As an admin of the ELEW site, I can preview scheduled posts by members. Generally I don’t, but I was doing some site updates before the start of our anniversary month when I saw Seleste’s post. Go ahead and read it if you haven’t yet.
Yeah, I cried.
I worked in publishing for a lot of years, and whatever stereotypes you have of evil gatekeepers and mean editors, please put them to rest. I dunno about the Big Five, but in small press, it was a poor-paying, largely thankless job that people worked because they loved books. And I loved helping people. I loved working with talented writers and nurturing new talent. For the writers I pulled out of slush, I was an advocate; I did hours and hours of extra work on my own time, unpaid, trying to find them places to promote and offer advice and be a shoulder to cry on.
It was one of the many reasons I got really burned out in publishing: it was a lot of energy to put into something where I wasn’t getting paid for it and frequently got shit on. The reality is, I busted ass behind the scenes, and most of the writers I was helping and fighting for had no bloody idea.
Seleste is one of the very few people to ever thank me, and that post of hers made me feel like I was getting the Class Protector Award.
The thing is, I’m not alone, and definitely not unique.
Everyone in your publishing journey is busting their ass in ways you have no idea about. Small example: Dina James here at the ELEW. She pays for the hosting for the site. She has fought to keep it going when I wanted to quit. She has worked tirelessly to bring in great guests for interviews, to keep the members motivated and remind them of their scheduled days. If you have ever enjoyed any post here at the ELEW, know that whether she wrote it or not, Dina is the reason it exists for you to see.
Freelancers, publishing staff. People putting on conventions. The writers who take time to blog about a subject, or who answer your questions about writing. Anyone who takes time to offer advice, who gives you a critique–whether they break the news to you that you’re not ready to publish yet or push you to start submitting because they believe in you. The book bloggers who read and promote books, who in private ask all their friends to read the books they love (their blogs are just the tip of the iceberg).
Most of the people you meet, every step of the way, are trying to help others. And ninety-nine percent of the time, instead of thanks they get either silence or bullshit.
All of you reading this have had people on your writing and publishing journey who have helped you, who have had an influence. Your own Class Protectors. Have you told them thanks?
Thank you for the advice.
Thank you for brightening my writing day a little.
Thank you for that post about ____.
Thank you for believing in my work.
Thank you for being someone I looked up to from afar.
Thank you for writing something that saved my life.
The publishing world, as broken as it often is, could do with a lot more thanks, IMO. Just acknowledging the ways in which we help one another, and remembering those who give us the greatest gifts won’t be here forever.