Sunday, February 17, 2013

Integrity or Success?

Integrity or Success? 

This is a question that is becoming more valid with each day as we push ourselves and our work into the public domain. The timeless image of the starving artist has become iconic for a reason and is still largely true, which is a sad statement to how much we, as a society, truly value those that create the real history of our culture. But, because of this fabulous new internet age, marketing has taken on new angles, and not all of them good.

It’s pretty much an accepted fact that the need to brand and market and be an active participant in your success is a necessity. But when does it move from the arena of aggressive and pro-active involvement to become simply rude and offensive? Well, I have to say, in my opinion, that this is when it becomes rude, offensive, and down-right unethical: when you kiss ass to already successful authors, and gush and play to the ego and vanity that every artist has–then when you’ve convinced them of your undying loyalty and sincerity, they make the offer you’ve been waiting for and promote your book to their readers. Mission accomplished–next target chosen–repeat performance. Books sell, and haven’t you done a good thing? THIS is the mindset I can’t quite tolerate. I find myself wondering when sacrificing integrity and decency became an acceptable form of promotion? All right, you sell more books, but does that mean your work is somehow elevated and better because you’ve conned good people into supporting you on their hard-won success? I must be missing something, because to me this kind of activity is disgusting.

My opinion only, but if you write a shit book and then persuade busy authors it’s good, so they can promote it for you–it’s still a shit book, right? Even if a bad book sells millions, it’s still a bad book–sales do not magically elevate shit to elegant prose. The 
“best-seller” of 2012 is proof of that, isn’t it?

And then there is the person who thinks the road to success can be circumvented by attitude. The one who tries to walk all over anyone they are TOLD is _____________, fill in the blank with whatever the sin of the week is. They will use that person to get attention, all the while following along like a good little puppet.

Hey, I’m just a writer who loves to tell stories, and help other people get their voices heard. But, in the past couple of years, someone painted a target sign on me, and now they aim strangers at me before anyone even says hello. There is no integrity at play here, and frankly–like Rhett Butler, “my dear, I don’t give a damn!” I’d rather earn my success from my own work–not use others. I may never sell as many books as the crawlers, but at least I can stand up straight and own whatever I do have in the way of personal and professional success. And, maybe that in itself is a greater success than book sales or fan following?

What do you, the readers, think?


  1. I can't really comment as a reader, since I'm a writer (although I read voraciously). I'll just say you've got a heck of a good point about the best seller of 2012. I'm happy for the people who enjoyed it, you're supposed to enjoy what you read (hopefully), but frankly my editor would kill me if I wrote that way.

  2. Integrity is lost on too damn many. It's a sad fact, but very true. You raised some good points, Denyse. However, some tigers will never change their stripes. Ohhhh but if we could repaint them, what a party that would be! ;)


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