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ONLY TRUST YOUR OWN EYES

Let's look a little closer at those self-anointed "experts", the ones who call themselves author advocates, or watchdogs. You won't find too many of them, but they are easily identifiable because they bark loudly. Not surprisingly, their bite pales compared to their bark. Their writing is typically characterized by the use of an overkill of adjectives, and by references to you being a victim of something. Their own book genre is almost always Science-Fiction or Fantasy. That's no co-incidence.

 Now, here's a word of caution. The vast, vast majority of SciFi and Fantasy writers are serious, honest, great artists. They have spent tons of time working on their books, just as hard as writers on any other genre. They are positive, resolute, hard-working, earnest folks, who are finding it just as hard as anyone else to break through the barrier put up by the publishing dinosaurs.

 But, alas, the SciFi and Fantasy genres have also attracted some of the lesser gods, writers who erroneously believe that SciFi, because it is set in a distant future, does not require believable storylines, or that Fantasy, because it is set in conditions that have never existed, does not need believable every-day characters. Obviously, and fortunately, there are not too many of them, but the ones who are indeed not ashamed to be seen as literary parasites and plagiarists, are usually the loudest, just like the proverbial wheel that needs the most grease.

Some writers have built a name for themselves by writing spin-offs of hugely popular movies, such as Star Trek, after all the characters and story parameters had been handed to them on a silver plate by the story owners who licensed the merchandising rights to a publisher. It requires some talent, but not too much, to write such a book. And it definitely calls for modesty if, no surprise there, the book sells. The millions of Star Trek aficionados will read just anything as long as it says Star Trek on the cover.

There are some others who, particularly in the field of Fantasy, rewrite all but everything under the sun that has already been written before. They rummage through books on mythology, steal a character here, borrow a plot line there, throw in a wizard from King Arthur, and literally loot all the mythologies ever written. They mix it, knead it, call the adventure a Journey or a Quest, and there's their new masterpiece! And that's the good news. The bad news is that some have actually made it to the mass market book sector, where Fantasy publishers need a cheap new title every other week or so.

The vast majority of serious SciFi and Fantasy authors frown at this. They go to the supermarket, open that cheap book, see what these writers got away with, and they feel their frustration rise. "Why were these people published? My own book is at least two levels better." And more often than not they are right.

And then there's a third category, a small band of chest-thumping writers who never got any farther than an e-book, almost exclusively in the SciFi sector. To the unsuspecting novice, they may make it look as if they have actually achieved something, enough to elevate them to the status of now being a publishing expert. Theirs is a parade that deserves to be rained on. In the book industry, being published as an e-book writer amounts to not being published at all

What's wrong with the ones who thump their chests because they wrote texts that can be downloaded from someone else's computer, is evident. They have zero experience with the real publishing world. But what is wrong with the other loudmouths, the ones who looted, leeched, or plagiarized their way to local stardom? What's wrong with them is that they claim a mantle of expertise about writing or being a writer in general that they don't possess. Many unpublished authors wrote a much better, and much more original, book than they did, and they know it.

But what's even more wrong is that they love their elite status, of being published, too much. Once they start calling themselves author advocates, beware. Often they only advocate themselves and their status. They have found a spotlight, and the last thing they want is to share it with others.

There are a few serious experts in authorland, there's no doubt about that. Christian author advocate Sally Stuart is one of them. Dan Poynter of Para Publishing is another. And there's John Kremer, a guy who more than anyone else knows the portals and pitfalls of being successful in writing. Then there's the National Writers Union, an AFL-CIO affiliate that knows what they're talking about. All these folks are unassuming, unpretending, and unbiased. When in doubt what to do or who to trust, check out their web sites.

Who not to trust? Every one who effectively attempts to keep you from being published. That's right, that's what they try to do, keep you away from their ranks. They congregate at places where they sometimes do a smart job. They list scams and scammers, as well they should. There are a whole lot of bad guys out there in the industry, people who take your money and run. So-called agents, book doctors, guys who promise and never deliver, publishers who say one thing and do another, etc. Nothing wrong with listing those low-lives and issuing warnings against them, or even suing them if possible.

If doing this were the "advocates"' only agenda, they would actually do the novice writer a favor. But it's not. The real agenda of some of these author advocates is to actually keep you away from their own ranks. They do this by finding fault in every single publisher other than the ones that represent the status-quo, i.e. the top 20 publishers who account for 93 percent of all book sales, one of whose imprints at some time in history they were lucky enough to be accepted by, again, almost exclusively in the SciFi-Fantasy sector.

Under the guise of, "you are welcome to join our ranks, fiction writer, because ours are the only ranks that count," they basically tell the novice author to keep submitting their works to the publishers who refuse more than 99.5 percent of all submissions. They know very well that this, by default, will keep the novice author out the door.

Do not, repeat NOT, believe those who tell you the opposite, because it is simply untrue. They elevate themselves by saying you can get where they have gotten, knowing quite well that this is not going to happen. They are the ultimate fact benders of the publishing world. They are not out to help you. They are only out to maintain their own elite status. Sounds familiar? That's right, this is how elites have always protected themselves and their peers.

Doubt this statement? Go ahead and submit your book to the publishers that the advocates advocate. See ya two years from now...

 


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