Arch Enemy, can I get an opener?
Whether you like it or not, we will rise.
Me, Bernard Schaffer and Alexander Maisey had a wonderful time today speaking together at Philadelphia Comic Con on a panel about independent writing and publishing. We missed our comrade-in-arms, Michael Shean. Though he was there in spirit, and nameplate.
And I gave out a lot of these:
I am lucky enough to have a brilliant brother who designs my artwork. And I tried to promote my partner Jessica's editing services, because she's similarly brilliant and I am similarly lucky.
(firstname.lastname@example.org for your editing needs, kids!)
It was wonderful. Really, truly wonderful. Especially the crowd (without them, who are we? These are people endeavoring to be writers. Hell, most were writers just looking to learn some more. The world needs more!). Even if we three (totally new to speaking on a panel) were a bit scattershot.
The crowd was earnest. They asked questions. And, bless em, they were patient as we stumbled through our answers to their questions. Though I'll apologize now because 45 minutes is simply not enough time to get through everything.
And like I said, we're rather new at this panel business.
But whoever was there, we meant it when we said: Contact us. Email us. Twitter us. We've been through the crap, all the shit, and we want you guys to succeed with us. So ask us more questions!
Indie writers need to stick together. For at least one rather depressing reason:
The panel before us was the old guard, so to speak. Folks who, to varying degrees, had gone through the rigmarole of 'traditional' publishing:
Whether you are a seasoned writer or a brand new one, the journey of writing a compelling story is a tumultuous one. Creative writing is often fill with all kinds of discouraging land-mines or creative dead-ends. Hear from Bob Layton (Iron Man; Uncanny X-Men; Avengers; Captain America; Batman), Shane Vidaurri (Iron: Or, The War After), Daniel Boyd (Chillers; Paradise Park) and Rebecca Housel (The Pop Culture Professor) as they share some of their secrets to not only completing a compelling story but also how to develop habits to be a more effective writer. (ROOM 109)"
So, hey, that's cool.
Except, ye gods, were
As though I was going to steal it. Or perhaps graffiti it.
Since I am a filthy indie pulp author and clearly not to be trusted.
It was a bit like marching into war. Because we hadn't done anything. We were just snidely attacked. We're not even going as far as 'Don't Tread On Me.' More like 'Don't Shit On Me.'
This post, and there are a few like it, are reactions.
Maisey has a particularly funny, and poignant, writeup here.
"What pissed me off was twofold. After running ten minutes over their allotted time, the host of the prior panel was asked to announce our panel since the crowd they had gotten clearly had an interest in writing and might be interested in what we might have to say. He got on the mic and mumbled, “Hang around for the Independent something,” and walked away.
Go read it.
But there are two possibly alarming issues at play here. One is: Either they love sniffing their own farts and really truly believe they are the gold standard (and let me put it this way: We weren't going on after Stephen King or Elmore Leonard -- both of whom are wildly successful and, as it happens, wonderful people who don't act like snobs).
OR (and this just gives me fuzzy feelings of war):
The old guard is terrified of us. They don't want to deal with us. They don't know how to deal with us. We're killing their dying industry. And they'd like to deride us, insult us, marginalize us, mock us as often as possible because that's the easiest (read: laziest) way to keep us down.
Either way, OK.
I don't need them and they don't need me. Eat a dick. Perhaps a bowl of dicks. Maybe even a goddamn bushel of dicks. (But I don't want you to get too full, so watch your dick intake, all right? Scarf only as many dicks as makes you feel satisfied. Do not over-dick. As a friend points out: The FDA recommends eating only 6 to 10 dicks a day.)
[_____Insert (heh) a whole lot more dick jokes____]
But more importantly: We don't need them. We indie authors can stand up for ourselves. And we can kick ass by ourselves. Especially not if their reaction to new, up-and-coming writers is some kind weird, smug derision.
Indie writers don't have the luxury of hiding behind anything. Any publication or publisher. We are the beginning and the end of ourselves. Not uroboros. Alpha and Omega. We can't blame anyone, because we are the only people accountable for our work.
So, all right. You want to treat us like dirt? We'll be proud in the filth. But we'll still fight. And we'll write. And you'll keep opening for us at panels.
You want to be scared? That's all right, too.
We'll give you something to be scared of.
Except Mr. Vidaurri. He's a stand-up fellow and just an awesome dude.