Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I am not Forward Motion

I am the owner of Forward Motion, and I set the rules for Forward Motion, but I am not the site. That may sound odd, but there are aspects of this that some people don't seem to understand. Forward Motion for Writers has a very specific focus: To help people reach professional publication. Because of that, the site doesn't deal in writing-related material that is not specifically aimed at that goal. We don't post fanfiction. We don't promote self-publication. Neither fall into the realm of professional publication.

That seems simple enough to me. There are other sites that welcome fanfiction and self-publishing. There are other sites that are absolutely against the world of professional publication. Forward Motion's boards cover things that will help many writers, no matter what their personal goals, because we cover a lot of the basics from grammar to world building. We also cover the steps it takes to create a publishable manuscript, from editing and critiquing to query, synopsis and cover letters.

Sounds fine so far.

But just because I run a site dedicated to professional publication doesn't mean I can't have interests outside of it. If people look at my site, they'll find several free stories, all obviously self-published, like the NaNo book and several short stories. I am doing a story on Twitter right now, in fact. I have even been known, in the past, to write fanfiction.

Now here is the problem. People assume that because I run Forward Motion, that I have to be absolutely totally and forever against anything outside of professional publication. It's not true. I do maintain the rules on the site because that is what the site is about -- working towards professional publication. I, personally, think that self-publishing is rarely the best answer, but only because most people leap into it without a clue. Once someone understands what they need to do to be successful at self-publishing -- which means everything from writing well to actively pursuing marketing -- then it's a different story. It still might not be the best answer, but at least the person knows what to expect.

That still comes back to me and the site, though.

Think of it this way: If a person runs a site about how to play professional baseball, that doesn't mean he wouldn't enjoy playing baseball out in the park on Saturdays. It wouldn't stop him from pursuing a career in the minor leagues. The site does not define who he is; it's just something he provides to help others.

Oh, and if someone says to you that Zette is totally against this or that, be sure to check with Zette before you write her a five page letter explaining how wrong she is. People have been claiming I have said and believe certain things for a long time now -- some of them saying such things so often that I've started to wonder if it isn't a purposeful attempt to discredit me. A simple check of my personal site will show that I can't possibly be totally against self-publishing, right?

I am not Forward Motion.

We are all looking at the new world of publishing and wondering which way things are going to go from day to day, let alone for any time in the future. The world of ebook publishing has come down firmly in the realm of professional publication, with companies that work in the same basic ways as many small presses -- with regular submissions, editing and marketing. The ebook world has reached the point I said it would a decade ago -- that ebooks are now just one more regular type of edition: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audio book.

I had not seen how self-publishing would become such a big industry, though. I never expected so many people to accept that having a book in their hands was enough, to be honest. But I also had not realized the trouble the traditional publishing houses would have because of the economy. And the Internet -- of course -- has changed everything. I'm open to change. I like new opportunities like ebook publishing.

So, don't make assumptions and don't assume that something you've heard is always true. There are very few people in the world who are really that one-sided.
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J.A. Marlow said...

Wow, 5 pages? On someone else's words about you? Think of all the original writing that person could have done with that time.

Sometimes trying to provide something helpful to others is a real thankless job. Personally, I'm glad you are. Forward Motion is a wonderful resource, and I've made writing friends I would have never made any other way.

Rah Zette!

Cheryl Peugh said...

Someone actually wrote you a five-page letter explaining how wrong you are about self-publishing? I see two scenarios here---either they're really concerned about you, or they're trying to justify the fact that they either a) self publish, or b) want to self publish. I'm leaning toward justification. What I want to know is, did they spell all their words correctly? (grin)

Zette said...

Okay, I cut and pasted it before I finally deleted the thing. It was a bit over 3 pages. It just read like 5. Actually, it read like 10 pages by the end, but I thought I was being reasonable with 3.

And it was not badly written. Lots of advice, clearly stated, links to sites I already know a great deal about, and then -- unfortunately -- about a page of didactic, over-the-top ranting about traditional publishing ruining the imagination of writers, enslaving them, and how only self-publishing is truly artistic.


That's the problem with fanatics. They can't accept anything that doesn't suit what they want, and never mind if it works for anyone else.

Me? I'm all for trying just about anything, especially if you happen to have a few extra novels/stories in your files.

Zette said...

Reasonable with 5, that is. It's late.

D.M. Bonanno said...

Actually it sounds a bit like parenting. :P