So the semi-monthly thread about troubles at a small press surfaced. I don’t know nuthin about NCP, so I won’t comment on that.
But I have a theory about why writers are consistently surprised when their company goes south. Especially when everyone else (at least those who have been around a while) might not be so surprised. I started blogging on Lauren Dane’s blog, and decided I needed to move my little diatribe here.
New authors are, by and large, a bit (or severely in my case) insecure. So a warm and fuzzy family feeling with a ton of atta-girls and “oh, oh, submit this that and the other thing right away” feels really, really good. Someone likes me! I’m published! A new writer looks for the wrong stuff. Of course hopefully one will find that a well run operation can also have a “heart” and will promote your work and support your efforts, but truth be told, you’ll be doing a lot of the supporting of yourself and them.
Get your warm and fuzzies from your friends, fellow authors, and communities like Romance Divas. Get your paychecks, covers, edits, and emails from your publishing house. And make sure you give the companies who treat you well the respect and profesionalism–and the “atta-girls!”–they deserve.
It’s really easy to say “you’re a great writer, sign this contract!” It’s really hard to run a good company. Sometimes a good company is going to say “This isn’t quite right, put some more blood, sweat and tears into it.” They might say “This isn’t for us at all.” Or they might hate your cover idea! Perhaps your editor is a little blunt.
I’ve learned so much about myself these last few years. The editors and publishing companies that have helped me the most are those run in a businesslike manner, and while they have not gone out of their way to make me feel bad in any way, they don’t pander to my insecurities. They do their best to create the best product possible.
We, the writers, are in charge of our insecurities. Triskelion was very warm and fuzzy at first. Guess how insecure I felt when that crap went down? And how long the feeling lasted? I still question the adequacy of every damned thing I write because of that experience, and am just coming out of it.
Trust what people do, not what they say.