I just finished In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle. I read it for research for Counterfactual, a manuscript I should have probably put time into this year. While reviews are mixed, I found the story an entertaining one, and the language elevated for commercial fiction. Also, given my tendency to be up early these days, this quote stuck out to me.
First of all, the hashtag from Twitter earlier this week isn’t about me. It’s about showing the disparity between BIPOC advances and payments in the world of traditionally published books. It’s meant to make the world of publishing a little more transparent.
While reading through the various posts, I realized, once again, that I’m still okay with my decision to self publish. It’s not something I often consider, but seeing all the back and forth, not only do I not have to deal with any of the nonsense, but I also don’t have to be part of a system that repeatedly does not compensate BIPOC authors fairly. There are many problems in the world of traditional publishing, none of which the least has to do with representation and equitable pay and advances. In the past few months, there have been publishing houses who have carried books with highly problematic authors. Decisions made at levels that were clearly directed towards money, and not the integrity of the company. A quick look at the recent actions of a certain famous wizarding author yields even more issues…
So, while my own ‘self publishing paid me’ isn’t much to speak of, at least it has been fair. The stories I’ve wanted to tell have been my own, the successes I’ve had have been my own, and will continue to be. While I’m hopeful that the #publishingpaidme hashtag was helpful this week, only time will tell for realized contracts and equitable pay for all.
Like anyone with the ability to consume media, the past week has been a blur. Of hate. Of intolerance. Of injustice. Of ugly divides that separate so many people. As an American, it’s especially challenging, and as an ex-pat, nothing short of surreal. To believe my home country was somehow at its lowest, and knowing that limit might not ever exist is disheartening. And no, my struggles from the safety of a villa in Dubai aren’t anywhere near what BIPOC, shop owners, or anyone related to the protests are going through.
As I told an author friend this week, it seems utterly ridiculous to be working on a novel where a bunch of privileged white kids have little dramas and humorous scenes on a fictional television show. Even at 1,000 words a day, it’s difficult to concentrate on anything. And why write such a fluffy story at all?
So, I’ve donated. I’ve posted where my network is the largest and within the past hour I called out friends (privately) for perpetuating stereotypes. I’ll continue to do so, but to what end? Because, is there going to be an end? My voice feels so incredibly small in the universe, and I’m supposed to have words, but I can’t seem to find the right way to put them together to express myself.