Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Judging What You Read - and Who Wrote It

I just read an angry comment from someone who hates PayPal. She spilled that anger into me, my products, the world in general. When I googled her name to find her site, so I could connect with her on some topic and try to ease her mind, I only found one link in my Google search - on Facebook - and it was angry, too. I was just in her way that day.

I could get upset by it, or move on. Same goes for blog posts, articles and books.

We read material about topics we know well, and get ruffled at the audacity of someone with an opposing stance. We read books from celebrated authors only to wonder how the heck they got published. We scoff at magazines on the stand, questioning who would buy such a thing.

Most recently The young man who shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords and so many others in Tucson, Arizona, was upset at how the world didn't see his views about politics. Unfortunately he acted out about his disgruntlement. While he's an extreme example, I have to admit it saddens me to see the caustic words of people who just don't agree with someone else.

I do not understand the agitated souls who think their viewpoint has to supercede all others - especially in written material. I do not read scifi because it bores me. That doesn't mean I look down my nose at scifi authors. Quite the contrary. I admire their world-building. But I don't boycott stores with scifi, or leave contrary remarks on authors' blogs. I'll post scifi markets all day long - if they pay.

Someone recently chastized me for posting Christian markets in FundsforWriters newsletters. Someone else bashed me for listing a gay magazine. Two years ago, yet another person unsubscribed because the latest issue had Jewish magazine submission guidelines posted. Funny, nobody has complained about erotica.

I feel my job as a service provider is to reach any and all writers by providing calls for submissions from as many diversified venues as possible. I have a religious preference, a politican view, a social opinion on many topics. However, I understand that people and publications with other conceptions exist. They may occassionally reach out to me, too. They advertise on sites I visit, the magazines I read, the stores I enter. That shouldn't make me mad. I have the option to delete, ignore, or walk away. It's that simple. Others have the option of deleting me, too. It doesn't mean I've failed.

You are a product, or a product producer. Produce it to the best of your ability. Try to understand what your targeted market wants, then make them happy. But know this...as a writer, you will not and cannot please all the masses. Let judgment of you roll off. In turn, don't judge others so harshly.

We write to express ourselves. It's an honor, in my opinion. If somewhere along the way we try to censure each other's views, we'll rue the longterm results, and somewhere down the line we'll wish we hadn't made that mistake.

Live and let live is a common adage. Apply it to writing and maybe the world will be a little bit happier.


JD said...

When a person is secure in the wisdom of his belief, he is not threatened by another's opposing belief. In contrast, a person who denigrates others over contrary views stands on shaky ground and desperately needs validation. In short, that latter person just ain't buying what he's selling but wants to rattle you into believing otherwise.

So someone's feathers got ruffled because you posted information about a site dedicated to this or that religion, or this or that service. That person has way bigger issues than feigning insult at your helpful posts. Imagine what his emotional state must be to actually have unsubscribed over the mere mention of something like a major religion. And if that person had the focus to actually read your blog or newsletter, he would've learned that you're pretty even-handed. We are all better off without the angry bully looking to pick a fight.

Have a lovely day!

Mary Ingmire said...

I'm amazed at how quickly people shut off conversation about a topic if you don't agree with them. Or else, they rant. Then they avoid you later as if your value as a person is comprised of that opinion. Thanks for the pep talk about keeping an open mind.

Nancy said...

Well said, Hope. I am so turned off by people whose attitude is "my way or no way." We needn't agree with another writer all the time, but we sure do need to learn to respect her opinion. Seems like the Golden Rule would apply here.


widdershins said...

"Funny, nobody has complained about erotica." .... says way too much about the human condition!

Lyn Fairchild Hawks said...

Hi, Hope,

Great points made. I think people feel better "taking a stand"--and how much easier to do so in a somewhat anonymous rant, where someone doesn't have to look you in the eye.

Also, I wonder if the ranters are in the services industry that you are. Much easier to complain from the other side of the desk. :-)

I can relate to this in that I sometimes had to discuss parents' issues with texts we taught in school. I was always glad to look at alternative options for students and very much appreciated when a parent approached me calmly, thoughtfully, and in the best interest of the child. When someone comes at you yelling, it takes a special kind of patience and a deep breath to listen...and yet, in a position of service, you must listen. And then, as it's been already said so well, not take it personally.


Kelli said...

I welcome all of the leads you post. If I don't want to write for a particular publication you've listed, I move on. It's like television: If you don't like what you see, change the channel.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this important reminder that if we were all just a little more accepting of differing views, the world might just grow round a little easier. I admire you for posting markets that appeal to all types of writers!

MaDonna Maurer said...

I just wanted to say thanks for ALL the leads you post. I'm so glad you have such a wide range of leads. =)

Jenn Crowell said...

Hope, I have so much respect for your even-handed point of view. I, too, appreciate the diversity of the markets you post -- and if someone else doesn't care for them, well, then, they don't have to submit to them or read them!

Hope Clark said...

Thanks, Y'all-

I don't mind other viewpoints - diversity. As long as they aren't force-feeding them to me, I think it's cool. I remember as a small child in elementary school (mid-60s), we were taught about cultures, and we admired the differences, had a curiosity for them, and it was considered healthy. When did we become over-sensitized? So I do my best to post something for everyone, still remembering that innocent time in my life. Heck, we even let Yankees come to my South now! And we get along just fine! LOL

Mike said...

Coming late to this discussion but I echo the others. Thank you, Hope, for your willingness to accept diverse opinions and markets. It is a relief that one who provides inspiration and information for my writing endeavors also has a willingness to embrace diversity. I think the Internet has amplified a lot of hatreds that were already out there - now everyone has their turn at the microphone, so to speak. Anyway, keep those great tips coming - this Yankee really appreciates them ;-)

Brenda Coxe said...

I think it's important to appeal to a wide range of writers, and to do that you must cover the territory that appeals to everyone. Since you cannot do that by simply publishing those posting that will not offend anyone, you have to open up your eyes and provide information that will appeal to SOMEONE in your readership. If a particular listing doesn't appeal to you, pass it by and move on to the next one.