Being The Bigger Man

I just finished reading an encouraging article by Hugh Howey that PHS re-blogged.

The original is here.

I’m almost brand new to the whole self-publishing scene, having been determined from the outset to go the trad publishing path.

If it had not been for the intervention of my friend, who has been an author for years, I am now pretty convinced that The Road Out would never have seen the light of day.

The shift in the industry is far more dramatic than I had thought up to this point, but Hugh’s post is a revealing insight into the scope of what is going on.

I have written before about this, but looking back at that post makes me realize I didn’t know the half of it.

The stance that we as self publishing authors take is going to be critically important to the outcome of public opinion in its swing toward the new way, and we need to think about how we conduct ourselves moving forward.

I have been, in a very small way, involved in diplomacy in an online community in the past.

The most successful diplomats that I have encountered are the ones who are determined to be the bigger man; the ones who maintain their dignity and offer the olive branch to their potential adversary.

There is no olive branch for us to offer the trad publishing industry per se, however our attitude toward those of the old order can assist in the public perception of us as time goes by.

Hugh argues this case in a most convincing manner indeed and I for one agree without reservation.

From what I know of the current situation, it would seem that trad publishers are going into personal attack mode, their attempt to ignore self publishing having failed them miserably.

I’ve seen all this before, more than once. Technology is rendering old industries obsolete, at an ever-increasing pace.

The pace is what is exacerbating the problem, too. Industries used to take many decades to fade away, the remnants remaining as cottage industries for the most part.

The leaders of the existing order would spend fortunes hampering the growth of the successor, holding back progress in a misguided attempt to protect their own interests.

It appears that, due mainly to Amazon and their Kindle system, things in regard to the shift towards self publishing are moving forward at a breakneck pace, something which seems to have wrong-footed the trad publishers and caused no small amount of confusion in the process.

Don’t get me wrong, these people are no fools, there is abundant evidence to indicate that some are adapting as quickly as possible to regain control, but many have chosen to dig their heels in and these are the ones who will lose, badly.

I believe it is incumbent upon us to do our best to conduct ourselves in a manner conducive to fostering healthy public opinion, another point that Hugh argues well.

There is, without doubt, a certain stigma surrounding self publishing, it is the reason I never considered it as a legitimate avenue for marketing my own writing in the first place.

Reformation of the trad publishing industry will make some inroads into removing this stigma, but it is down to the self publishing community to do its best to accelerate that process by taking a good hard look at how we conduct ourselves in the coming days.

We don’t control each other, of course, personal freedom of expression without restraint is one of the reasons self publishing is gaining popularity so quickly; but our writing is forming our image as it is perceived by the world at large.

I agree with Hugh that we need to step away from any form of retaliatory or inflammatory writing towards the old order.

Instead, let us continue down the road of encouragement and enlightenment, something my miniscule view of this community has thus far revealed to be the mainstream of content we exchange each day.

Pass on any knowledge that we may possess so that others become better writers too. After all, we need not fear each other as the trad publishing industry fears us.

I am amazed at the sheer amount of guidance available, shared freely, within the self publishing industry.

I have read it and heard it argued that blogging is dead as a way of marketing our publications, whether that is true or not is something I would leave to wiser heads to debate.

I think that Twitter and other forms of snack food media are taking the mainstream audience away from the blogging community, but I don’t see that as a negative.

It leaves the blogging community to those who love to do the one thing that makes blogging harder for most than being a twitterer; the ability to write well.

Every blog post tests and teaches us, makes that love of typing down our deeper thoughts stronger and develops us as writers.

Reading others posts opens our mind to a river of helpful information and keeps our minds attuned to the opinions and cares of others who share our love of what we do.

Some may argue that it is a flood of information that does more harm than good, but that is down to the individual to have care who they follow, think about what they write and ponder what they read.

If I read something that is poorly executed I will still try to discern as to whether there is any value in the information before navigating away, but that is just me.

We have no reason for shame or reticence when informing another of our chosen path as bloggers and self published authors.

If others would decry our status in society as being that of a lesser mortal, simply because we choose to express ourselves publicly in the form of a blog, or because we choose to self publish our works, let them do so.

That’s as much reward as they’re ever going to get.

If it gives them satisfaction to denigrate another, if status in society is so important to them and if they have not the wit to realize they are the lesser man, that is their loss.

Thankfully, their scorn for the things we do and their reticence to express themselves in any kind of meaningful way means we’ll never have to read what they think.

That can only be a good thing, don’t you think?



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