Elitist Attitudes Suck


I’m a member of the Horror Writers Association. I don’t get much out of my membership, particularly since I pretty much quit going to the message board. Why? Because of the elitist attitude of many members. No. Scratch that. Of a few members with big egos and a need to dump on people.

The HWA recently changed its policies to reflect a more rigid definition of professional pay. That’s fine. But certain members of the organization feel compelled to ridicule people who choose to publish in venues that don’t meet the HWA’s standards of a pro market. Because of the vicious attacks — which I think show a much greater lack of professionalism than that displayed by members giving stories to royalty-only anthologies — I’ve been staying away from the HWA. Instead, I’ve been spending most of my message board time at Shocklines.

But every once in a while the HWA shit spills over to there, too. This is really funny because Matt, the owner of Shocklines, left HWA in good part because of the in-fighting about professional standards and the attitudes of the attack squad. But, because he’s a decent, fair-minded guy, Matt’ll let people bicker on his board when they should take it back to HWA.

Such was the case today. A certain publisher who espouses HWA standards — but who doesn’t live up to them, according to some of his own authors — was needling a poster for promoting Cyber-Pulp’s Halloween 3.0 anthology. The HWA loudmouths have mostly moved on from constantly attacking Publish America to making Cyber-Pulp the devil publisher. So, this poster, Freezenerve, runs another message board, but cross posts to Shocklines. Freezenerve runs a forum of book discussions and will post a message at Shocklines inviting people to come to his board, Wicked Carnival, to rate and discuss certain titles. In his post he puts the book cover and a link. Been doing it for a while with a variety of books from different publishers and nobody’s criticized him for it.

Today I go to Shocklines and find this other publisher asking why that post inviting discussion of Cyber-Pulp’s anthology is relevant. So far he hasn’t replied to tell his real meaning, but based on past posts and his needling in this thread it’s obvious this publisher is wanting to kickstart the demonization of Cyber-Pulp again. CP’s anthos are royalty-only, meaning the authors only get paid when and if the book makes money. Most royalty-only anthos don’t make much, if any, money for the authors. Ideally, this isn’t the best way to reach pro status, but despite what HWA’s attack squad says, it is the way most new authors start out and move up.

Anyway, it just gripes the hell out of me that the attack squad, most of whom live on the East Coast (and no, I won’t give them the publicity of naming them here), constantly go after these publishers and the authors who find an outlet through them. They don’t like? So what. It doesn’t hurt them if Joe Blow gives away a story. And if the anthologies are as bad as they say, it won’t hurt their book sales because nobody will want the antho. Get over it.

I just want to scream at those people to shut the hell up. But, I choose to continue to abide by the advice given to me by a pro who left HWA. I just keep my own mouth shut and my fingers still because of the lurkers on those boards, some of whom are editors who actually do pay their authors but who remember the names of people involved in the unprofessional fighting. Well, except for here. I’ll say what I want here.

This isn’t even what I wanted to write about today. Maybe I’ll get to that later. It’s just a work rant.


0 responses to “Elitist Attitudes Suck”

    • Busted
      Yeah, but people caught on quick and he backed off, claiming others were making a kneejerk reaction. I think we all know where the jerk was in that thread.
      And yeah, I jumped in when I shouldn’t have. I saw Angie getting involved and the damn chivalry kicked in. Hopefully the thread will face away.
      I do like the cover of the antho. I might buy it just for that.

    • Busted
      Yeah, but people caught on quick and he backed off, claiming others were making a kneejerk reaction. I think we all know where the jerk was in that thread.
      And yeah, I jumped in when I shouldn’t have. I saw Angie getting involved and the damn chivalry kicked in. Hopefully the thread will face away.
      I do like the cover of the antho. I might buy it just for that.

  1. Why waste money?
    As for HWA, I think there are good people in there, BUT there are way too many bullies that try to control others. Save your money and don’t renew your membership.
    Just my opinion.

  2. Why waste money?
    As for HWA, I think there are good people in there, BUT there are way too many bullies that try to control others. Save your money and don’t renew your membership.
    Just my opinion.

  3. Doesn’t the freezenerve guy have a story in that collection? I don’t see it as a problem either way. The guy is always attempting to drive discussion to his board with reviews and what not, so that’s not new or terribly annoying (for me anyway). And if he does have a story in it, so what there too. People are always posting their latest books, stories, and whatnot at shocklines. Hell, it’s the messageboard for a bookstore.
    As for the HWA, I haven’t really decided yet if I’ll renew next year or not. I just recently made my first qualifying sale and am past whatever they call the newbie status, pending or whatever. I have learned more about publishing as an industry, since I’ve been there, but most of that type of information is available elsewhere. The messageboard itself doesn’t bother me too much, there are loud opinonated people wherever I go.
    As for CP and Bob Gunner, yeah, I have my own opinions of them from personal expereince. I made a decision some time back not to participate in those types of markets. I decided to aim for the top and ignore the bottom. If I can’t make the top, to me at least, that means I have to keep working on it until I can. I see no benifit from CP or anything like that. The exposure myth is just that. But I was there at one time. I was so happy someone wanted my stuff. I’ve just learned a lot since then.
    I don’t consider that elitist, but hey, that’s just my humble opinion.

    • Hi John
      I don’t think you’re elitist because you don’t sub to royalty-only/free markets. The elitists are those who feel compelled to dump on people who make the decision to do otherwise.
      In most cases, I don’t sub to those anymore, either, but, like you, I did it for a while, got several publications, built some confidence and moved on. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing for writers at the beginning of their careers. One of my “exposure” publications actually netted me some nice prizes and a paying film contract, too.
      I’m not sure if Freezenerve is in the CP antho or not. Could be, although I think he’s made it clear on his board that he isn’t a writer. I should know. I’m actually a moderator of his board. But … haven’t checked in there in quite some time.
      On HWA, I’m also thinking of letting my membership expire. If the newsletter was still a print publication, I’d be more inclined to stay. But I don’t read it online, try to avoid the message board, their programs don’t help people published in the small press, etc. We’ll see. I have made several friends there, but most of them hang out at Shocklines now, too.

  4. Doesn’t the freezenerve guy have a story in that collection? I don’t see it as a problem either way. The guy is always attempting to drive discussion to his board with reviews and what not, so that’s not new or terribly annoying (for me anyway). And if he does have a story in it, so what there too. People are always posting their latest books, stories, and whatnot at shocklines. Hell, it’s the messageboard for a bookstore.
    As for the HWA, I haven’t really decided yet if I’ll renew next year or not. I just recently made my first qualifying sale and am past whatever they call the newbie status, pending or whatever. I have learned more about publishing as an industry, since I’ve been there, but most of that type of information is available elsewhere. The messageboard itself doesn’t bother me too much, there are loud opinonated people wherever I go.
    As for CP and Bob Gunner, yeah, I have my own opinions of them from personal expereince. I made a decision some time back not to participate in those types of markets. I decided to aim for the top and ignore the bottom. If I can’t make the top, to me at least, that means I have to keep working on it until I can. I see no benifit from CP or anything like that. The exposure myth is just that. But I was there at one time. I was so happy someone wanted my stuff. I’ve just learned a lot since then.
    I don’t consider that elitist, but hey, that’s just my humble opinion.

    • Hi John
      I don’t think you’re elitist because you don’t sub to royalty-only/free markets. The elitists are those who feel compelled to dump on people who make the decision to do otherwise.
      In most cases, I don’t sub to those anymore, either, but, like you, I did it for a while, got several publications, built some confidence and moved on. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing for writers at the beginning of their careers. One of my “exposure” publications actually netted me some nice prizes and a paying film contract, too.
      I’m not sure if Freezenerve is in the CP antho or not. Could be, although I think he’s made it clear on his board that he isn’t a writer. I should know. I’m actually a moderator of his board. But … haven’t checked in there in quite some time.
      On HWA, I’m also thinking of letting my membership expire. If the newsletter was still a print publication, I’d be more inclined to stay. But I don’t read it online, try to avoid the message board, their programs don’t help people published in the small press, etc. We’ll see. I have made several friends there, but most of them hang out at Shocklines now, too.

  5. Yeah, like I said about Freezenerve, doesn’t really matter either way. His post was harmless and in line with the majority of book discussions and self promotions that go on there. It’s what I expect from a book store’s message board.
    About the confidence… I just hope it doesn’t give folks a false sense of confidence. I know it did me. The crap I was writing then, the first book included (I hesitate to even call it a book 🙂 ) didn’t deserve to be published in any venue. Hell, I don’t know if the stuff I do now is, but I’m working at it.

  6. Yeah, like I said about Freezenerve, doesn’t really matter either way. His post was harmless and in line with the majority of book discussions and self promotions that go on there. It’s what I expect from a book store’s message board.
    About the confidence… I just hope it doesn’t give folks a false sense of confidence. I know it did me. The crap I was writing then, the first book included (I hesitate to even call it a book 🙂 ) didn’t deserve to be published in any venue. Hell, I don’t know if the stuff I do now is, but I’m working at it.

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