In the wake of the pie in face closure of Quartet Press, I am left shaking my head. Not at the closure — I think it was probably wise to shut down before wasting a lot of time and money if the plan was flawed. That’s not what leaves me gobsmacked.
I was mostly offline working when Angela James announced she was moving to QP from Samhain, but even in my writing cave, I heard the angry murmurs and mutterings. It was not altogether clean or painless, I think, although I am far from an insider on the situation.
And that’s my problem with epublishing. It’s not that I question its validity or that I think digital is an invalid form of publication. It’s none of these issues. It’s the fact that it is, at base, still for the most part a cottage industry, run by people who get too emotionally invested in the process. It’s crazy that anyone would be offended that someone takes a better job.
I mean consider the insurance game. If an agent goes to work for State Farm, do you really think the Geico people are like, “OMG, we HATES Ron Jones now! Traitor!! He crossed over!” It’s just not like that in any other business venue I’ve seen, and it makes no sense at all. It’s that kind of behavior that makes it impossible for larger publishers to take the indie presses seriously. It becomes about ego and one-upsmanship instead of professionalism.
So now that QP is no more and Angela has posted her reaction, I’ve seen some perfectly hateful buttmonkeys muttering that she got what she deserved. Really, people? REALLY? To take the insurance analogy one step further, do you really think Ron Jones’s former coworkers at Geico would be gleefully pissing themselves with bitter schadenfreude over the fact that his State Farm office closed? Nuh uh. Number one, they just don’t care that much because it’s a job, not their lives or their religion.
This behavior keeps people on the outside viewing a select chunk of you as hormonal, hysterical women, who couldn’t get publishing contracts in NY and so opened your own companies to peddle your own work. Rightfully or wrongly, that is the perception, and by acting like a gaggle of angry Tasmanian she-devils, you’re only confirming the stereotype.
If the independent digital publisher has any hope of surviving and thriving, it has to be staffed by people for whom it is a job, first and foremost, not a red wagon to wheel around their bloated egos. Get over yourselves, people, and realize you’re being assholes before it’s too late.