‘No Need To Come Out On Top’
It’s time to back off a bit on the arguments for self-publishing.
In a classic example of “burying your lead” — along with a hatchet –the author-activist Hugh Howey quietly has signaled a stand-down to his supporters this week And he’s doing it with the note of generosity that many who follow him have come to expect of the man:
Will a group hug be too much to ask for? I hope not.
Say Gandhi. Hugh Howey just did. He quotes the mahatma in one of his most cherished lines:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.”
And then, Howey goes on to customize the quote for self-publishing:
Most open-minded authors must now understand that they have options, and what those options are. The only thing about Gandhi’s quote that doesn’t apply to the stigmatization of self-publishing is the idea of “winning.” There’s no need to come out on top here. The whole point is to have equal access and equal respect, and self-publishing platforms have granted the former while readers have granted us the latter.
The article itself, on Howey’s site, is headlined Group Hug. And “burying your lead” is an old journalism phrase that refers to times when you place the news angle of a story “down” inside it, not right at the top. Howey carefully builds his argument before revealing his readiness to ease the rhetoric. To those who know him, this could easily have been about his hug-someone T-shirt campaign. (Yes, he’s a hug-activist, too, and I’m not making that up.)
But Howey is doing something far more significant. This embrace could just signal the rapprochement many have felt they need to see, particularly in deeply divided author corps.
An outpouring of comments on the piece indicates that many of his readers understand and appreciate what he’s after here. He writes:
It’s over. We can coexist now. People can publish however they want, with opportunities for moving back and forth from one path to the other. And publishers are going to have to continue to sweeten their offerings to lure authors over to their side, while self-published authors will have to continue to up their game to sway readers to their works. The former will probably lower prices while the latter raises them. We’ll meet somewhere in the middle.
If the proponents of traditional publishing paths know an olive branch when they see one, their eyes, you can bet, are wide open right now.
Is it possible we could start seeing more handshakes than fist pumps among the writers?
Maybe it’s time. Howey says it is.
By Porter Anderson | @Porter_Anderson
Writing on the Ether: ‘It’s Over. We Can Coexist Now.’: Hugh Howey Calls A Ceasefire
Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com