Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why I'm Supporting the Dorchester/Leisure Boycott

So the hullabaloo about Dorchester/Leisure Fiction continues.   Apparently they've answered the allegations against them, and Brian Keene has answered back.   Unfortunately, this doesn't look like something that'll get solved anytime soon.

I've had some time to read other blogs from other writers concerning this whole thing.  Most of them feel the same as myself.  Others, like Alethea Kontis, pointed out just how sticky this whole situation is, and that while she doesn't approve of what has happened, she can't in good faith support the boycott because of the potential collateral damage to folks she cares about.  Even though I still would've supported the boycott even after reading her blog, I wish I'd read it first, because I honestly didn't think of it in those terms.

Which did lead me to consider: why?  Why join the boycott?  Who am I to throw in with a huge boycott that's much larger than me, and what clout could I possibly add to the cause?  Well - not a whole lot of clout, but it comes down to several things:

1. At one time - not so long ago - Dorchester/Leisure was the home of midlist, mass market paperback horror.  And they accepted unagented, unsolicited manuscripts.   Considering all the stories about how they'd sit on stories and never get back to people, that seemed like a great opportunity.  I never once considered them "the top", but it seemed like a great place to start.  It's disappointing and disheartening to see where they've landed, partly because of the economy, I'm sure, but now very much, it seems, as a matter of karma.

2. With the publishing industry convulsing as bad as it is, with the transition from print to ebook and print, and uncertainty everywhere, seems like Leisure missed the boat.  Again, considering that I don't know ANYTHING about the intricacies of publishing, seems to me they COULD have established themselves as a place of stability, a place to weather the coming storms in publishing.  

They could've been family, in a way (once again, the continual rumors of their ill-treatment of authors notwithstanding).  It's been like that at Shroud, and I know if Tim Deal had more resources, he'd make Shroud an even bigger beachhead against the turbulent changes in the publishing world.  Leisure has/had the resources, and now they've wasted them, it seems.

3.  It's a matter of principal, of supporting those who have supported you, stated very eloquently in Maurice Broaddus' blog, not only by him, but by author Bob Freeman in this quote: 

"People like (these writers)..... have bent over backwards for me and others in our little circle of dark fictioneers. So, if you don’t mind me being blunt, if somebody &@#%$ with them, then I feel it is our obligation to &@#% back. Why? Because that’s what families do.”

Now, I can't make the claim of calling these folks family.  Simply put, you have to endure lots of storms together for that, that's something that's earned, and I haven't earned that title yet.  I can be open and honest and admit I have no idea where I fit in with these folks yet, (if I fit in at all) other than the fact that I'm an eager-insecure-sorta-stupid "Johnny-Come-Lately" and that's about it.  But, when I think about the Leisure authors who have been friendly, instructive, accessible, great to work with, a lot of help, people I respect, or folks who have just been plain nice to me....

Nate Kenyon
Brian Keene
John Everson
Gary Braunbeck
Mary Sangiovanni
Rob Dunbar
Wrath White
Ed Lee
Douglas Clegg

Haven't Ever Met But Really Respect:

Ramsey Campbell
Tim Lebbon
Sarah Pinborough

...and many others, and when I think about the situation that a lot of them are in...I get angry.  These people have been, at the very least polite and tolerant and accommodating, and in many cases a lot of help.   So, even though in the end I don't add a whole lot of clout, that's why I signed on.

It's the least I can do.  Along with trying to support publishers like Shroud, Thunderstorm, Cemetery Dance, Deadite, Angry Robot, Woodland, Apex, PS Publishing, Subterranean and many others.

Wish I could do more.