Monday, August 11, 2014

Perils of the Writer: Picking Your Battles

So the big news in writerly circles this weekend involved the current salvos in the Amazon/Hachette fracas, with writers remaining caught in the middle*.  I honestly haven't been talking about it mostly because I really don't have a dog in this fight, not directly, but also because people like John Scalzi and Chuck Wendig are saying the sort of thing I'm thinking, and saying it far better than I probably would.  And in the case of Chuck, with more profanity and bushier beard.

What I find fascinating about all this is how some people who don't have a dog in this fight are turning the whole thing on its edge to give themselves a dog.  To twist distribution contract negotiations into something about THE FUTURE OF PUBLISHING: BIG 5 PUBLISHERS VS. INDIES.  And, you know, I tried to see it, and I looked at it sideways and squinted... and I still didn't see it.  Closest I could see to it was Indie writers-- who use Amazon to distribute their work, and may or may not have a beef with Big 5 publishing-- see this whole thing as a chance to take one of the Big 5 down a peg.  Or something.  If you want to see it that way, if you want to frame it as a David And Goliath Fight... that's your business.  Frankly, it's far more of an Ali/Frazier, as I see it.**   But how I see it doesn't really matter, because... I'm not really in it. 

Sooner or later, though, there will be one of these writerly rows in which you will firmly be on one side or another.  That might be because things are happening that affect you, or it's a situation you feel passionate about.  Or it might be because you hold one kind of politics and said something in favor of those politics, and people who hold another kind of politics have decided you are now a punching bag.  Sometimes you come to the fight; sometimes the fight comes to you.  Sometimes the fight is an angry mob; sometimes it's just a few mosquitoes.  Both don't require a flamethrower response. 

You've got to decide how you're going to handle it.  You've got to decide if you're going to handle it. 

Because not every fight is worth it.  Sometimes you should just focus on your own writing.  Which is, frankly, what I'm going to go do.


*- Someday we'll all be grizzled old veterans.  "I was there for the Amazon/Hachette Wars!  Fought in the great Blog Battle of August 9th!"
**- I won't comment which is which, though.

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