Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bitch On, Bitch Off

There's always a lot of industry-bashing going on out there. Writers get the worst of it (get your red hot bias, right here) but are ever ready to turn around and use the same club on their editors or publishers. Agents, those brave diplomats of the publishing industry, can't afford to do it in public -- they see us all as The Possible Future Deal -- but since Mad Max made anonymous whining trendy, they've now got other places besides bars where they can bitch.

M.J. Rose recently asked writers to confess "What Won't You Do?" to be an author (still no links, see 1/25 post.) Rose has become the new Mecca of Complainers, it seems. Think Max might have sent some over? Anyway. While I think it's healthy to whine, to a certain degree, the industry does not revolve around any one of us pros, nor will it ever, no matter how much gravitation pull our enormous egos attempt to generate.

Not that we care. Someone who kicks ass is much more admired and popular than someone who kisses it. We're almost convinced that there is some publishing conspiracy, ala the Kennedy assassination, just waiting to be exposed. Plus it is a fact that anyone who says nothing negative about the publishing industry has either a) just had their first book published, b) is up for an important industry award, c) sells so well that nothing bad actually happens to them, or they've magnanimously forgotten all the early shit, or d) a & b. In any case, we should always protect our new pros. The industry's micro-thin gilt wears off fast enough, and the rookies already have to cope with that special season in hell, the first book being published.

Certainly I like to bitch here, and I had a nice rant written for this morning. A cautionary tale of two editors, which if I may say so was riotously funny. But as I was lacing the whole thing with an even, final drizzle of PBW's patented All Purpose Sarcasm, suddenly I got very tired of it.

I'll tell you about the two editors straight, then: Yesterday I had to deal with two editors. The first editor did a great thing for me. She didn't have to; she had every right to rip my head off instead of doing the great thing. I don't know her very well but experience with other editors led me to believe that she would stomp me into the dust. Instead the editor was kind, and considerate, and generous. She was the editor we all want to have.

Under other circumstances, and with no justification, the second editor wasn't.

Not as funny as one of my rants, but it wasn't funny when it happened. It was real. It was very difficult to handle. I had to make some tough choices. As a result, I hardly slept last night. That's it. That's what really happened.

So What I Won't Do -- today, anyway -- is bash editors.

Don't worry. I'm sure it's just a temporary straight thing I'm going through. Something will set me off next week, and everything will go back to normal.

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