Been thinking about this article since I read it on Monday. Part of me sees where she’s coming from, but the other part is proudly combing out the black sheep fur. I do – happily – read published books; House of Anansi is usually a good bet for me, too (they must have minds like mine, God help them). But I never check the publisher before I pick up a book. I also read self-published books and unpublished books, and I get the same pleasure from all of them.
I read cereal boxes, too, and occasionally get the same pleasure. It all depends on my mood.
In any case, I don’t care if a big publisher or a small publisher or my neighbour or God likes the book. It’s only important that I like it. Egocentricism is not a bad thing. Really.
Being published by a big press would not likely make me happy, ’cause I’m not that sort of a person. Being published by a small press would probably make me happy. Selling 100 copies of a self-published book would probably make me happier ’cause I did it all by meself.
It’s all sounding to me rather like the cliques at school; you got yer jocks and yer preps and yer nerds, etc. and within those you also have yer uber jocks and wannabe jocks, yer uber preps and wannabe preps, yer uber nerds and… I think nerds only come in uber.
Wouldn’t it be better to judge the book by itself? When I find a writer I like, I like most of their writing but not necessarily all of it; when I find a person I like, I like just about everything about them but not absolutely everything. It doesn’t matter to me if other people like them, or if they fit neatly under a clique name – uber or wannabe. (Sometimes, I even like people despite them fitting neatly under a clique name.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live together sweetly? We could have the big publishers, and the small publishers, and the self-publishers, and the people with a pen and an imagination. We could just all meet at the bookstores and at literary festivals. Neil Gaiman could continue being the kind of writer he wants to be, and so could I.
But, then what would we argue about?
Chocolate. We’ll argue about who gets to eat all the chocolate.