So it’s another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and I was totally going to write about something else. But, well, my local Comic Con was this weekend, and I’m feeling just a bit stabby.
Don’t get me wrong. It was a great Con. And other than a couple of minor incidents, everyone was kind, and polite, and enthusiastic about getting their Geek on with whole droves of other Geeks, at which point our energy reserves (and wallets) were slowly drained over the course of the weekend. YAY, CON!
It’s about one of those incidents that I want to write about today, because I’m noticed a disturbing trend of late–a trend, I’m sorry to say, that has bled over into author culture. It’s got to do with preconcieved notions standing in as fact, and this whole, strange reversal that’s going on.
As we’re all well aware, not so long ago, it wasn’t considered good to be a nerd or a geek. Now it’s mainstream, and awesome, and cool. And now, well…I’m not sure what’s happening. But I can’t say that it’s good, either.
Back in The Day, geeks and nerds were known for accepting everyone, regardless of well, anything. It didn’t matter what color, sex, or creed you were–if you were a fan of comics, gaming, the Sci-Fi/Fantasy culture, then you were eagerly pulled into the inner circle and invited to squee! to your heart’s content. Newbies were ALWAYS welcome. Now, with the influx of Mainstream being introduced to All Things Geek and enjoying the energy or synergy, or whatever it is, some of my fellow Geeks–I hate to say it, but they’re not being so kind.
In fact, they’re kind of being snobs.
During the Con, as the Tech Monkey and I were in costume–he as a mighty Sith, I in full Steampunk regalia. Mainly because it’s the only thing I can fit into these days. (Yes Wii-Fit–I miss you, too.) As we trolled a weapons booth, someone complimented me on my costume and asked me where I got a few of the accessories. We Squeed a bit about Steampunk, and she went on to ask me my opinion about one of her own, handmade accessories, and if I would consider it Steampunk. I gave her a resounding “yes”. It was clear she was feeling a little let down.
Apparently, someone at a booth felt it necessary to “school” her on what was Steampunk, and what was not. It was her first costume–basic and homemade, and a bit of a work in progress (as many of our costumes are), and it was her first Con. In short, her costume was just fine, in my book.
I don’t know if this Booth “Expert” realized they were being unkind, if they cared, or if they thought they were truly being helpful, or were just trying to sell her something. I just know it has to stop.
We are Geeks. WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
Steampunk is fiction. Who are you to tell a fresh-faced and enthusiastic newbiw what it is or isn’t? Fiction is what we want it to be. Had she been wearing a light saber and called it Steampunk, I would have been right there with her. How dare you try to curb her imagination into what YOU think Steampunk is, or isn’t.
It’s fiction. THERE ARE NO RULES.
Now. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen a similar trend in author culture. The good news is, I’m not about to jump into the “Us And Them” fray of traditional publishing and self-publishing, because I do both. Not so long ago, we were having the same arguement as to whether eBooks were real books or not, and whether eBook publishers were just glorified vanity publishers (Hint: my publisher is primarily an eBook publisher, and was considered one of the black-hearted rebels of the time. Now they’re considered traditional publishers.)
But the snarling back and forth across the Big Black Line is getting a little ridiculous. Some authors, on both sides of the divide, are not being so kind to another. Sometimes I feel like we’re a pack of ravening hounds, waiting to be released at another to get the other team off our lawns. I mean, really.
A lot of the vitriol seems to come from pre-coneived notions of what’s a book, who’s really an author, and spouting things they think they know, because it was on the internet.
We’re authors. Whatever happened to critical reading and thinking? In my experience, readers don’t tend to care who published a book (if they notice at all)–they just want a damned good story, and, as consumers, more bang for their buck. Let THEM decide what they’re willing to pay, and for what. Value is in the eye of the beholder. And publishers don’t sell to readers, anyway–they sell to distributors.
The question is, why aren’t we supporting each other, whatever publishing route we decide to take? Why do we sneer at another if we decide to go the self-publishing road, or look down on those who decide to persue, or stay with, their traditional publisher?
We’re authors. There are (now) very few rules, if any. We’re still watching to find out what’s going to happen, and it’s a very exciting time for all of us. Say it with me now:
WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
Also, be kind to one another, and don’t judge. A writer’s journey is a very personal thing, and if you think you know what a “real” writer is, stop that. Because you have no idea what someone else’s journey entails.
Thank you. That is all.