July 19th, 2010

We Come From Earth

(no subject)

Victoria Strauss: The Myth of the Evil Editor Recently, in an online conversation touching on self-publishing, a self-published writer commented on how happy she is that her books are truly her own--published exactly as she intended them, not mutilated or adulterated by some big publishing house editor whose main goal is to turn out cookie-cutter authors. When I replied that I've worked with three editors at five large publishers over the course of seven novels, and have never had my work mutilated or adulterated, much less transformed into a cookie, she told me that I was "very lucky," for she knew of many writers who'd had the opposite experience.

I didn't ask her who those writers were. If I had, I suspect I would have gotten a vague response about a friend of a friend, or an article she'd seen at some point, or some other form of non-first-hand information.

I've run into this one a lot, and it's one of the myths about writing that I don't think people realize is incredibly annoying to authors. (I'd say it was nerve-laceratingly annoying, if that was a word.) It's also very insulting, to be told that because you're a professional author, you must routinely compromise your integrity and let someone else tell you what to write.

It's one of the reasons why I'm highly reluctant to tell people I'm a pro author unless we're meeting at an SF/F con. The other reason (which has nothing to do with the recent rise of self-publishing, because I've been hearing it since the early 90s) usually goes like this:

Well-meaning stranger: "What do you do for a living?"

Me: "I'm a writer. I write novels."

Well-meaning stranger: "Oh, how much does it cost you to get your books published?"

What I would like to respond but never do:

Me: "What do you do for a living?"

Well-meaning but annoying stranger: "I have such and such job."

Me: "Oh, how many blow jobs did you have to give your boss to get hired?"


I saw this on Twitter but have no idea who first posted it: the Scenic Route a cartoon illustrating the creative process.