I am consistently amazed by how publishing as a whole—and a majority of readers—treat writers.

Writers are the reason the publishing industry EXIST, they create the value the entire industry rests upon, and yet they're largely treated like unnecessary, greedy afterthoughts.

And plenty of readers treat writers like insensate vending machines.

The real wonder is that anyone decides to pursue this career or write anything AT ALL, let alone genre-bending, shattering works of significance.

How much better could writers work, how many more amazing things could readers read and publishers sell if they treated writers less like impediments and more like integral, valuable necessities?

And I'm LUCKY. I make a living at doing this, I work at a high pace and have my hustle steady, I am INCREDIBLY fortunate, and yet I see how writers are treated daily and...yeah.


Gods, yes. Publishers are why writers drink.

I'm extremely lucky to have some amazing readers.

@lilithsaintcrow If I'd known back then what I know now...

well, people did warn me. I'd probably still do it. But I'd have been a lot more paranoid.

I've watched this with a lot of creative fields, but writers get it especially bad.

Do you think it's a solvable problem?

@lilithsaintcrow i've honestly wished so many times that my chief talent and interest wasn't writing. it just feels like a shitty useless talent to me most of the time. and i know that's sad but it's the truth, i don't feel like it's something i have much of a chance at making a living at ever.

@mwlucas But honestly...small and indie presses are overwhelmingly guilty of this too. It's not just a big-corp problem but a systemic publishing problem.

@lilithsaintcrow Very true.

I'd argue that the small/indie presses have a whole different set of company pressures. Many are run for the love of books, which is great... but doesn't qualify someone to run a biz. So many unrealistic expectations, plus "I'm a Big Publisher of Kwality Bookz now so you must think I'm amazing."

The little guys at least think youkr book should be a thing.

To big corps, your book is often worth more acquired but dead than it is alive.

@mwlucas I wouldn't necessarily say that. I'd say that small/indie presses are often more about the personal issues and aggrandization of the owner instead of "love of books."


My sample is biased: most of the small press owners I've known are failed small press owners.

You're probably right for the successful ones.

I am grateful every day for disintermediation, for the power to get my words in front of readers and take their money without needing a publisher in the middle. It doesn't suit every book I want to publish, but it sure as hell gives me leverage when negotiating.

@mwlucas Strangely, that feature seems to be evenly distributed between successful/unsuccessful small press owners. Business hygeine is the #1 dividing line between the two that *I've* found.

I just don't understand writers who aren't diversifying, who aren't actively looking at the industry and how they can minimise middlemen except when it benefits them. OTOH, that's a lot of work, and when you're already juggling job/life/rpoducing words...

@mwlucas Also, I need coffee, the proportion of typos in that last post is just amazing.

@lilithsaintcrow omg, yes. YES.

It took me over twenty years to achieve enough savvy to go full-time. I've constantly improved my craft, yes, but the biggest skill I needed was all business, negotiating, copyright law, taxes.

New writers don't want to hear it and, in all fairness, it's overwhelming.

But then I have friends who just got their first "big book deal" and signed away all rights for the life of copyright for a 4k advance and I want to cry. Or slap them, depending on the friend.

@mwlucas @lilithsaintcrow "the biggest skill I needed was all business, negotiating, copyright law, taxes."

No artists want to hear that, unfortunately, and that's why so many never make a full-time living making art.

It really makes me sad.

@garrett @lilithsaintcrow

Being a full-time creative is a business. You not only have to master your joy, you have to get a really good handle on your business.

And the creative trades are full of people who are willing to take care of your business for you, so you can just create and not worry your pretty little head about the money...

In any other trade, we'd call them "parasites." In art they get names like "manager" or "agent" or...

A manager can be useful, but watch the bastard.

@lilithsaintcrow :( I think it's the same in a lot of fields - it's just so *easy* to start (or never stop) thinking of 'those people over there' as just another annoyance except in so far as they're giving one something one wants. "Thin the margins, make a profit, and race to the bottom!"

@rowens Someone else commented to the effect of "that's capitalism" and I couldn't disagree.

@lilithsaintcrow Actually, strongly agree with a caveat - the tendency is, I suspect, a survival mechanism for reducing mental load, and for making it easier to protect one's family/tribe/other group when it comes to fighting other groups for limited resources. But pure capitalism formalizes and amplifies it, and encourages players on top to weaponize it by creating artificial scarcity.

@rowens @lilithsaintcrow Agreed on all counts. This is, as far as I've ever been able to work out, the core problem _of_ capitalism. If you assume that scarcity is the principle driver of value, then eventually someone will try to _create_ scarcity to increase value.

As a translator, I'm afraid I may be treated better than you. Which is extremely bad.

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