We Are All Friends Here
I’ve been thinking about nepotism and croneyism and friends publishing friends because I often hear people talking, complaining, and bitching about the insular nature of (independent) publishing.
Intrapublishing (new word!) happens but not as much as you’d think. Some magazines are largely vanity presses but most are not.
We all know each other, right? We read each other and we publish each other and support each other and love each other and hate each other. It’s a small small community. The longer you stick around, the more inevitable it becomes that you will encounter people you know and/or like (or dislike as the case may be) in your submission queue. Does that influence editorial decisions? Sometimes. If I know you, for example, and you send me a 7,500 word story I will read it but that isn’t a guarantee of publication. Most editors are great people with integrity who can look beyond friendship and/or mutual respect. I get rejected from acquaintances and friends all the time.
But we don’t know each other. I’m old-fashioned. I still generally believe that my friends are people who have seen me doing something awkward at a bar. So we’re friends, but we’re not friends. I may know who you are and we may exchange e-mails and comments on various blogs but I don’t feel any particular obligation to publish your work when it comes my way unless it is outstanding.
The Internet and the interconnectedness of magazines and blogs and writers and editors implies an intimacy that doesn’t really exist. People often assume croneyism is taking place when in fact, speaking from my own experience both as a writer and editor, it isn’t.
Beyond that, so what if editors publish their friends. I happen to know some really good writers. Is it really a problem?