In psychology experiments, researchers found that people consistently give in to authority. Milgram famously showed that most people will deliver fatal shocks to an innocent person begging them to stop -- if it's a doctor telling them to.
In a room full of fake planted people who are all giving an obviously wrong answer to a question - saying a red square is blue - people will give in, stifle themselves, and lie.
Authority + conformity = silence.
But when a single person stands up -- just one -- then people start listening to their sanity and conscience. Then a second person stands up. Then a third. Then it's a full-on rebellion.
The second post just hit the fan -- Bryan and Brandon from "A Beer in the Shower" were inspired by my antics to make a comic "The Bookseller's Bottom Bitch."
Who has the courage to stand third? You're not alone.
Here's the thing: Everybody who's gone it alone when self-publishing was still the kiss of death--when everyone told you you had to self-publish because you write shit, but you self-published anyway... They led the rebellion. The rebellion is not new. The fact that Sebastian's willing to take one to the knee IS new, however.
Shit, I started my own publishing company and I ended up with a sideline of formatting ebooks before there were really any players in the game. My titles aren't bestsellers, but some of them actually end up in college classes.
I've been at this for a while, and I'm still a relative newcomer. Talk to Dan Poynter, April Hamilton, Warren Adler, Aaron Shepard, Morris Rosenthal. Those are the shoulders I stand on. The fact is, we're too busy doing our own shit now to worry about the big guys. Authors will forever NEED their work to be validated by someone else, and as long as there are more of those kinds of authors than ones who say "fuck it," and do their own thing, traditional publishing will exist.
So this part--the part where somebody's willing to brave the paper blizzard--this part's new. And I've got popcorn...
"Authority + conformity = silence." - that's a terribly true formula... Reminds me of Russia's current policital situation.
Thanks for the shout out, my friend, and we're glad to be a part of something that needed saying in the publishing industry. We got dicked around by another member of the Big Six (for almost a year), with the promises of a fairly lucrative contract for a unique program that would have revolutionized digital sales... but then they scrapped this program in favor of the conservative, milquetoast book selling that's already been killing them for years. They took 6 months to tell us this, in a 2 sentence e-mail that might as well have just said "fuck off."
We fully support your efforts, and we'll be following your progress closely. We'll also be looking for that e-book of yours over at theoneweekbook.com.
Everyone I know is terrified of air travel.
They have infinite power and zero accountability.
When you're in an airport, you're at the mercy of the people there. If they don't like what you're doing, they can do anything they want to you, and you have no recourse.
I understand the necessity of that coercive power - but such immense power requires immense accountability.
One of the great sacrifices of subjecting kids to school is that it trains them to ask for permission for everything, from turning in work late, to changing to a different class, to more mundane things like going to the bathroom. It's a tradeoff, of course: condition kids to seek permission for everything, and by doing so enable a system to exist where they receive an education.
Maybe that's a worthwhile tradeoff, and maybe it's not. But the real harm in it, in my opinion anyway, is that when we leave school, we're still in the habit of asking permission for everything. That's dangerous.
A manifestation of this that I come across with frequently is the questions that people send me by email. Here's a paraphrased template, which covers a good 60%+ of the emails I get from strangers: