Why Can’t We All Just Play Nice?

So this one’s a bit of a rant. If you’re an author, you may have been following the recent story of a literary agency that let an agent go and dropped most of the agent’s clients with a mass email. According to the social media posts, some of these authors supposedly had contracts in mid‑negotiation when they received the message.

Remember, There Are Always Two Sides to a Story – Except on Social Media

And that’s when it became apparent that there was more to the story. No business knowingly walks away from an actual deal in the middle of a legitimate negotiation, just leaving all that lovely money on the table.

For the most part, I have given up on social media. In my opinion, it’s only good for two things:

  • Advertising
  • Creating an uproar by posting one-sided or incomplete information

So I ignored the brouhaha. Just the usual crazies on a social media rant.

But Social Media Spills Over

Of course, the business involved couldn’t ignore it because it affected the company’s reputation. They put out their own version of the facts and gave multiple interviews on the topic. So the topic again invaded my headspace, even though I gave the social media mess a wide berth.

Now, before you get angry at me and say I’m defending the bad guys, let me just say that I am not doing that at all. I am not defending the agency, not defending the displaced authors, not defending their erstwhile agent. I don’t have any skin in this game, except it reminded me of how grateful I am that I am self-published and don’t have to deal with this stuff.

But I am decrying two things. One, if I’d been let go from a job, I would not want the twitterverse endlessly hash-tagging and reposting the alleged facts. I’d want to go away, lick my wounds for a bit, and then reenter the fray. Smearing this all over the internet is not a nice way to treat the displaced agent.

And if I were the company, I wouldn’t continue offering interviews and social media posts explaining and justifying what they did or did not do, and when or if they did what they did. I’m not sure I’d even announce what I was doing to fix whatever I allegedly did.

There’s No Excuse For Rudeness

Really, what I find most deplorable about this situation is the rampant disregard the publishing industry has for authors. Without whom, may I add, the other factions in the industry have no reason to exist.

No matter which part of the industry they work in, it often feels like many people in publishing don’t treat other people the way people should be treated.

Courteously. Politely. Professionally.

This bad behavior is especially visible when the people they are mistreating are authors.

Publishing feels like a very rude industry. Sometimes it looks like anyone who has even a tiny bit of influence or control over the necessary resources uses that influence to make other people grovel or feel bad. Especially when those poor mistreated people are authors.

Maybe that’s why so many authors have turned to independent publishing.


  1. I’ve missed all this brouhaha. I tend to miss most brouhaha to be honest.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a general lack of thinking about others and treating others nicely in the world at large these days. I feel like social media has made it worse because we don’t think about the person on the other end of the screen. We know we are right, and we unleash and vent without thinking about the consequences. Especially since our friends will rally around us. This seems like an overflow of that.

    And good people get caught in the fallout every single time.

    It’s sad. And I don’t quite know how to go about fixing it. Especially since I fear I add to the problem at times instead of being part of the solution, no matter how much I try.

  2. Sharon, I didn’t hear any of this, so I can’t comment–except to say that I have witnessed an alarming number of social media attacks launched by people who choose to believe what fits their own particular narrative. The loser in all this is truth. Sometimes people are forced to apologize, but most often they aren’t. In today’s world, we should exercise patience and give people the benefit of the doubt wherever possible.

  3. I’m grateful that I’m in a chapter of my own life where I am totally oblivious to all this bs. I also do not understand why the publishing business has to feel like a perpetual extension of high school. I agree we should just play nice and work on writing our best work.

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