“‘Publishers really don’t want a difficult writer who writes brilliant books. Publishers really like a good writer who writes good books and doesn’t have any problem with being a prima donna. That’s part of the unwritten credo: ‘Don’t be a dick.’”1
What Mercedes Lackey posits as the ideal author, from a publisher and editor’s perspective, holds too true in daily life. In the USA, there is a significant portion of the population who expect, no, demand that we all are good little boys and girls, alike in a die cut sameness of mind, body and belief. From an early age we overtly instruct our offspring to conform and then recoil in horror when they trot out the timeworn phrase, “everybody else does it.” Of course, “it” is something that (usually) only a minority actually do. Sort of like writers, no?
It isn’t my place in the grand scheme of things to attack or rebut one of my heroes. Mercedes Lackey is an eminently qualified writer and, from all reports, anything but a prima donna. I can only wish to be a tenth as good as she has proven herself to be.
But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?). I do believe that those who write truly brilliant books that sell thousands or, even better, hundreds of thousands of copies, have earned the right to be difficult, demanding, cantankerous and otherwise odious prima donnas.
Just get out from behind the customer service window at Walmart and the Post Office, would you?
1 Locus Online Perspectives, Mercedes Lackey: Making Fun — posted Wednesday 10 November 2010 @ 10:55 am PST