I experienced my first bit of genuine discrimination as an indie author recently. I’m not talking about some silly jerk on the Internet heckling me. Those people are a dime a dozen. I’m talking about someone who is supposed to be running a business, determining that my money isn’t good enough for them because of how I published.
So why is this on the reader blog and not on the author blog? Because readers often go along fairly oblivious to much of what goes on behind-the-scenes in the publishing war zone.
I don’t know how it is in other genres, but I can talk about mine as just one example. The romance genre has a lot of backbiting and drama to the point where I really don’t like associating with the community as a whole. It’s part of why I’ll never join RWA (Romance Writers of America).
While I do know some awesome ladies who write romance, both indie and traditionally published, as a whole, I avoid the community because it’s too much meanness in one cesspool for me, thanks.
Romance is one of the most discriminated-against genres. Many in the general public snub their nose at it. I remember when I was in 8th grade, my literature teacher encouraged my writing dream and told me about one of her friends who wrote romance novels.
And in the 8th grade, I thought to myself: “Romance? Those aren’t real books!” Oh God, please let me have just thought it, and not said it out loud. Even as a kid, I didn’t have a very big filter. Pretty much whatever floated through my brain, flowed out my mouth. So I might have actually said it.
This is just to give you some idea of how deep this romance stigma runs. I was a dinky little 8th grader with an opinion about what constituted a “real book”. Readers who don’t care if a book is self-published, will often still snub romance published in any way. So in some ways the stigmas with regards to romance and with regards to self-publishing are about six of one, half a dozen of the other.