Black or White Sheep?

In the past few years, I’ve had ample opportunity to observe and participate in the writing/reading world. I’ve come in contact with more people in nine hundred days than I have in my entire life and sometimes, it’s a bit overwhelming. But I can say this: I’ve learned A LOT. 

That first adrenaline rush of becoming a ‘published author’ still happens if, by the grace of God, my submission gets accepted by my publisher. And I thank my lucky stars every single day for shining down upon me. Because, let’s be honest…I haven’t always had the greatest luck.  I love being part of a publishing family and thank goodness I now have a great one!

However, under my other pseudo, the experience has been FAR from the same.  I was under the assumption (which could be my own fault), that when you are published through a publisher, you are part of that publishing FAMILY. Yet, when I visit my very first publisher’s site, I do NOT see any existence of the persona I was published under. And it isn’t just me who’s missing. A few others seem to have never existed other than by listing IN that particular book. They don’t have an “author tab” on that site. How hard is it to add EACH author? I compare it to being left out of the family photo.

I could be wrong, but even if you are only published in an anthology, doesn’t that still QUALIFY you as an AUTHOR? Did I miss some sort of memo that states I’m unworthy of such a title? As far back as I recall, my CONTRACT states that my pseudo is an author at that house…regardless of how many books I’ve written for them. In fact, inside that anthology, I am listed as an author. So what exactly does this mean?

I sent in my bio for that pseudo…at least twice. Where is it? In fact, other than a SHORT write up about OUR anthology, there isn’t any other mention on their blog. What truly perplexes me is that this book has been their ‘top selling antho’ for over a year! You’d think that would be worth something.

Their online “group” is not the ‘family’ they claim to be and you’re made to feel welcome as long as you speak of down & dirty sexual acts on a daily basis. And there’s quite a bit of hypocrisy and backbiting happening over there…just a FEW of the types of behavior I can’t stand and refuse to be party to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude. But isn’t there more to life and writing than SEX? 

Is it because I couldn’t stomach their policies or treatment? I couldn’t find any inspiration there. At all. When sex without romance is in your face twenty-four-seven, it can make you feel disgusting. I couldn’t find even a miniscule scrap of inspiration to write another story for them. Maybe that’s the problem? I didn’t send all of my work to THEM? As far as I know, my STORY may be exclusive to them, but I never sold my pseudo’s soul or name to them. 
I don’t share pictures of half-naked or fully naked men and women performing promiscuous acts UNLESS it’s the bookcover for that particular book. Is that a reason to ignore an in-house author? Don’t get me wrong…I have NO PROBLEM with people sharing those pics. What I do have a problem with is that it’s more or less expected.  And if you don’t post and share the same “themed” pictures and posts, you’re made to feel inferior. 

In a “family” where the black sheep are actually the norm, does that make me the ‘white lamb’? Are the rest of us not dark and dirty enough to be acknowledged? If that’s the case…so be it. I really have no problem with being labeled an ‘outcast’ along with my fellow authors who have been ‘shunned’. In fact, I embrace it.

You see, it doesn’t matter if they choose to acknowledge me (us) or not. At the end of the day, at least I know I’ll be able to lay my head down and sleep with a clear conscience.  I haven’t snubbed them, nor have I ever announced who “they” are. However, I won’t be singing their praises either. Not even to make sales. Oh…did I mention that I was basically the only one who wanted that book to sell? I pimped that book everywhere I could afford to while the other “family” members focused on grabbing fans based on sexual preferences and lifestyles for their other books. There was no “family” mentallity when it came to that book. 

Thank God I NOW have an AMAZING publisher and family with Secret Cravings Publishing under THIS pseudo, Madison Sevier, and now I know why I had such reservations about the other publisher’s false ‘accolades’.  The fact remains, those of us who’ve been labeled as the “white sheep” have gone on to better places. And amazingly, we didn’t have to sell our souls or post about our own personal sexual acts to do so. 

So, I ask you: What has been your experience with a publisher or publishers? Good? Bad? Ugly? Have you been the ‘black or white lamb’?

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