Throughout the nineties and for the first half of the past decade, there were two dominant strains of sitcom: the blue-collar/white-collar family sitcom (Roseanne, Everybody Loves Raymond, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Frasier, etc.), and the five-or-so-friends-hanging-out-in-a-city sitcom (Seinfeld, Friends, Cheers, etc.). The former culminated and withered with the end of Everybody Loves Raymond–now most often reiterated ironically by The Simpsons (which was far ahead of its time in that respect) and Family Guy–while the latter still persists in a way, only disguised or retooled as the workplace sitcom (30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Party Down), a formula which began in part with Murphy Brown and, in its current mode, with Scrubs and the British Office.
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.