Monday, January 18, 2016

Favoritism, Maddie and Oscar, Indie Book Awards, and Self-Publishing

1. Learned, from IMDb, that Bridget Neval from Wicked Science played Neighbour's first openly gay character.

2. Started watching an episode of Wicked Science.

3. Thought that an actress on this episode looks very familiar.

4. Saw that the actresses name is Emma Leonard.

I saw her in Very Small Business.

At first I vaguely remembered her, but couldn't remember her character. But as I was writing the above sentence, I remembered.

She played the daughter of Kim Gyngell, and was romantically involved with a guy played by Geoff Paine.

5.  Reminded of things, I see in my life, when watching the episode of Wicked Science.

There's a science teacher who shows obvious favoritism towards one student and obvious disdain towards another student.

I know someone like that.

I think favoritism, to a small degree, is natural.

Parents are going to have favorite children. Grandparents will have favorite children. Children will have a favorite parent. Teachers will have favorite kids. Aunts and uncles have their favorite nieces and nephews.

What's not okay is when a person shows obvious favoritism towards someone. What's even worse is when that person treats a less-favored person with chronic contempt.

One thing I've realized is that sometimes one of the victims, in the situation, is the favored person.

Now on Wicked Science, this isn't the case.  Elizabeth (Neval) exploits being favorited and contributes to Toby (Andre de Vanny) being treated like scum.

But in other cases, the favorited person might start to be resented by the group. they might especially be resented by the person who receives inferior treatment.

6. Thought of a fictional example.

Let's say Grandma Betty has several grandchildren.  Her obvious favorite is cute little Estela. Whenever the family is all together, Grandma Betty warns the other children against playing with Estala's toys.  If any other child is seen playing with Estela's toys, Grandma Betty tells them to stop.

Estela herself doesn't mind that anyone play with her toys if she's not playing with them. But because of Grandma Betty's interference, the other kids start to believe that Estela is a brat who refuses to share her toys. This is especially the case for young Rodrigo. Grandma Betty frequently criticizes Rodrigo, because he's her least favorite grandchild. She also heavily scolds him every time he's seen playing with Estela's toys. One time he even got scolded for playing with a toy that belonged to him, because Grandma Betty thought it was Estela's toy.  When told about the mistake, Grandma Betty refused to apologize.

Now Rodrigo holds a lot of resentment and dislike towards Estela.  He treats her pretty much the same way Grandma Betty treats him.  So Grandma Betty has actually created a negative and stressful experience for her beloved Estela.

7. Thought that the favorited person is not so innocent if she eagerly accepts the preferential treatment, and if she ignores and conveniently forgets the inferior treatment of the others in the group.

It's much better if the favorited person speaks out against the differential treatment and is willing to listen and show sympathy towards the ones who are treated less favorably.  

If she happily accepts the special treatment and tells the complainers to stop dwelling on the past and to stop being so negative, she is probably not helping her case.

8. Started watching and episode of Home and Away.

9. Wondered what's the deal between Maddie (Kassandra Clementi) and Oscar (Jake Speer).

Maddie seems to have a lot of love for Oscar. It's very important for her to have him with her during her chemo treatment.  I'm not sure if it's romantic love, friend love, or relative-love.

Then Oscar seemed quite ready to leave with the rest of Maddie's support entourage . She asked him to stay, and he didn't seem overly eager about it.

Is the love one-sided?

Then there's some other guy who seems to be somewhat jealous of Maddie's love for Oscar. Did he date Maddie in the past?

10. Learned that the guy who seems jealous of Maddie's love for Oscar is named Spencer (Andrew J. Morley)

11. Watched a scene that provided the answers about Maddie and Oscar.

Oscar has had feelings for Maddie for awhile. I guess she didn't reciprocate?  But now she likes him back.. Oscar worries it's because she's sick. That's why he's being standoffish.

12. Wasn't sure I understood Oscar's viewpoint. Why would having cancer make someone love someone they wouldn't love otherwise?

I'd be more concerned if the healthy one in the pair was suddenly showing more affection. Then it might be suspected that the affection is propelled by sympathy rather than love.

13. Thought Oscar's plan of giving Maddie space is absolutely awful.

Earlier, I was feeling kind of bad for him. I thought Maddie was the one with feelings and he was playing along to be nice. I felt he was kind of imprisoned by Maddie. But if that's not true; if he has feelings for her, he should be there for her!

14. Saw that an Indie book awards is trending among Australian Twitterers.

15. Saw that one of Geraldine Brooks books is being shortlisted by the awards.

I didn't know she was considered an Indie writer.

I pictured Indie writers to be like me—people publishing their own books and struggling.

I'd be fine including writers who struggled without an agent and publishing company; then managed to become successful.

I'm not sure I'd want to include writers who became successful in the mainstream market; then when they had enough money, confidence, and a built-in readership, they went independent.  It's not that I don't applaud these authors for standing on their own and giving a bye bye to the middleman.  It's just I'd prefer....

Well, I worry that the less supported writers will be overshadowed by the ones who are already successful.

16. Figured I should probably learn more about Geraldine Brooks and her book before making assumptions. Maybe she started out publishing her own stuff.

17. Consulted Lord Wiki. He says that Brook's first novel, Year of Wonders was published by Viking Books which is part of Penguin Books.  So her first novel wasn't Indie.

18. Saw from Lord Wiki that The Secret Chord, the book that was short-listed by the Indie Awards, was published by Viking as well.

I don't get it.

How would that be an Indie book?

19. Wondered if the Australian definition of Indie books is different from mine.

Or maybe there was a mistake on Twitter.

20. Wanted to mention, before moving on, that the title The Secret Chord refers to the lyrics from Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah".  

That's pretty cool.

21. Googled and got the idea I have it all wrong.

I'm thinking that these Indie book awards don't refer to the writer or the books. They refer to the bookstores.

22. Went to the Indie Book Awards website.

Yeah. I did get it wrong. The Indie refers to the bookstore.

23. Hoped that these independent bookstores sometimes award independent books and writers.

They do support Aussie writers, so I'll applaud them on that. The contest is open only to Australians and permanent residents.

24. Looked at past winners of the award to see how many I've read.

25. Decided to list them: Addition by Tony Jordan, Breath by Tim Winton, The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper, Nine Days by Tony Jordan, and The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman.

26. Felt quite behind in my Aussie reading.

What can I say?

Now, for me, it's mostly about Aussie TV shows.

27. Looked at the 2016 shortlist.

Morris Gleitzman's Soon was nominated.  It's another book in his Holocaust series. I didn't realize he had written another.

28. Wondered if I have managed to read the other books in his series.

29. Looked at Gleitzman's website.   The books besides Soon are Now, Then, and After.

I think I've read only Now and Then.

30. Looked at the debut writer section of the 2016 shortlist to see if any of them are independent writers, meaning not published by a big publishing company. As far as I can see, none of them are what I'd call an independent writer.

31. Felt stupid.

I had looked up all the books, but now I see the publishing company is listed right there on the awards page.


32. Looked at the longlist for the awards.

Even there, there're no independent writers.  At least there's no one who seems to be self-published.

There're a couple of books that have been published by independent publishing companies.  Most seem to be published by major publishing companies.

33. Wondered how independent publishing company is defined.

I picture it as a very small-staffed company. They work in a small office and publish only a few books a year.  They struggle to get their books noticed, and they have to work hard to get their books on store bookshelves.

34. Googled and did some reading—tried to figure out the definition of independent publisher. This article, and some others, define it as a publisher not affiliated with any large corporation or conglomerate.

It can be someone who publishes one or two books a year, or a large non-corporate company that publishes thousands of books a year.

35. Continued to feel that the Independent Bookstore industry in Australia should have recognized more self-published authors and/or authors published by very small and struggling publishing companies.

36. Thought of a very good self-published Aussie novel I read a couple of years ago.

I can't remember the name, but I can probably find it on my Goodreads bookshelf.

37. Found the book. It's Atancia by Wren Figueiro.

I'm pretty sure Figueiro published it herself.

Despite the book being pretty great—at least I thought so, it's ranked fairly low (1,013, 473) in the Amazon ranking thing.  But if independent book stores gave it more notice, maybe the book would be doing much better.

38. Thought about how there's shame attached to self-publishing—the idea that the agents and publishing companies have rejected you, so you're just going to throw your own crap out there.

I hope, though, that we move away from that mindset when it comes to all types of art—film, books, music, etc.  If great singers can begin their careers on YouTube, why can't writers begin their success by uploading their own work to Kindle.

And some have, actually.  

39. Remembered that Fifty Shades of Grey began as a self-published book.

I think Eragon did as well.

40. Felt the main problem I've seen with self-publishing is the promotion part.

I've participated in groups on Goodreads where we were pushed to heavily promote each others books on social media, but without actually reading them. It's like a writer would be chosen and that day a bunch of other writer's would mention that person's book.

I've had writers Tweet about my book; and then that Tweet was Retweeted. But neither of these Twitterers had actually read my book.

It all reminds me of that scene in the Muppet Takes Manhattan with the whispering campaign.   Let's get a bunch of people to talk about our book on Twitter. People will see it trending and believe the book is popular.

41. Remembered how I read this guy's self-published Minecraft novel. I wrote a review as he had kindly requested. I hoped that he would read my book. As far as I know, he never did.  But he Tweeted about my book to followers.  I imagine some people would be grateful. But I think all this empty-recommending causes more harm than good.

If someone recommends something on Twitter, I'd like to know that their heart is really behind it. I don't want to see recommendations that were done as a favor or as a Quid pro quo.

Then there are these companies that sell and/or offer the service of promoting your book. I started following one on Twitter and considered paying for their services. Their thing was writing promotional Tweets for self-published books.  I played my part in being a writer who supports other writers by reading some of the books promoted by this company. But I soon got the idea that there were very readers following the Tweets; or at least not many readers paying attention. I think most of the followers of this self-publishing promoting company were writers who wanted their work promoted.

42. Decided if YouTube was like the self-publishing world, it would be a bunch of people uploading their videos, but rarely/never watching anyone else's uploaded videos. They'd either watch no videos, or they'd watch videos only made by major film and TV studios.

43. Thought of Tropfest.

Hopefully the people submitting their films also take the time to watch the films that other people submitted.

44. Felt that although it would be wonderful if independent booksellers did more to support independent writers, what really needs to happen is for independent writers to support each other. And by support, I mean truly reading the books and recommending the ones they've enjoyed.

45. Wondered if bloggers also need to support each other.


It's nice if they do, but not necessary.

I suspect that most of the people who read my blog are not bloggers themselves.  I think there's a lovely symbiosis between those out there who want to read blogs and those who want to write blogs.

With books, it's different, because writers like me are in competition with the writers published by big publishing companies.  Why are people going to buy my book when they can buy something from Geraldine Brooks, Stephen King, Anne Rice, John Green, Liane Moriarty, etc?   And if they don't want to spend a lot of money, they can download a classic for free—a classic by a well-known name.

If independent writers buy and read each other's work, at least we'll be making those sales. And if we promote with honesty, maybe non-writer readers will start showing interest in our work as well.

46. Thought about the time where I was reading self-published books. A few of them were Australian, and I wrote about a few of them on my blog.  I wonder if any people reading my blog followed the link, and bought the book.

I would love to imagine that I helped a writer find a reader.

I like promoting various independent artists on my blog—other bloggers, YouTube singers, photographers, novelists, etc.

What bothers me is the idea that I've never managed to actually bring attention to any of these people. I also dislike the idea that the only person who cares that I've written about this person is the person themselves. They Google their name and come to my blog.  I would hope that after reading about themselves, the person wanders around my blog a bit and learns about other independent artists, and/or read other things on my blog.

Sometimes I imagine these people reading only about themselves on my blog; then moving on. They don't care about other people I've talked about. They don't care about me.  They only want to know what I've said about them.

47. Hoped what I imagine isn't true too often.

Narcissism really gets on my nerves.