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Today's Bitch

Second Guess

February 4, 2012

So the other day someone complained that they were tired of me always second-guessing them. Now here's the truth — and you can quote me on this — people will stop second-guessing you when you are right more times than you're wrong. As long as you continue to be wrong 90% of the time, people older and may I say much wiser are going to tell you what to do.

And here's the saddest part, and I wish there was some way to punch into the skull of youth: We are telling you these things to help you. Many of them are things we failed at because we blew off the words of wisdom we got from our mother, our father, or the old fart down the street. And when we did pay attention and followed their advice, low and behold! It worked!

And as any person who has ever had a child will tell you, the most frustrating thing in the world is when you tell them to do or NOT to do something, and they get mad. In their mind, who are you tell them what to do with their life, health, child, car, house, job, business, etc.? When they go and do something stupid that blows up in their face and BOOM! They blame it on you. They expect you to drop everything, take responsibility for THEIR problem, and make it all better. Then you'll go back to being an idiot in their mind again, and they go back to doing stupid shit until it all blows up again and they blame it on you again. In their mind, it’s never their fault. It’s always something you did the last time you bailed their asses out that was the real problem

Wisdom shouldn't have to always come from trying and failing. As we get older, we learn to listen to people who are even moderately successful at life — people who can pay their bills, keep a roof over their heads, stay healthy, etc. —because we know that they know how to do things, how to get things done, and how to get things done right.

If I'd never listened or watched any of the people I did carpentry with over the years, I wouldn't be able to build the things I can build now. I'd know what my dad taught me, which would be way more than most people know, but I never would have gotten as skilled as I am now. Yes, I learned many things by doing them and having them suck ass, then figuring out on my own a better way to do it. But it's always easier when I can learn something from someone else without having to spend three days screwing up $500 worth of materials.

If I'd never listened to any of the writers who have helped me through my career — Mercedes Lackey, C.J. Cherryh, Bill Allen, and dozens more — I wouldn't be as good a writer as I am today. If I'd decided all my words were gold, I never would have written anything worth a shit.

The people who annoy me the most are the people who are incompetent at what they are supposed to be good at, but demand that they be treated with the same respect you would give someone who was good at their job.

Without a doubt, every single mud-crawling moron who can't do the simplest task without both screwing it up and expecting applause because they farted without shitting their pants is some asshole who just flat does not listen when other people talk. They have decided they know it ALL and there is NO room for improvement. If you try to tell them the right way to do something when they are screwing up rather badly, they will not care that you have a cabinet full of awards for doing whatever it is or that you've been doing it for 50 years. You simply must stop being so rude as to second guess them, they DO know what they're doing. Yes, they did just drop their baby on their head, but they know best; they are the parent; accidents happen. Yes, they did just call you at midnight to tell you to bring a jack and a tire iron because they have a flat. So what if they didn't listen to you and rode around without the things they needed to change a tire in the middle of winter with two preschoolers in the car? They really don't want to hear you tell them again to buy a jack and lug wrench; you’re just over-cautious. All their friends have unprotected sex with numerous partners, do drugs, drink till they puke, and smoke cigarettes, but it's not really bad for them; you’re just trying to keep them from having a good time.

Most young people are stupid. Sorry, but it's true. I was stupid when I was young. I didn't think I was, but I was a huge dumbass. I still managed to keep from doing most of the stupid shit kids do today and do you know why? Because our parents would NOT bail us out. If we got thrown in jail, we could stay there. They expected us to take care of our own shit. We couldn't afford to be total screw-ups, because no one was going to show up on a white horse and bail us out.

There is a reason why people trust the service person with the most experience or the company that has been in business the longest. Someone somewhere must be doing something right, or their business would have gone under. If someone older than me is in better health than I am, you can bet your sweet ass that I'm going to listen to them when they tell me what vitamins they take and what exercise program they use.

Now, it's true that if you aren't very careful this day and age, when technology is ever changing, that if you don't work at staying current you can easily become outdated. We damn near waited too long to start our e-book line — mostly because I hate the very idea of e-books — but that's where the market is, so we had to go there.

As a small publishing house in this economic depression, it has been a constant juggling act just to pay the bills — forget about making any money. And here's the thing: most of the big houses are on the verge of bankruptcy. The whole industry has changed and NO ONE has any idea what any of us should do to stay in the game. Everyone is just guessing at this point.

Some people have chosen to chew on the bones of more established houses using contacts they made through them to follow their own agenda and certainly there is no law against that. Everyone has a right to make a buck. My ethics are not the same as others and certainly I cannot really hold people at fault if they go boldly where I would never go because I wouldn't feel ethically comfortable.

We have always treated our publishing house and the writers and artists that work with us with respect. We've always been honest and paid what we owed. We have tried to put out the best product we can. Above all else I have tried to deal honestly with everyone whether they liked what they heard or not — I didn't pull any punches. I've had books I loved totally tank. I've had writers hate their cover art and artists get offended. I've had to explain way too many times why royalty checks are disappointing. In March, we will have been in business for 17 years. For 10 of those years, we’ve been dealing with this recession, and most of that time that we have been printing actual perfect bound books.

I wish people would listen to me when I'm talking about something I know about, and I wish someone who knows how to make money with books would tell me their secret. But don't count us out. After all, we've managed to keep our doors open and have paid all our bills through the worst recession of my life — so maybe we know something other people don't know after all.

Selina

If you enjoy these bitches, please contact Selina directly at selinarosen@cox.net. Thanks!

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