Writer’s Privilege is a Real Thing

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Photo Credit: Writers & Artists

Let’s face it. There are a number of professions that are outrageously difficult to break into. Professional sports. Music. Movies. Publishing. Every one of these professions has their critics, but are any of them on the level of the publishing industry?

Think about the fact that there are more than 300 NCAA Division I basketball programs in the country. Which puts a rough estimate of the number of players at maybe 3600. Guess how many are drafted each year in the NBA draft? 60. And typically the second half of those players drafted will never make an NBA roster. So 30. I’m no good at math, but that means less than 1% of all NCAA Division I basketball players will get a chance to play professionally. Sounds similar to the number of writers who ultimately gain representation through an agent, right? Also, let’s not forget that many foreign born and NCAA Division II and III players are also eligible.

Just one more example. The MLB draft is up to 40 rounds. Let’s say that every team chooses a player in every round, though this doesn’t happen, but let’s just say it does. That puts the number of players drafted at 1200. You’re probably thinking that’s a pretty high number, right? Wrong. MLB organizations have several minor league teams with rosters to fill. All of the 3200 players will at least have the opportunity to sign a professional contract. Guess how many will ultimately play in the MLB? Maybe 100 out of those 1200. A slightly higher percentage than the previous example, but still not high.

Anyway, the point that I’m making is that if you read blogs on WordPress or even op-eds written by authors there is a constant theme…the publishing industry doesn’t give us a chance to succeed. That agents and publishers have gone beyond the point of acting as gatekeepers to keep average or below average writing out of the traditional publishing world.

I mean, I’m sure you’ve read some rather angry rants directed toward the publishing industry in your time on WordPress. I know I have. This also all comes back to writer’s privilege, right? For some unknown reason writers think they’re owed something. A chance. A publishing deal. An agent. Whatever it may be, writers seem to think it should be theirs. Because there are other professions out there that have similar statistics to the publishing industry, but we aren’t constantly bombarded by people claiming that the NBA or Hollywood or the music industry all owe anyone anything.

Sure it sucks that so few authors actually make it, but so what? No one told you to write anything. And don’t give me that whole “I write because I have to” crap. You can also have a 9-5 job because you have to.

Writers, you don’t deserve anything. You need to go out and take it from someone else. So do it and stop complaining.

In my head I’m thinking writer’s privilege, but I’m seeing other people use that to talk about a million other things. Maybe I used the wrong term. Eh.

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20 thoughts on “Writer’s Privilege is a Real Thing

  1. You forgot about luck. However, right place, right time, right talent is above all the key. Then there’s destiny, hard work and consistency. Okay I’ll shut up now. 😉 Great read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your point applies if there is one definition of success. For some it’s finishing a book at all, or starting one. There are as many reasons for writing as there are writers. If it gives you joy and you’re not getting money for it then it’s on one level a sublime expression of the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said, sir. We are owed nothing. That’s the way it should be. Then if anything does ever come of writing words on a page — because that really is all we do — then it’ll be as surprising as you would expect.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You should google “Thin Privilege”

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  5. You’re right. It’s all a matter of too much entitlement in the minds of us writers. Which is why I don’t freak out or get depressed when I get a rejection. It’s part of the process and even if I never get published, I’ll still write. Because I WANT to. Because I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love food. So no matter what, I’ll always keep eating. Haha randomness. But yes, probably the most annoying part of this whole writing thing is that EVERYONE deserves this or that. So dumb.

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  7. Having been a agent (Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency) for a number of years prior to going to my present job (Publisher at Martin Brown Publishers). I was apparently what they call a gatekeeper. However, these days the gate is wide open for anyone who wants to publish.
    Yes, it’s still difficult to get an agent and you’re right, they do reject about 95% of what they see (we reject about the same), however, even if you do find an agent, their success rate is only just about 50% on average and success doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the offer will be from a major publisher.
    There’s a whole litany of reasons why the reject rate is so high. This comment box is not near large enough to cover all the reasons, however, I’m thinking tho might cover some of them the next edition of the Gate Keeper’s Diary. Stay tuned.

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  8. Pingback: Where the Rubber Meets the Road | The Gatekeepers Diary

  9. In life, I’ve come across a ton of people that feel entitled to one thing or another. That form of thinking crosses all boundaries and doesn’t hold true to just one type of person. In my opinion and, this is just my opinion, I don’t think anyone is entitled to anything. If you want something, then work at it until you get it. You want to be published? Write and do everything associated with it until you become published. You want respect? Then be respectful. So on and so forth. Anyways, this is just my 2 cents.

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  10. Pingback: My First Half Price Books Book Haul | Write me a book, John!

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