story (my horror novella, HOWL, if anyone is wondering) and then stop all communications. Initially, I was told it was email issues, and I was understanding, despite the fact that I did try to contact them via other methods, like Facebook, etc., which aren’t affected by email issues. I waited again. A little while later, I was given a “summer” publication date, a promise that edits were on their way “within the week” and an alternate email to use.
Couple of months go by. Nothing.
I email again. “What’s up, guys?” Nothing
Another month goes by. That’s three months since the email giving me a publication date, sort of, and a promise of edits. Six months playing cat and mouse. Two months before that of absolutely nothing. You know what? I’m done. I pulled the story. the terms of the contract were voided before I sent the first email anyway, so fuck it.
Now, here I am with a novella I was stoked to publish via this publisher, that I have to find a new home for, because even if I got a reply apologizing and giving me an excuse for this ridiculousness, I’ve got no trust left in this publisher. If shenanigans are happening before publication even happens, what’s going to occur down the line with royalties, marketing and whatnot? The gut says run and run fast, no matter how good their reputation seems to be. Something’s hinky.
And it’s not the finding the new home for this story that bothers me. I can do that. Do it all the time. It’s the total lack of respect for my time and my work that pisses me off. It happens way too often and I’m tired of being the better person about it. If you change your mind about an author or story, say so. Be decent enough to say, “Hey, sorry to do this, but for whatever reason, we’ve decided not to publish your story. We’re telling you now, the second we decided, so you don’t waste your time waiting for something that’s never going to happen and can sub it elsewhere asap.”
That would’ve stung, but I’d have remained professional. No bad mouthing. No bitching. Nothing more than a “This sucks” vague-book post to my personal friends. Even now, as pissed as I am, I’m not naming names publicly, because that’s an unprofessional and bitchy thing to do.
Courtesy, guys. Is that so much to ask?
There’s a lot of shit-eating that goes on in publishing. A lot of ass kissing too. Be humble. Swallow that pride. Be fucking grateful that anyone would think your sorry ass is good enough to bother with.
Watch what you say, who you say it to, and who you say it about. Don’t be too opinionated, but give an opinion when it matters to people who matter. Make sure it’s the right opinion, because if not, you’re screwed. We beg for publication. We beg for sales. We beg for reviews. Respectfully, of course. Humbly. And without expectation of actually receiving any of the things we’re pleading for. It’s all part of the game and I’m happy to play it. Most of the time.
Today, I’ve reached my limit.
What I’ve dealt with the past couple of years is crap I’d NEVER take from someone in “real life.” I’d never work with a person who doesn’t value me or my time, no matter how badly I needed the money. I work too damn hard not to be treated with basic respect. In this case, I was practically begging a publisher to remember they offered to publish me. And for what? A few dollars every few months? A publishing credit for my resume? We can all agree it wasn’t for respect, because that clearly isn’t on the table in this case.
“Gee, Renee, why so dramatic?” you might ask. I am probably blowing things out of proportion. I’m probably way more pissed than I should be, but I’m not great at kissing ass. I’m not great at eating shit. I do it, because I want to build enough of a career that I can afford to buy more time to write, but it’s hard. When I encounter bullshit like this, it gets harder. As I said, I work hard. Most writers do. A lot of us work a day job in addition to writing, and we have families, responsibilities, and such that we juggle while we plug away at this thing we love doing. We swallow our pride and whatever else might need swallowing, because we are professionals and that’s what we have to do to succeed. we chose this path. Yes we did. How long do we do this, though? How many times do we assume the position before we give up?
I don’t know. I’m not giving up. I’m ranting, maybe whining a little, but I’ve come too far and swallowed too much shit to just walk away. I wanted to. Oh man, I wanted to just burn it all and forget it ever happened. But that would be stupid.
Sometimes, I just need to make room for future shit, so the old shit comes out. Have I fucked myself? Well, maybe. At least I know what I like, so it won’t be as unpleasant as previous fuckings.
And I want other writers out there, who are sick of bending over, to know they’re not alone. We’re all here with you and we get tired too. Don’t let one bad apple spoil the thing, you know? Gotta stick to it, because we’re not quitters. Quitting is for losers.
So, fuck that publisher and the other jerks I’m sure I’ll encounter in the future. The good ones more than make up for the assholes.
Just not today. Today, I’m pissed.