Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Long and the Short of It

Today's post shouldn't be very long as I really only want to ask a simple question or two. But they're questions that shall require a small amount of ranting on my part because, after all, I am me and if I'm not ranting about something, you'd be wise to check for the presence of pod people.

So, that said, here we go:

I told y'all in January about my local writers' group and how it was a sweet little group until a pair of egomaniacs swooped in and stole it. Well, one of the egomaniacs (who, here on out, shall be refered to as Ego Man) showed up again at February's meeting and managed to cement his position at #1 on my Shit List.

Yes, there is a physical shit list (see image to right...available at novelty stores everywhere!) and I write on it in pen.

But, not what I wanted to say.

Ego Man and I seem to be headed down a road that shall only lead to a Grudge Match. This means that no matter what that man says, there's about a 100% chance that I'll want to argue with him over it. He could say something like, "the sky is blue" and I'll be all, "the hell it is!"

Which is where you come in. I need you to help me determine just how skewed my world view is when Ego Man's in the picture.

Here's how it'll work:

Below I am going to post three of the proclamations made by Ego Man at the last meeting. I'm not going to say another word but if you're so inclined, I'd love to know what your perspective on his views are. Even if you agree with him. I promise none of you will end up on the Shit List.

Everyone ready? Or have y'all just run away by now? Let's find out...

Here are the proclamations:

A. Long books are bad because no one wants to read a long book.

B. Literary agents are useless, ancient relics (almost an exact quote) with whom no one should bother because agents are on their way out because self publishing is the wave of the future (made more interesting, I think, when you know that his first three books were self published but his latest novel was traditionally published.)

C. Self publishing is the same as traditional publishing. People shouldn't bother with traditional publishing (made more interesting when you know Ego Man's latest book was traditionally published). Published is published.

I hereby open the floor for discussion...


  1. Okay, I disagree with A and B. C I'm not so sure about. Being self-published isn't the same as being traditionally published, but that doesn't mean one is better than the other. This guy is piece of work.
    I'm I on your crap list now? : )

  2. Well, I've heard these opinions quite often, so they're nothing new. They are generalizations, though.

    A. I recently read Stephen King's 11/22/63. It's a LONG book. I actually prefer shorter books, but if it's a good book, I'll read it no matter the length.

    B. It all just depends on how you want to publish. It's a wild west world out there, and some people won't need literary agents. Others will.

    C. I wouldn't say self-publishing is the same as traditional publishing. In one the author calls all the shots. In the other, there is a huge team involved. Quite a difference. But I do think all published material has value and there is good and bad in both.

  3. In general I'm not a big fan of people who make broad, sweeping declarations about things. When it comes to life decisions like "to self-publish or not to self-publish," I think the world is mostly gray. His opinions don't bother me, because they're just that (opinions), but I would be more concerned about his influence on other, greener writers. People should be given the proper information to form their own decisions, and when others are bull-headed enough about their own opinions that they don't allow dissent, it makes it difficult to have a healthy discussion about all options. I hope he's not that.

  4. I'm trying to figure out how to write this response without the word "asshat". I don't think that's a very professional word for me to use.

    But he seems like one of those types who just knows everything about everything. Some people like long books. Some people won't buy self-published books. I even know a few people who are only purchasing self-published books and turning their noses up at books that have been "traditionally" published. I'm sorry he's taken over your sweet little critique group!

  5. You didn't need to say anything, as the comments so far say it all!
    For the first, I'd say JK Rowling is laughing all the way to the bank on that one. Obviously if one wants to be published by a big publishing house they still need an agent. All depends on what path someone takes.
    You should take your shit list with you next time and show him!

  6. Oh, Ego Man and I would have a stare-down, no doubt.

    I agree the publishing landscape is changing, but I don't think that makes agents obsolete. I also don't think we're quite there yet on self-publication being equal with traditional. It's getting there, but there's still a long way to go, IMO. And I love long books. I even did a post on it once to show my love of the thousand page door stoppers.

  7. A. Presumptive. Seems to be using his own view as a basis for everyone else's.
    B. See above. Also, someone hasn't done his research. Or perhaps he has but since he didn't agree with it, discarded it.
    C. And now we've crossed over into outright ignorance.

    I wish I could kick his ass out and I'm not even in the group. I don't like people who speak as if their view is the only one that matters.

    You say he's been published both traditionally and self, which would make me think he has SOME idea what he's talking about, but his comments indicate he doesn't (literary agents as useless relics? Come ON!). I think being published has gone to his head, and he's too full of himself to realize it.

  8. *searching for my list and pen*...

    It's not difficult to see why Ego Man rubs you the wrong way. I read this statements expecting something that I might have to choose sides over.

  9. A. I knew a girl who wouldn't read short books. She liked them long, the longer the better.

    As for B & C, you say he has one novel traditionally published. I wonder if he's having trouble getting a second out traditionally as well. Perhaps he's overcompensating for issues with publisher and agent?

  10. In my opinion, A and C are utter bullshit. B has a hint of reality to it, but that hint is wrapped up in more bullshit. Good luck with this guy.

  11. Well. He sounds like a jerk.

    A. I really disagree with this one. Personally, I love long books; though I can see the advantages of shorter ones.

    B. I don't think they're useless. Self-publishing has opened up new routes, but agents can still do things authors on their own cannot.

    C. I think it's similar, but not the same. And as with B., there are advantages to both.

  12. I disagree with him on all three points. He sort of reminds me of a woman who attends a writer's group I'm a member of. We meet once a month, and I'm always excited when she doesn't show up.

  13. Hm. :-/ Sounds like he's one of those people who don't account for other people's tastes and needs.

  14. It makes me even crazier than I already am when some one spouts broad generalized opinions and tries to pass them off as fact.

    Can't you put him in a box labeled "jackwagon" in your head and tune him out? I've tried to engage people who do this before. It never ends pretty. So put him on your shit list and disregard most, if not all, of his grandiose declarations.

    On a side note, I tagged you over at my blog. Get ready for some questions.

  15. I agree with you. He would annoy me completely. RE: A. udderly not true. people will read a long book if it's good. I also tagged you over at my blog. :)

  16., no, and no. He's on my Idiot List as well.

    Also, MJ, take off your word verification. Blogger has made it impossible to read now and you'll lose commenters.

  17. A. I agree that the trend is to shorter books, these days, but, honestly, I hate that trend. 40k words used to be the length of a -novella- while 80k was min for a novel, but novels have shrunk to 40k words, now, and who even really knows what a novella is anymore. Personally, as long as it's good, I prefer long books. If it's good and short, I always feel cheated.

    B. I am not in favor of agents in a general sense. The job of the agent, in general, is no longer the job of the agent, in the traditional sense (if you look back 30 years ago to what agents did, you will see that agents no longer do those things). Some agents, I'm sure, are good, but I do think most of them are useless.

    C. That's just delusional speak. It's like saying being home schooled is the same as being public schooled. Sure, it's both school, but the quality of the experiences are so widely different that you can't draw a comparison.