Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Here's the Thing

Today, I reacted like many bloggers would and felt so badly that a good friend of mine felt attacked, that I nearly caved. I nearly took my post down. That would have been a very bad thing.

I forgot where I came from and what I know. I let my feelings get into the game. Some of you know I’m a former journalist and newspaper editor. What I’ve not said online yet, is that I’ve won awards for both my investigative journalism and my editorials, from the Arizona Newspaper Association and the Arizona Chapter of the National Press Women. Why is that important? Here’s why:

I wrote a blog post – Wait, Wait, Wait, - in exactly the correct editorial format. Unlike other forms of journalism, which require complete impartiality and no usage of slanted words or expression of opinion – an editorial is supposed to present a point of view, elicit emotions, and hopefully sway opinions. It is also supposed to state facts and provide references for the reader.

When I presented the blog posts of Rob Guthrie (someone I consider a friend and I highly respect), and the comments made on them by others, as a starting point for my post (editorial) he took that personally. It wasn’t intended that way, and frankly, if I’d started out with “some people think” I wouldn’t have been effective or correct.

In my summation, which referred to a possible assessment team for the worth of writers before they could be published on Amazon, I was attempting to elicit emotions and sway opinions, very definitely. Not, however, in the way it turned out. This was not a reference to Rob, as a person or member of the Indie author community.

Why did I feel a need to come back to this? For two reasons, the first being to regain my self-respect and secondly, to clarify what this was all about.

It is very tough to write about important things. You must develop a thick skin and be willing to ward off personal attacks, because they will come. I know from experience. I’ve lost my edge, obviously, and have actually chosen not to write about controversial subjects, because having my motives questioned and assaulted for two years wore me out. I also prefer to live in the light – enjoying the happy times – writing stories I hope will encourage, inspire and make people laugh.

Because, I don’t want to return to this subject over and over, I’m going to go into one more aspect of this whole argument over whether Indie writers should be subjected to a review of some sort. Let me say here, that I do not consider myself a great writer. At best, I’m decent and a fairly good storyteller (a different question, altogether). I could very well be one of the people not to make it past such a review.

I have read comments in favor of instituting a process like this from writers, who would themselves suffer from such an inspection. I don’t think anyone has honestly addressed this. One very adamant proponent wrote one of the first books I ever bought for my Kindle. It was so atrocious I couldn’t get past the first five pages. A prominent writer, who has wisely stayed out of the fray, suffered from bad formatting until someone pointed it out to her. So did I, until a very kind Twitter friend, gave me the heads up.

This whole thing is still a learning process. It really is. I’m still having trouble navigating it, aren’t you? If you’ve got it completely licked, I salute you.

That’s it. No more diatribes from me, and it will probably be a long time before I test the toughness of my hide again. I don’t like it here.


  1. Great Post, Kathy. Whether or not to be open to the point of creating controversy is a tough question for bloggers. I haven't been at it long enough to have a good answer, yet, but I've been trying to keep my nose clean for the most part until I learn my way around the territory a little better.

    As for the topic of keeping people out of Amazon... You definitely see this on comment boards a lot. I agree with you, Kathy.

    Personally, I think that writers who get agitated by the "tsumani of crap" issue are paying attention to the wrong thing. You can drown in 10 feet of water as easily as 50 feet. The publishing world is an ocean and you need to be able to swim. Or better yet, build a boat. Write the best book you can, give it a the best cover you can, and then see if it floats. If it doesn't, then competing with a mere 500,000 other people instead of a million just isn't going to help you. But if it does float...

    No one is "not able to find" my book because other people are posting bad books. Rather, people ARE finding it because it's good and readers are kind enough to say so to their friends, and because I work to make it as visible as I can.

    oh... and love the cover for your new book! Congrats!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Stephen. Stretching my online persona to undertake controversy really wasn't in the plan. And, for my product, it's not a good thing. I just feel so strongly about keeping the marketplace open, I felt I had to speak up.

    Thanks for the comment on my cover!

  3. Kathy, so sorry things got "hot" regarding your last post. I hate it when that kind of thing happens. I thought your post was well written and I am sorry that Mr. Gutherie took you referring to his posts personally. Sometimes we just do the best we can and hope it all works out.

    I hope that things settle down very soon.


  4. Ardee-Ann - Red and I can always count on you for the love! I'm sure everything will calm down soon. This discussion has been going on for a while and I'm a late-comer to it.