Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Value

Megan is unable to post today, so I'm excited to be filling in for her. (This is Nikki BTW!) I really do miss writing on the blog, but I'm very excited for all the writers we have right now. Ok, now on to my post. I work at a school. One morning I came in early to help with morning recess and noticed that all the kids were waiting for the playground to open. There was one large group of kids waiting to go to the tether all courts that are really close to where they were standing. But the P.E. teacher told them that anyone who wanted to play tether ball had to first run to around the light post at the other end of the field then to the tetherballs. They all agreed and soon the playground was open and this large group of children began running as fast as they could to go around the light post so they could get to the tetherballs. Because of their different abilities, the group of kids heading to the tetherballs had turned into more of a line with kids arriving at the tetherballs and lining up orderly. Some could argue that this wasn't fair, that only the good runners would get to be first, but what I saw was children learning to work hard for something they really wanted to do instead of a big mob shoving and pushing their way into line. This made me think of the publishing world and agents and big publishing houses. It's easy to say they aren't a fair way to determine whose books will be on shelves. But let's face it has been the best system to push writers to do their best. It's not a perfect system by any means, but it is a system. Now that self-publishing has become so easy to do and accessible to everyone, the system is crashing down around us. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I do wonder about how the value of writing will change. Will writers just publish to publish, will readers lower their standards to get cheaper books? Will writers value their journey to authordom as much? Will writers value themselves enough to put their very best work out there even if it means waiting years for their ability to grow? Will readers value traditionally published authors more? There are lots of questions to be asked about where the publishing world is going. Many people are asking them, but nobody has the answers. I don't have the answers either, because I think the answer is different for each person. Some of us need the validation of knowing we ran around that light post and earned the right to call ourselves author. But others of us just need to play the game to feel good about our writing. Either way, we are a community that should value and support each other no matter what place we hold in line!

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