This post, by Pete Morin, originally appeared on his site on 6/2/11.
Following the oft-inveighed advice to network and expand my platform, I participate in many social media-type forums. So many of them are really, really great. Some of them are quite useless.
Yet, like the spectator of a horrific train accident, I am drawn back to them. Sometimes it is simply to marvel at the utter idiocy of some of the people who will follow their muse to the ends of the earth with no more clue when they get there than they have today. I know that sounds rather pompous of me – but I do not profess that I am less clueless. I just hide it better.
Seriously, though. Hanging around some of them will give you empathy for literary agents.
Anyway, aside from the schadenfreude, every day I join the thousands like me, trying to follow the lurching and jiving going on in the fiction publishing business. I posted about this a few months back, and even since then, earth quake changes have occurred – the most recent perhaps being Amazon’s rapid and aggressive entry into the publishing business with their own genre imprints.
These are heady days, of course, and I’ve heard it said so many times by agents, editors and writers alike that “there is no better time to be a writer.” Why? Because our dreams of publication, of readership, are not dependent on anyone but our artistic, entrepreneurial selves.
The gatekeepers are keeping gates, but you don’t have to go through them to get to the Promised Land. It’s like the scene in Blazing Saddles with the tollbooth in the desert. We don’t need a shitload of dimes any more.
Anyway, among the less useful venues I monitor are a half-dozen of the bazillion writing-related groups on LinkedIn. Here is a place where the most oblivious of aspirants gather to ask silly questions while a few others hold court and burnish their Big Brass Badges of Blovitus. With rare exception, I have succeeded in staying away from the discussions.
It is the rare exception about which I post here.