UPDATE: I posted this a year ago. It’s actually more relevant today that it was then. It’s time to hoist the black flag.Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. Click To Tweet
I thought I’d finish up this crazy week with a post about what I learned when my book went viral.
Here’s what I learned…
Stop being afraid of the Gate Keepers.
I also learned that most people, and we’re specifically talking about writers in this discussion, are afraid of the Gate Keepers. Afraid of the Gate Keepers and a small band of zealots who will slur them with bad thoughts and nasty names. You know… like back in elementary school. Kid’s stuff. But believe it or not, there are grown people who live in Total Fear that the other side will call them a racist bigot, a misogynist, or ignorant. And they’re afraid that a baseless slur will hurt their career dreams, or hopes of even having a career.
Truly. Even big timers afraid of this. The internet’s a wild place where anyone can wade in on you big time and tell everybody just how horrible you are.
Scary stuff I heard this week:
Several big time writers, I mean like heavy hitters, as related to me by a very reliable source, support those who are challenging the Gate Keepers. Those who are writing their own ideas on character, plot, and story as opposed to the one-mind-state echo chamber’s Official PC Thought Style Manual. You know… all stories must be about race politics and transgender issues to be worthy of publication. Note: Those are not actually stories. Those are aspects of character. Moving on… these heavy hitters, as related to me by that reliable source, are afraid to stand up for either the right of those who challenge the Gate Keepers to be ignorant and publish what they want, or, they’re afraid to stand up and say things they feel to be true because a few people, a very few in fact, vocal people who treat the Internet much like a spider views her web, might not like what they say. These very few align with many editors and publishing types, in taste. SO it feels like a super majority. In fact, it’s not. It’s the provincialism of the NYC crowd as pointed out by the Passive Voice blog, aligning with the spiders. So why are these heavy hitters, and other writers, afraid? Why? Because the heavy hitters and all the other writers who want to be heavy hitters, don’t want to rock the boat. In other words, they don’t want to have their bowl of rice taken away. They want to be successful. Who doesn’t? And so… they say nothing because they don’t want to lose it all.
Question: Why would they lose it all for saying what they feel and think to be true in a free country like America? Even if it’s ignorant?
Answer: Because a cabal of zealots don’t want to hear any ideas but their own. They’ve actually hectored and whisper-campaigned so that any who dissent will get punished should they be so bold as to violate the echo chamber.
Example: Another writer came to me through a back channel. Career in publishing type. Knew well a writer who was told to change a chapter… OR ELSE. (Hey, same as me at Harper Collins). Writer refused. They told him he might as well kill himself because he was finished in publishing.
Like school yard goblins they tormented a writer who was different.
Apparently this contributed to the writer’s untimely demise.
Writing is a lonely business. It’s easy to be tormented.
Especially by the goblins who chant “Say what we want you to say, or you won’t get to play.”
That’s what it boils down to.
Oh, and bonus round, if you do say what you want to say, even if it’s ignorant, we’ll call you names. Because in this day and age of Clicktivism, names really will really hurt you. They have hurt people. Seriously. Lion-Killing-Doctor- guy? They do stuff like that to make sure you know the names will hurt you. And your career.
They’ll call you “Homophobic”.
This is a word that’s been gerrymandered to imply that someone is afraid of homosexuals.
But that’s not what it means.
It just sounded sexier.
Here’s what one reviewer had to say re: my novel. I thought it was quite erudite and witty.
“I have also seen a review that accuses the novel of being “homophobic”. There are two possibilities here. One, someone has confused the Greek meaning of “homos”, meaning “same”, with the Latin “homo”, meaning “mankind” (as in homo sapiens). The Consensus of Thinking Machines is definitely phobic (fearful) of mankind. So fearful that they plan the pre-emptive destruction of homo sapiens as a precaution.”
Homo Phobic means being afraid of humans.
Being afraid of Homosexuals would be arsenokoitēs-phobic. Arsenokoitēs is the ancient Greek word for gays. Phobic is the word for “fear of.’ Arsenokoitēs-phobic. Fear of Gay People.
It’s not as sexy so I see why they re-branded that other word.
I got called that this week, and a lot of other things.
Didn’t hurt me a bit. In fact it helped. My book is sitting at number One in Cyberpunk on Amazon and #141 on Amazon overall.
In fact, getting called names helped me. A lot of people, writers and other folks, are tired of the one-mind-state echo chamber spiders calling everyone names that don’t actually mean anything. The quiet masses came out and bought my book in support, and sometimes spite.
This was not the hoped-for, or really, my much-feared, effect of my blog post last Tuesday on how my publisher violated me by demanding an unacceptable idea be removed from my book. When I hit publish on that article on Tuesday I pretty much knew I was knocking my bowl of rice to the ground. I knew I was cast out of the Big Publishing crowd. And I knew I was about to burn that bridge forever. Yes, my publisher had made good on their threat when I refused to change the idea they found deeply offensive in my book. Yes, Harper Collins had cast me out. And note: I loved Harper Collins. To me it was like putting on the Yankee pinstripes. I was brokenhearted when I got canned. But as pointed out by Larry Correia, I was a solid mid-lister . I had critical, and, commercial success. I even had a pitch at Orbit and the editor had just asked for 100 pages. I’d even written those 100 pages.
The safe play was to say nothing and scurry for the cover of a new publishing house. A new bowl of rice. Back in the tribe and maybe this time I’ve learned my lesson.
But as I said… I don’t like being bullied.
So I burned it all down to the ground.
Or at least, that’s what I thought I was doing when I flew the Black Flag on my Facebook page on Tuesday (check the date stamp if you don’t believe me) and hit publish on a blog post that got, eventually, over 20k hits. I thought I was saying the un-say-able. I thought I was throwing any bowl of rice I might ever get from the mainstream onto to the dirt floor of the concentration camp that is Big Publishing today.
That’s what I thought.
It wasn’t a marketing scheme like some implied. Remember, I had that pitch at Orbit. I wanted back in the tribe.
No, I flew the Black Flag because I was tired of the one mind-state game that serves neither readers nor writers. I figured, after effectively keying the boss’s car, that I’d just write my little stories and pub them on Amazon and make do. I did it before. I could do it again.
Except a whole bunch of people are just as sick of the Gatekeepers and the Zealot Spiders as I am.
And they voted with their dollars.
CTRL ALT Revolt! went viral.
So I guess you can say what you feel, even if it’s ignorant, racist, and homophobic, all things which I was wrongfully accused of this week, and still have a bowl of rice.
This is America. I support the right of everyone to be just as ignorant as I am.
I support the right of gays to be ignorant.
I support the right of Atheists to be ignorant.
I support the support the right of Muslims to be ignorant.
I support the right of Christians to be ignorant.
I support the right of everyone to be as ignorant as they want to be.
They should be able to do so without suddenly becoming the focus of a small group of zealot spiders who only ever want to hear their own boorish opinions.
Being “ignorant” and “racist” and “homophobic” and “misogynistic” has worked out great for me.
When I stopped being afraid of what they might to do me and just did what I wanted to do… I went viral.
Think about it.
So go ahead and be ignorant, racist, homophobic, misogynist, or whatever. I got called all those things and it didn’t hurt me any. In fact, I didn’t even respond to the name-calling. Because none of it’s true.
I had no idea when I ordered this cover from cover artist Mike Corley that it would be so appropriate. But it turned out to be just that. If you support the right for people to be ignorant, if you’re against the snobs that demand everyone think just like them, then check out the first chapter of my ignorance below with a free preview from Amazon. See for yourself how ignorant I am. FINAL NOTE: Oh yeah.. This book they tried to resist, silence and stand against… it won the biggest award in Sci-fi last year. In 2016, CTRL ALT Revolt won the Dragon Award for Best Post Apocalyptic Novel. Hoist the Black Flag… you have nothing to be afraid of.