Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Who Is To Blame, Really?

When I spend time reading submissions, or listening to authors, it is almost a certainty that I will hear at least one author start ranting and raving about all of the injustices done to them in the publishing industry. "My agent did this...", "My publisher did that...", "They screwed me on my contract..." You know the litany of speeches.

I am equally as frustrated because frankly, the number of comments I hear on this has increased over the years. So the question, I had this weekend as I was mowing the lawn was - Is this an issue of the industry being dorky, or something else. Unfortunately, I had to answer with the "something else" element. And yes, I am going to say this, it is "USER ERROR."

When it comes down to it, the author has the final say for everything that happens. The author DOES NOT have to sign that contract if things do not look right. It is up to the author to know what a good deal and a bad deal looks like. No one is holding a gun to your head.

Consider a few of these examples.

So many authors have gone to the self-publishing model because they have heard you can make so much more money this way and you don't have to give your money away to some agent who "does nothing." While this idea has worked for many, there are so many more authors who have fallen into this pit for one simple reason. They had no clue how the business worked. Along the same lines, when they blamed the 150 rejection letters on the publishing industry being stupid, and then tried to sell their writing and it flopped, it was clearly someone else's problem.

User Error.

What about those authors who refuse to join professional writing organizations to learn about the business because these groups just do not support their authors. OK, that's fine, but when you learn all you know from About.com or Answers.com, or only get advice from those Listserve websites that only take comments from people who are equally as uneducated, who is to blame here?

User Error.

I scream over and over again here on the blog to learn about the industry. Take the time to know what is going on and how the process works. Again, do you go out and get a job in an industry without education? I think not! You go to school. You take the time to learn the craft.

Look, this is not an issue of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. This is simply an issue of get your butt out there and learn what you are doing before you dive into it. If you get tanked in this business, take the time to look in the mirror. Were you even trained enough to start a publishing career?

Sorry for the rant, but it was a long day!


  1. Scott, there are a lot of us sloooowww learners who have chased the dream for many years. One of the ways I am learning is through your blog. Please keep up the sharing. I am learning a lot.