…That I am my own independent publisher, with the Tiny Publishing Bidness, and only wasted a couple of months and a lot of postage, in 2007 or so, trying to get an agent interested in my first two novels. Because that was the way to break into traditional publishing; get an agent, who would present your work to the traditional publishing houses. Another book blogger at the time advised trying it for a year, and then going independent, as there were sufficient small companies doing publish-on-demand, some of them for rather reasonable fees. I did have an interested agent in New York, who was referred to me by another milblogger back then, and although the agent reluctantly declined to offer me his services, he was jolly complimentary and encouraging, and provided some good insights. One of the unspoken insights that I took away from this exchange, and drew from all the other letters saying “Thanks, but no thanks” from various literary agencies was that it was all a terribly insular world, the world of the established agencies and big publishers, all of whom seemed to be based in about half a square mile of real estate in New York. This impression was reinforced by later interactions with members of the on-line author support group that I was a part of, many of who were drop-outs of one sort or another (mostly editorial, graphic design, public relations, et cetera) from that milieu. They all knew very well that the establishment publishing world was flailing, shedding mid-list authors and editors, farming out the slush piles of unsolicited manuscripts to the agencies. Later on, I started following Sarah Hoyt, originally trad-pubbed and who wrote now and again of the stifling conformity among those in the traditionally-published world. Her experience was mostly in the science fiction genre – but over and over again, one got the very clear message; that only certain opinions and world-views among authors or prospective authors were permitted. There might not have been an organized effort to blacklist those who did not conform, and to sabotage their books, but as far as the overall effect on conservative-leaning or anti-wokerati writers, there just might as well have been the literary equivalent of “JournoList” in play.
I ran across links on Ace of Spades a couple of days ago; links to a two-part post (here and here) suggesting that there is, seriously, such a malevolently organized effort in the world of comics; a coterie of mostly female insiders doing their best to eliminate mostly men whose jobs they want. (Appalling, if true.) I do not know enough about that genre to even be familiar with the names peppered throughout the linked posts (since I stopped paying attention to comic books or ‘graphic novels’ sometime in middle school) but such is a significant market, and one which seems to be devolving at speed, just like establishment publishing, the broadcast and cable industry, professional sports and movie production, through a combination of malice and incompetence. Tossing this out there for discussion. Insights are appreciated in the comments.
(PS – Update: Luna City #9 now on Kindle – Link here!)