*warning: there are F-bombs in this post and God's name gets taken in hypothetical vain.
I wouldn't call myself a know-it-all, but opinions? Oh, I've got them. I've got opinions about motherhood and finding Mr. Right and good marriages and restrictions on abortion and the lack of diversity in just about everything and the current state of feminism and work/life balance and the mainstream beauty standard and the best ways to lose weight, and, and ... I'm going to stop here, but understand I could do a blog that simply listed all the subjects I have strong opinions about and come in at a pretty hefty word count.
So you'd think I'd have a strong opinion about the current state of publishing. But the thing is I don't. I know/know of authors on pretty much all sides of the complicated argument: I see people writing about how e-books are killing print books. I've heard major authors rail against the $0.99 e-book craze. I've seen indie authors work themselves into a lather about what sheep traditional authors are for sticking with legacy publishers.
And the kicker is that over the Christmas holidays, I agreed to a two-book deal with Amazon's new women's fiction imprint. Which means that as of this writing my next two books most likely won't be available at Barnes & Noble or my favorite local indie.
Really, I should have an opinion about all of this.
And technically I do, it's just not as strong as my opinions about say, whether the Zooey Deschanael character should have broken up with the Justin Long character on NEW GIRL (answer: NO!!! I loved those two together. -- you think I'm kidding here, but I'm seriously still mad about it. Watching those two break up was like watching one baby seal club another one to death).
Actually, I think my non-reaction to the changing climate of publishing might be due to the fact that I've always had strong opinions, and you know what? They didn't matter. Zooey still broke up with Justin. Bella still chose Edward. Smith College still pretty much did away with all in-house dining after like 100 years -- poof, there it went bye-bye in the new millenium. Major networks are still green-lighting TV shows set in major cities with all white casts. TRANSFORMERS 3 still got made (and apparently we can now look forward to a TRANSFORMERS 4). My toddler still acted a straight fool at Target yesterday. Really, I could go on and on -- see my first paragraph and just insert that word count joke in here, too.
This is not a popular thing to say in an age when everyone is encouraged to give their opinion on every issue big and small. But most of the time, our opinions matter nada, especially when it comes to what other folks are going to do or changes that are definitely going to happen.
I mean, everyone should cast a vote, and speak up for what they truly believe to be right and wrong, for sure.
But as far as changes in publishing go, all these opinions being offered by all these people don't really feel (to me at least) like they matter. Like who cares if Jonathan Franzen loves print books above e-books? And who cares if Author A is upset with the quality of the work being self-published? And who cares if indie writers think traditional writers are mindless sheep? And who cares what I think about the Amazon vs. [name your other business behemoth here] battle(s)?
I remember the then-president of my undergrad railing against how many students were using the word "like" back in the 90s. That kind of used to be like, you know, a thing back then for smart older folks to complain about smart younger folks using the word "like" all the time. It's kind of similar to all these posts right now by my generation railing against words like "Amazeballs" and "Awesome Sauce."
Well, as far as I can tell, I've used the colloquial version of "like" in probably just about every one of my posts here so far, so despite the then-presidents opinion, "like" stuck like big time. And I'm not sure about "awesome sauce" (might be this era's "copacetic"), but I'm super-certain that "Amazeballs" is here to stay, if only because as a word, it is indeed, Amazeballs and lends itself well to my "Sticky Fucking Word/Phrase Hypothesis" -- simply put, if a word or phrase sounds even better with "fucking" inserted into it, it will stick like glue. Examples: "It was Amaze-fucking-balls" and "Oh, my fucking God" and "I was fucking like, 'Are you kidding me with this 'Sticky Fucking Word/Phrase Hypothesis?'"
But really if Zooey and Justin, the most perfect couple in the history of TV, could break up for such vague reasons as "timing" -- who knows what will and what won't stick. Who really knows anything about anything at all?
My overall point is that publishing is in a state of flux right now, and certain things are going to happen no matter what kind of opinion you or I have about it. And because of that my only strong opinion re the changes in publishing is this:
Instead of running around like Chicken Littles all over the place, let's stop wasting our energy on this subject and just wait and see what happens. Maybe bide our time, writing a few books until the dust settles. And then we can all talk about it.
I bet I'll finally have some really strong opinions about all of this when we do.