How would you like to be seen by readers of your genre? I’d be happy to be recognized as a contributing to my publishing niche at all. There seem to be strange and rigid definitions of who counts as in, and who doesn’t. It’s similar to the issue with other authors, but I think this is more of a pervasive cultural problem than a matter of professional cliques.
There are brand loyalists, who only buy things from certain writers or publishers. For some reason they’re incapable of turning their heads slightly to the left and right, or even up and down, to see adjacent things that would still be within their sphere of interest.
Then there are collectors, who are really just production value fetishists, who only want beautiful hardcovers. They may never read them, but they own them. Somehow that counts as an accomplishment. It’s about having a lot of stuff, not getting use from the stuff you have.
We also have the dogmatic allies. They only buy things from indie authors that share their political values as a way to show their support. There is nothing wrong with that, except when it’s another type of fetishization. It’s not the struggling author with something meaningful to say, or a beautiful book that needs to be discovered by more people, that gets amplified. It’s the one that makes the reader look sage and enlightened.
Of course, at the top of the list are the gatekeeping reader that want to define what the genre is. They are the arbiters of what counts and what doesn’t. You’ll see tons of “No True Scotsman” fallicies being issued from their camp. These days it has more to do with political ideology presented as adherence to genre conventions, but that’s pretty much the world now.
Acknowledgement, Not Accolades
I am so not “in” with any of those groups. I am grateful for my loyal readers who seem to enjoy my writing and understand what I’m about. All I really want is to have my existence, and the existence of other authors outside their narrow scope, acknowledges. I’m not looking for awards. I just want to be recognized as a participant.
The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.