I absolutely hate discussing the warts inherent within the publishing industry as I know the business from my limited perspective, but I believe writers should have an honest understanding of the market so legitimate assessments can be made and realistic goals established. I believe my clients would tell anyone that I am as quick to point out what is positive about their respective works as I am to discuss something problematic. But I have a responsibility to discuss the reality of the material as I view it, and there are indeed elements that cannot be sugar-coated.
I liken what I just wrote to a discussion I had with the pastor of a local church who had encouraged book censorship during one of his sermons. I was playing golf with the fellow, and after listening to a long harangue from him about the evil that vile literature can shower upon our youth, I asked him if kids shouldn’t know about pedophilia, incest, drug abuse, STDs, and a host of other not-so-pleasant topics. My position has always been that a kid shouldn’t be so sheltered that the child might venture into the adult world, which isn’t always gentle, ignorant of what can be around the corner in even the most benign of settings.
I’m not going to debate what is right or wrong about my contention, simply because this isn’t the point, which is that kids aren’t as incapable of judging for themselves as parents sometimes think they might be, and writers aren’t either. But there are things none of us can know about unless we are told. I’m not going to compare a child’s not being aware it’s wrong to be molested by her or his father with being asked to hire a publicist for a book with zero marketing behind it. But there is a correlation to the ignorance of both, and I cannot believe in my heart of hearts that writers shouldn’t be alerted to the mistakes others have made while trying to achieve publishing success, especially when I’ve made some of the very miscues myself. If I’m not going to discuss these issues I’m a hypocrite of the worst kind.