Thursday, August 18, 2005

Nobody Nastier than another Writer

For some months I've been hanging out in the "Speakeasy" section of the Poets & Writers website. The magazine Poets & Writers is one of those earnest efforts to go behind-the-scenes of the literary writing community. And any pub that talks about poets and poetry has GOT to be looked on favorably. Remember that poetry was once seen as the highest form of human endeavor. Look at Wordsworth or Keats if you doubt me. Now, poetry's mostly consigned to women and Hallmark Cards. Of course, Janet Holmes, a friend, recently became the target of a smear campaign over awarding poetry publication prizes, so there's life in the old metered verse after all!

Anyway, I posted something over in their "Writers Websites" section about how Beyond You & Me is about to pass the 40,000 hit mark. Needless to say, someone felt the urge to say "you can't sell first time rights to your novel if you've published it on the web," and "I don't think this shameless plug belongs here."

Thanks, considering you don't know what you're talking about. If publishing excerpts of something meant you couldn't sell first-time rights any longer, then it wouldn't be a strategy of most literary writers to get their stories published in literary magazines. Selling first time rights just means no one else can publish it until you do. Excerpting part of the novel is not the same.

But this isn't the only example. Ask a favor if you want to clear a room full of writers. I have written several dozen Yale alumni about blurbing my book, and every single one has told me how terribly busy they are. Well, yeah, we're all busy.

What is it about writers that we think we're God's gift to humanity and we know everything? Where is the lack of generosity of spirit one finds in other professions or from strangers? Is it the instinct to shrink from human contact for the solitude of our writing desks? Or does the profession attract the selfish and churlish?


Blogger DJ said...

What is it about writers that we think we're God's gift to humanity and we know everything?

Spend a day in my job and you'll come back a changed person.

In other words this isnt solely consigned to writers, or DJs for that matter, its just we rarely get to live inside anyone elses "bubble" except our own.

9:01 AM, August 21, 2005  
Blogger mapletree7 said...

It's not writers. It's people. Mostly, they're jerks. Especially on the internet.

9:29 PM, August 21, 2005  
Blogger Plantation said...

Mr Cross, thanks for visiting my blog. So how DOES one get published anyway?

9:03 PM, August 25, 2005  

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