What we are.”
yes more Tull. But this morning I was thinking about the good guys in my industry. And the occasional generous acts from some who I would have struggled to call ‘good guys’. A lesson that people are seldom all one thing.
There is no getting away from the fact that like musicians, like actors, like artists… life at the bottom and middle of the writing pile is not exactly easy. The way the natural distribution of bottom-to-top has been screwed by the industry for their benefit has made it much worse (99% of the income goes to 1% of the writers. It will always be a skewed curve, but 80% going to 30% is more realistic). Unlike the fellow protesting the death of books in the Guardian, who wanted a ‘living wage’ for authors (presumably from the Government, rather than parts of the industry claiming 90-94% of the cover price of that book. ) I accept that this is at least in part a self-inflicted injury. If I can get it, I want to earn a living off my writing. If possible without screwing that other half of myself, the reader. Yes, obviously, if I can, I would like a bigger share of that book’s cover price. I do resent working very hard at the process and getting less of a reward than others who add very little. But the truth is I love what I do. I’m not particularly greedy or venal, and being suddenly a billionaire would last me about as long as it took to apply the money to things I thought needed it – which is one reason authors, and musos, and artists are so damned easy to rip off – their reward is not entirely in cash, anyway.
What is amazing though is just how many good guys there are, in and around writing, often battling themselves, and yet helping out other writers. Yes, you’ve got the occasional jerks, who funnily enough are often the very ones saying how they’re discriminated against… But without Eric Flint, I wouldn’t have made it past one book. Without Garth Nix, Marianne de Pierres, and Rowena Cory Daniels I would not have been able to emigrate (they were prepared to go through the paperwork to write recommendations as to why I would be a good candidate for a visa as a writer). Dan and Sarah Hoyt have been almost relentless in their support of my long-range career. The Save the Dragons project brought the good guys out of the woodwork. Walt and Francis made it work – I couldn’t have. A whole list of authors promoted it. I’ve had had a number of fans, Keith, Cedar, Tania… all doing work on the social marketing side that I am clueless about. I know they’re doing far more for me than I ever could for them.
It’s an oddly idealistic crowd us humans are, for supposedly nasty critters. I just hope I can pay a little back and a lot forward.