|Unleash the grumpiness!|
I'm in a grumpy mood, so here's a Grumpy Bulldog rant that you may not agree with it. Which is fine, it just means you're wrong and stupid because I am always right. (Except all those times I'm not right in which case it's the world that's wrong, not me.)
Anyway, you know how in movies and TV and such when they depict high school they also have all these social castes: cool kids, jocks, stoners, poor kids, geeks, whatever? Like in "The Breakfast Club" or "Clueless" or "Mean Girls" and shit like that. (I've honestly never seen the latter, nor do I intend to.) It's occurred to me that writing is a lot the same thing. There's basically a social hierarchy at play when writers socialize. I imagine it goes something like this:
Top: Household Names
This would be Stephen King, JK Rowling, John Grisham, and their ilk. The authors who make billions of dollars and people line up to buy their books. It's like the 1% of the writing world.
Second Tier: Bestsellers
These would be authors who sell a lot of books but probably aren't as well known as the Household Names. I'm trying to think of specific names but I really can't at the moment, so feel free to suggest someone.
Third Tier: Midlisters
These are the authors who might be published by the Big publishers but don't sell enough to get on the bestseller list or on the Today Show or Good Morning America or anything like that.
Fourth Tier: Small/Self-Published
This is Me and pretty much everyone who participates on my blog. The people who have a book published by a small-time publisher or self-published.
Lowest Tier: Unpublished
This tier used to be a lot bigger in the old days before anyone could self-publish on Amazon or Smashwords or whatever. But there are still those people who keep trying to get traditionally published instead of self-publishing or else just haven't quite finished that novel they've been working on for the last fifteen years.
And then each tier can probably be subdivided into other tiers.
The thing is, if you're in one tier it's hard to interact with a tier above you. Again think of it like high school where if a nerd tries to sit with the cool kids, he's liable to end up with an atomic wedgie. (Honestly though I never got any wedgies in high school or shoved into a locker or any of those TV/movie things bullies do.)
For instance, I follow a few Midlisters on Twitter and Facebook and whatnot. Do any of them ever come to this blog to check out my musings? No. Do they ever reply to any Tweets I make that don't reference them specifically? No. Do they Like my random Facebook posts that again don't mention them specifically? Hardly ever. Because they stick to their little clique of friends and acquaintances and I, being only a small/self-published author am not worthy of being in their circle.
At the same time, those Midlisters who shit on me, do you think they can get into the inner circle of a Bestseller? Unlikely. And Stephen King sure as hell isn't going to give them the time of day if they call his mansion. And if some Unpublished schlub wants me to read his latest opus do you think I'm going to make time for him? Um, probably not. Step off dude, I got Big Important Author stuff to do.
I imagine even if you sell enough books to no longer qualify for a lower tier it's still got to be hard to move up socially. I mean if EL James goes to a big fancy cocktail party with a bunch of authors do you think Jonathan Franzen is going to let her into his group of literary snobs? Maybe at first just so they can dump pig's blood on her later.
Anyway, this is my observation of the literary world that is let's face it built on scant anecdotal evidence. Maybe certain Midlisters don't really mean to freeze me out, just like I may unintentionally freeze Unpublished people out. It's just that we've all got our little worlds and it's hard as hell to try to break through the force field keeping you out of someone else's little world. Since we're all authors or would be authors we should probably try to treat each other with mutual respect and stuff, but hey, we're busy right?