Thursday, April 23, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Elite and Pica Writers

(Nineteenth Century Printing Press)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Riled up.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: Yesterday I read on LinkedIn a post suggesting that self published writers should not be allowed to call themselves authors.
CALLIOPE: In those words?
JOE: The suggestion was made that it "smacks of hubris" for self published authors to consider their writing better than what gets published by the big New York publishing houses.
CALLIOPE: Ah yes, hubris. Finally a Greek word. As it recall it means an exaggerated sense of self importance.
JOE: That's my recollection as well. I don't recall throngs of self published writers trying to outdo those favored by the big boys. I do think they would like some respect and are sometimes relegated to lower status by those who have made it big.
CALLIOPE: What explains this reaction?
JOE: In my opinion, they are the ones with hubris, at least those who lord it over self published writers or possibly their insecurity is showing.
CALLIOPE: Do you know for sure what their motivation is?
JOE: I have learned over the years that motivation is a complex subject and usually has more than one aspect. But you asked for my opinion.
CALLIOPE: Well taken. What's your suggestion?
JOE: Maybe those who publish with the big boys could be called elite authors while those who self publish or who write and don't publish could be known as pica authors. Talk with you tomorrow


ccsemick said...

Joe (and CALLIOPE):

I like your candor on the subject that so many self-publishers face.

My first real-life experience with this was at an APW Conference in Atlanta 2007 when, with great pride and glee, I approached a table in the vendor fair and asked to join an author's guild. I'll never forget the frown and disdain on the face of the one who informed me that I did not qualify since I was 'self-published.'

I walked away with my head held high - I know the quality of my work and I look forward to the day when 'picas' can enjoy the same respect as the 'elites.'

Joe Langen said...

Thanks for your comment. I don't think there is room for hubris on anyone's behalf. Writing is or should be a humble endeavor where writers dare to bare their souls and share their observations and beliefs. After that it sometimes becomes a popularity contest unrelated to the worth of the ideas expressed. I had the same response as you to the author's guild experience. I have learned to share what I have with those open to what I have to say. Money would be nice too but it's not what writing is about, at least for me.