Writers first: Lizzy Ford and Diane Gaston have a chat

I had the pleasure of sitting down over a late lunch with Diane Gaston, one of my heroes in romance writing whose books have been published by Harlequin and Warner.  I met Diane six years ago at a Washington Romance Writers meeting.  Since I’m shy, she’s the only person I spoke to in the two hours I was there.  We’ve traded emails since then but hadn’t had a chance to sit down together until this past Saturday.

A lot of our discussion centered around the changing publishing landscape, the impact of emerging ebook technology, and the two camps of writers that seem to have formed.  There’s been a growing divide between those authors who have been traditionally published and those who are indies.  This divide seems to pit the majority of them against each other, which each having found a reason to resent the other and being quite vocal about it.

Diane and I are a lot alike: good people who love to write.  Neither of us has two heads or spews fire; neither of us goes to sleep thinking, ‘if only I had taken a different route to being published’ or ‘screw those indies/traditionally published!’  We’re writers first, all else second, and this understanding is probably why we clicked so well.  The main difference between us: we chose different publishing paths.

I find it odd that this personal choice – which is exactly what it is – has caused so much angst among writers and can’t help but think it has everything to do with emotion and nothing to do with reason.  If we writers were to unite and demand the publishing industry change to a more sustainable business model that also rewards traditionally published writers and makes its services available to indies, we’d be an unstoppable force.  Instead, writers fight each other while the industry as a whole staggers to keep pace with technological advancement and hang onto readers when the shelf space is shrinking and eReaders are quickly becoming the tech toy of the day. 

In a philosophical sense, aren’t both camps of writers part of the greater writing machine?  Why on earth would I want to see my fellow writers fail?  Whether indie or traditional, the options now afforded by epublishing have annihilated the status quo.  Indies have a direct avenue to publish, market, and distribute to readers, and the traditionally published have a negotiating tool for rights/royalties and the ability to keep their backlists active as ebooks after their contracts expire.  Technology doesn’t discriminate against indies or traditionally published, and neither should we.

Maybe I’ll be considered a traitor to my indie colleagues, but Diane is my friend, the person I credit with encouraging me during the part of my life when I almost gave up on my writing.  I’m not going to lose her because we chose different paths, and I’m never going to think poorly of her – or others – who choose the traditionally published path.  I’m going to support all my fellow writers, because that’s simply the way it should be.

6 thoughts on “Writers first: Lizzy Ford and Diane Gaston have a chat

  1. I agree with your view wholeheartedly. In my own professional field, there are two camps that approach social scientific questions differently. Why one must be demonized by the other baffles me as both approaches add to our general knowledge and understanding of our world and government. And this understanding is the purpose of academic pursuit. I share this so you know that it is not just the publishing world that suffers these civil wars. Most of the time, the animosity comes back to pure self-interest. If the “other” succeeds, does that mean that my work will no longer be deemed relevant? Or perhaps I will not succeed using the new model? I am certainly hopeful that the new technology provides more outlets for additional authors as my new tech toy has introduced me to a whole new genre that has me reading a book every day or day and a half.

    • Self-interest is 100% correct. It just really bums me out to know that people can do that to others. 🙁 Maybe it’s a naive thought, but I’d like to think the Greater Purpose of whatever our fields are (such as reaching readers and producing quality books) is more important than someone putting others down to make themselves look better. It’s unfortunate this doesn’t seem to be the case, but I won’t fall prey to that mindset!!

      I’m very happy that you’re finding new authors! The ability to epublish for free has created a whole new marketplace for both writers and readers who want to read more but don’t necessarily have the $ to put towards buying new books all the time! I’ve met some wonderful indies the past few months, folks I never would’ve met if I hadn’t been pursing epublishing. There are some truly talented, wonderful writers out there!

    • Yaaaaaaaaaay, Diane! Thanks for dropping by, and it’s an absolute pleasure to interview with you tomorrow! 🙂 We’ll show the world how this should be done, darn it! 🙂 Lizzy

  2. Good for both of you. The whole planet needs more of this type of thinking, not just the writing world.

    But it’s understandable that passions are running high in the publishing realm these days. The business is changing rapidly, and careers are being impacted.

    Thank goodness for level-headed, positive people…

    • Thank you, Michael. 🙂 The pub business is evolving, and it’s really hard to figure out what the industry will look like in one year let alone in five or so! I hope more people come to realize that writers need to stick together … there’s so much talent out there, I’m regularly astounded by the writers I meet, indie and trad’l. Lizzy 🙂

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