Modern Writers Rock!

Modern & Futurism

I’m completely in awe of the modern writer.

When I began my writing career dinosaurs were still roaming the earth. This was well before the age of computers. Longhand was the preferred way of drafting, typewriters were the critical tool. Manuscripts were sent back and forth by mail. My agent and I would talk by telephone or the occasional letter. Later, we both mastered email and thought we were very modern. Publisher meetings were face-to-face. Now, all of this feels so archaic, so yesterday. Those days may seem romantic to some, but they are so used up. It’s good to move ahead.

Back then, writing was a solo business. I worked alone, out of contact with others when I was writing novels. For nonfiction, I beat the streets and the telephone. My contacts were limited to interviews, mostly. There was no need for much social interaction, except for the occasional conversation with a fellow writer. Today, everything is different. The modern writing life demands more dimension, greater diversity, and involves more skills. Today, the recluse writer cannot make it in the business.

I like the changes. I think today’s writers are more rounded, more complete in working their way through the perils and pleasures of writing. They are involved in the real world, not just the closed universe of writing. They are members of a large and vibrant community that stays in constant contact. The writing life is no longer a static landscape. It’s alive.

It’s also obvious that social networking is critical to modern writers. This is a big change from the old days, and I think it’s a major step forward. Writers are now expected to crawl out of their dens and interact with the real world. Communicating with others is critical to successful writing. Gone are the days of the unsocial writer. This is great for both writers and their readers.

Today’s writers need to understand more about the publishing end of the business than my generation ever considered. That’s also a plus. Publishing used to be quite a secret society, penetrated only by successful writers who had good contacts in the business. Now, publishing is an arm of writing, a part of the process that modern writers need to work through and accommodate. It means that good writers also need to get a grip on important business aspects of their careers. Another step forward. Modern writers play a critical role in their own success. Yesterday, they were rarely more than bystanders.

Back in the day, marketing was mostly the purview of the publicist and the publishing company. Today, it’s the shared responsibility of the writer. So, the modern writer is closer to his or her market, more familiar with how book visibility can make or break a career. This means that writers can directly impact their sales in a positive way. That couldn’t happen back when. Us dinosaurs waited around to see what happened, for better or worse.

Today, there is a demand for many important skills necessary to succeed. The modern writer has new tools of the trade, powerful ways to network, insanely easy software to help at each step along the way. These tools are critical to a writing career and the modern writer knows how to use each of them. In the dinosaur days, these tools didn’t exist. We all fumbled around, trying this and that until we hit the right combination. The power that these modern tools bring to today’s writers wasn’t even on the radar yesterday. Back then, our skills were much more limited and our eyes never turned to the power of networking.

The list is a long one but the point is simple.

Our modern writers have tools and opportunities that weren’t even in dreams back then. Of course, this also means more work for the writer, more competition and much more involvement. All of this is a good thing, I believe. Today’s writers are more well-rounded, more outward-looking, and have much more business sense than my fellow dinosaurs. In other words, they are more complete individuals.

So, I’m in awe of today’s writers. They bring much more to the table than the ability to sling words together in a pleasing way. They bring completeness to the process. These writers seem more whole, less cloistered, from the geezer-writer point of view. As individuals, they seem more balanced, involved and approachable than my fellow dinosaurs. I like it.

Forget the nostalgia of the recluse writer of yesterday. Give me the modern writer and I’ll show you someone real, involved and aware.


Writers Workshop: The Anthology Ripper


Here’s a real-life story, borrowed from the pages of a writer friend’s journal. It should probably be filed under the True Crime/Ripper genre.

Yep, you know what’s coming. It’s time to give publishers another good spanking.

Imagine you’re a writer. You have the opportunity to contribute to an anthology that’s targeted to your favorite genre, True Crime. The publisher, a well-known and large house, is planning to sell the anthology to libraries. It’s not intended for the broad trade market. The publisher knows that anthologies in the public square usually don’t do well. Libraries, on the other hand, are this publisher’s dream come true, especially when their workload and overhead is tiny.

So, as a writer, here are your requirements:

  • Prepare a top-notch essay of 5,000 words.
  • Stick to the publisher’s guidelines, which can best be described as “anal.”
  • Add proper footnotes and references according to publisher specifications.
  • Finalize the essay in print-ready format with tons of technical specifications.
  • It must be perfect, which is what you also want to achieve.
  • Be a flawless copy editor or buy those services yourself.
  • Make modifications in accordance with the Editor-In-Chief.
  • Be ready for those last minute technical changes sure to come.
  • Repeat as necessary.
  • Always take all responsibility for all work. Do so without complaint.

OK, you’re ready to go, right? Well, not quite. The publisher has a few other, small requirements. So, get back to work.

  • Write a bio of 300 words according to the publisher’s “anal” requirements.
  • Complete a questionnaire of some three pages for the publisher’s use.
  • Supply an appropriate photo/image of the proper size and specification.
  • Have a Twitter account.
  • Have a Facebook page.
  • A website is STRONGLY suggested, encouraged, nearly demanded.
  • Fund these and all future marketing projects out of your own pocket.
  • Agree, in writing, to participate in the publisher’s marketing strategies, no matter what they may entail.
  • In fact, just become the marketing agent for the publisher.


In the heat of passion, you have already signed the contract. It was a more extensive, detailed series of publisher demands and requirements. Oh, plus all those disclaimers that will forever prohibit you from making a dime on your efforts. Did you read the fine print? No? Well, you should have delved into the minutiae before you began this arduous journey.

Too late. Carry on.

Now, it’s reward time, eh? Let’s look at the bottom line for your efforts.

  • You will receive zero payment. No advance, no royalties. Ever.
  • You will receive one copy of the anthology.
  • You will receive the promised exposure, to all those library-buyer powerhouses. Wow!

Well, my writer friend, have you made a good deal?

The Editor-In-Chief will make some money on the deal. That’s appropriate. It’s hard work to put this kind of project together and make it appealing. The publisher will take all the profits, which seems appropriate since they did none of the work. It’s the zen of publishers these days.

Dirty Harry

In the words of Dirty Harry, “Go ahead, make my day.”

You would have received better exposure by carefully placing your words into appropriate blogs, online magazines, websites and the like. Hell, put it on cheap paper and pass it out at your favorite shopping mall! That’s exposure. Forget the fact that you received no compensation, whatsoever.

But think of the time and effort you could have saved by writing for a different venue, in a different media and without all the publisher hoops. Woops.

Did you do yourself any good with all this trouble? Are you happy that a few libraries have given you such far-reaching exposure? Maybe there are a handful of real readers out there who will actually buy the anthology? So, what? Won’t do you any good. The publisher would like it, though.

Next time you consider such an “offer,” you owe it to yourself to also consider the alternatives at your disposal. If you are willing to give your work away, do so in your best interest, not for that oh-so-generous publisher who comes calling.

Remember Dirty Harry.

Gregor Spanks Writers Groups


Gregor went to a writers group, once or twice. It was a long time ago. He caught a brain fever that took forever to cure. Since then, Gregor has abandoned much hope for writers groups. Although he believes there must be a good group out there somewhere, he advises others to be wary.

Gregor has a bad attitude about most writers groups. He feels it’s only fair to warn you before he starts the dump that follows.

Gregor likes the idea of group-think, group goals, people helping each other. However, when it comes to writers groups, he believes there are too many shady characters running about. Some of these miscreants need a second look.

The English Specialist. Gregor finds this one everywhere. It’s the person who knows everything there is to know about the English language. This one understands construction, syntax, and the 4,243 most important rules of using the written word. In other words, writing is a science and that’s that. Gregor believes this is the wrong cocktail for any writer. He notes that the very best writers usually broke the most honored rules. Sometimes they just made up their own rules. In other words, they were creative. Gregor also realizes that the English Specialist is not a writer, will never be a writer, and cannot qualify as a writer. So, there!

The I3. As in “I-cubed”. This one only wants to talk about his or her own stuff, their beautiful words, their flowing masterpiece, their immense impact on the literary universe. It’s all about the I3. They come to the group for strokes and nothing more. Everyone in the group knows this. Well, everyone but the I3. Boring and selfish, Gregor says. The group is not opposed to a few ego strokes but they don’t want to leave it all on a single doorstep. Would you? There must be room for everyone in the group.

I Have Arrived. Carries too much stuff in their arms. Books about this, papers about that, pamphlets about something else. The theory seems to be that the more stuff you carry around, the bigger the arrival statement. Pushes papers, thumbs through books, references minutiae. What’s this all about? There’s nothing in that stack of doo-doo that can be of much meaning to anyone else. What’s the point? Gregor thinks groups should come together to communicate and support each other, not read labels on tuna cans. A notebook should be enough. Bring your brain, leave your ego, listen more than you speak.

My Greatest Work. They’re not interested in what you write, only in what they’ve written. They want to submit themselves to the group but only if the group is willing to first submit to them. Gregor knows there are always better writers out there. He wants to learn how to get better at his trade, not understand how wonderful is the person across the table. Much like the I3 but uses some alleged publication to make the point. Urg.

The Eternal Critic. Everything is doodle. It doesn’t matter what, where, who or why. It’s doodle and the Eternal Critic knows it. If it wasn’t for the ability to criticize, this person would be entirely mute. That would be refreshing.

Swamp Gas?

My Writing is Swamp Gas. Maybe so, maybe not. No reason to assume it’s doo-doo. Also, no reason to assume that anyone else in the group can do any better. Gregor wants this person to keep writing, keep trying and don’t give up. He worries that this potentially great writer will be crushed by too many ego miscreants. Gregor also wants to remind this writer that no one else in the group is the hot tuna of the month. They are all learners, even if they won’t admit it. It’s OK to fail. Happens all the time, to all writers.

I Know Someone. OK, so you once met a real, traditionally-published author with a following. So what? Gregor has met them, too. Gregor knows that most genuine, working writers are not egomaniacs. So, why are you?

The Giver. Gregor’s favorite. The rare person who is there to give and learn, to share and support, to help others and gather some help along the way. It’s rare, but these folks are out there. They even go to writers groups, sometimes. Gregor suggests you look for them at the first meeting. No Giver? Find another group.

Gregor admits to having a bad attitude about writers groups. It all comes down to one thing – stifling creativity. Unless the group is completely focused on supporting creativity for each member, what’s the point? Gregor does not approve of turning writing into an exercise about rule-learning. He does not want to submit to the ego-drives of selfish members. He wants the group to be truly supportive, genuine in its work to help the creative process in an unselfish way. He doesn’t want to drink anyone’s cocktail, including his own.

Is Gregor living in a dream world? Oh, well. That’s the price of a failed self-lobotomy. Gregor is sure there are a few excellent groups in the Universe. He just hasn’t found any of them.

Gregor lives here.

Rule-Breaking Writers Banish Beginnings

Breaking The Rules

The best writers I’ve known tend to break the rules. Many of these rules are pretty silly anyway. Among the wackiest is the idea that the writing process must always start at the beginning of the story.

It’s just not so, Captain Picard.

Some writers do start at the beginning of the story. It’s how they work and it makes their writing life orderly and predictable. Others struggle over where to begin, how to take that first step. They battle and writhe around those first few sentences, the first scene, the opening chapter. They fret and get blocked, worry and strain. Yikes! Where’s the fun in that?

Banish the beginning, I say. Just move on.

No story can ever start at the beginning. There is no beginning. Everything begins somewhere in the middle, some place after the pre-story. Stories don’t end, they just pause. So, why worry about the beginning at all?

Middle Fork trail

Instead, start with an important scene, a place that means something to you and the story. Forget the old rules of linear writing and ordered thinking. Write that important scene, introduce a vital character, offer a little problem or solve a bigger one. Then, write around the core you’ve just created.

In fact, take it further. Create a scene here and there. Make a new character appear, disappear, change shapes, howl moods, blurt out statements, take risks, overcome or be destroyed. Just make a piece of the story and enjoy the art of creation. Worry about fitting that piece into the puzzle later, perhaps much later. If you’re a true writer, the orderliness of the story line will emerge on its own.

If the beginning is where you gag and go dry, you should throw it away, for now. Move on to where your writing heart feels the pull of the story line. Go where your favorite character leads. Disorganize yourself and let the words flow. Don’t stand outside the story, jump into it with both feet.

There are so many rules to break, so many useless ways to stifle your writing heart. To write the beginning of your story first is one of them. It’s an easy rule to ignore. Whoever came up with the idea was probably not a soul-writer anyway. Ignore the advice and enjoy the freedom in your art.

Beginning of the end

Begin where your writing heart leads you. Worry about putting the pieces together when you get a few drafts under your belt, not before. You’ll feel much better about the writing process and your readers will benefit from the unfettered flow of your words.

And that’s the beginning of the story.

Writers: Spank Publishers, Go Podding

PublisherIf you’re in the publishing business, you’ll be unhappy with what follows. It’s meant to give you a good spanking for your bad behavior. This is about writers and their rights, freedoms and alternatives.

I‘ve been around the writing business too long. My memories of working with publishers are mostly good. But, these days, they’re also dingy, irrelevant artifacts. Publishing was never a perfect industry but, by today’s standards, it was at least a somewhat meaningful partnership. No more.

Astute writers are aware of the immense changes in publishing. The word is out there and has been floating around for years. But matters have become truly ugly, especially for young writers trying to make a mark with their words. Today, publishers are circling overhead, waiting for the kill, happy to parse out a tedious, stingy contract in exchange for the writer doing all the work. In reality, these are not publishers at all. They are opportunists who provide no added value, suck up profits, and dump the entire workload on the writer. They are predators and they’re everywhere.

It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when the publisher was a work-partner, someone who actually provided added value for the writer. Well, forget that idea. It’s history. If you’re a writer, the best you can hope for is helper monkey status on a publisher’s relentless push toward greater profits. You are nothing more than an overworked, abused commodity to publishers.

Black Vulture, very common around towns and ci...

Vulture publishers, magazines, anthologies and the like are preying upon a writer’s intense desire to see his or her work in print, or e-print. That’s the hook and the publisher has no problem setting it with a ruthless determination. Just to spice the stew, anyone can start a publishing company these days. It takes virtually no work, no experience and no skill. It’s a nice landscape for cannibalism, and guess who is the main course?

The few remaining large publishing houses are no better than the newcomers. They also demand that a writer do all the work while they suck up virtually all the profits using insidious and completely unfair contracts. This is their method of survival since the advent of e-publishing. These organizations, old and new, thrive on turning their writers into less-than-partner status who can provide all the publishing services they once provided. To settle the matter, they then put the writer into last place in any contact while they drink the profit cocktail fully.

Do writers even need publishers these days? Probably not, if they find another way to penetrate the reader market. There’s no reason for a writer to self-sacrifice in order to get his or her words out there. There are alternatives, many ways to get around publisher blood-letting.

Something that appeals to me is the idea of writing/publishing “pods.” It sounds a little strange, I know, but that’s because I’ve not given it the time to come up with a better description. Forget the alien context for a minute.

Let me give you an example.


Suppose there exists a small collection of writers. Let’s say 5 or 6 of them. Throw in a trusted editor. Now, add an individual who knows enough about the publishing business to act in that role. Also, someone strong in web design, social media, that kind of thing. In other words, marketing. So, all together, no more than 10 or so individuals. Call it a “pod” for lack of a better term.

Now, this pod has one goal in mind. Get those writers published and do it in a way that makes money. All contracts stay within the pod. The profits are shared on the basis of value, decided in advance by the members. The group writes, works, edits, markets and publishes for the common good. Each member has an equal voice; all important decisions are made democratically. Predators are not welcome.

OK, it sounds a bit idealistic, I admit. The pod would have to start small, with a tight group and inherent trust among members. But it could evolve. It could hold true to its common purpose and become a self-sustaining enterprise. It could, in fact, become much like the traditional, value-added publisher but in a far less predatory way. It could be an enterprise that re-writes the hackneyed rules of publishing and offers a more equitable way of doing the business of writing. If done correctly, members of a successful pod would have no need for publishers at all, no demands for writers to subjugate themselves to the publishing altar of greed. They would operate for the common good and, hopefully, prosper. Forget the top-down gorging on the work of others. Share the load, share the profits.

So, call me a dreamer. None of this will likely happen. Publishers will probably continue preying upon writers to the fullest extent possible. It’s a sad state for today’s young writers. And this idea may be completely unworkable for a number of reasons, mostly sociological. But the point is simple. There are alternatives to the hungry, self-absorbed publisher.

What I absolutely believe is that writers deserve much better treatment from publishers than they are receiving. Since it’s unlikely that publishers will simply do the right thing, it’s up to writers to step out in front and take charge of their careers. There is really no reason to become the slave of a publisher in the modern marketplace. They can be set aside, replaced by a different model, should those who really do the work choose a different way of following their art.

Whatever you may think about the publishing industry these days, don’t be too quick to sign that contract. It will likely be a very unhappy experience. Before you sign, consider the alternatives.

Blog Reading: Good, Bad, Ugly

Good Times

Stand back and take a deep breath. Grab your crash helmet. What follows is an opinion piece. We’re talking about the view of a geezer writer, amateur blogger and garden variety blog reader. Your mileage will vary.

It’s like the old spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good. Lots of ways to be good, so let’s set the bar a bit higher. Beyond “good,” there are a few titilattors that really stand out, always drag me back for more. Humor is number one for this geezer. I often follow those tags when I go blog trolling. Humor touches me. It grabs most folks, I suppose. It’s a way of sharing, a load-lightening gift for the day. Visual gags are also great. One of my favorite blogs has a tradition of putting a fat sausage on the heads of famous people. OK, call me silly, but I like it. Makes me laugh. Good, tight satire is a feast for the mind. It rounds out all those rough edges. So, put humor at the top of the list. It’s unselfish and fun.

I also enjoy those pieces that open up a small, secret window into the writer’s life. Now, I’m not talking about those dark tomes that spew depression, funk and anger. That doesn’t work for me. I like the posts that tell me something personal, something with which I can relate. Since I’m a writer, this usually involves stories about what young writers are experiencing as they work out their art. Love those. Also, those fellow geezers who have been around the trade a while and still have something interesting and personal to share. It’s the sharing that I enjoy most. It’s fascinating. Like humor, it feels good.

One more item: pure creation. I’m not sure how to adequately describe this one. You’ll know it when you read it though. It’s the kind of piece that just snaps out at you, gives you a different perspective. It has a tilt to the style, it tweaks and peaks your interest, makes you nod your head up and down. It’s fresh and entertaining. It can be on anything, so long as it takes the subject down a new or different path.

Keep the post short, for me. That works best. Something between 500 and 1000 words seems about right. I don’t want to work too hard. I don’t want to stay too long. I want to get in, have a good time, and get out. Tight is right, always.

The title has got to grab my attention. Weak title = no interest from this geezer. No interest = no read. An intriguing image is helpful but doesn’t really make or break the deal. Words matter most.

No, the sentence construction doesn’t have to be perfect. You can dangle a participle or two if you like. You can break the rules here and there. You can starve the commas or drown me in them. It’s all OK, so long as I feel like you’re talking to me and me alone. Keep it reasonable, though. If I see no separation between paragraphs, I bail. For whatever reason, that makes my eyes go crossed. Otherwise, I can handle a little funk here and there. Yep, go ahead and make up a word or two. Works for me. Short sentences make me smile, long ones make me itch.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a well-known...

The Bad. Blogs that are trying to sell me anything. Those that are trying to push me here or there, somewhere I don’t want to go. Lists of links. References to some other destination without good cause. Obvious money-grabbing schemes. Classic, in-your-face attention seeking behavior. Articles that whine, moan, groan, or otherwise dump negativity into my life. Blogs where the “I” word dominates the entire operation and is so obvious I choke. Pompous, arrogant know-it-alls who obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. Actually, arrogance of any kind, in any form. Anger, bad attitude, or a painful disdain for the Universe and everything that exists within. Hate in any form.

Titles like “I’m the Next Big Thing,” or “Haiku 47.3,” or “I Just Finished My 110,000 Word Novel in 10 Days.” You get the picture, right? I need to relate, which means you need to hook me with something real and substantive. Never brag, never confuse, never obfuscate, unless you can do it with a word smile.

Keep me away from political overload, unless you can make me laugh or you don’t have an obvious agenda. In other words, don’t preach at me. I can turn on the TV and get all I need.

Don’t beg. Ever.


The Ugly. Advertisements everywhere. Pop-ups, pop-unders, pop-all-overs. Colors that should never be seen together. Endless photos of people I don’t know. Fancy script where clean typeface will do. Too many flowers, hearts, glitz, floating doo-dads, and sparkling gadgets flying all over the page. Images that are supposed to be artistic but mean nothing to me or anyone else I know. Cartoons where they don’t belong. Anything profane, abusive, or just downright cruel.

Please, don’t offend my sensibilities. Be kind to the old folks. Raunchy works, but you’ve got to walk that fine line. Ugly is usually a state of mind, so don’t blast it all over your blog. Save it for your shrink.

OK, time to take another breath. That was quite a dump-post on its own, wasn’t it? I wonder if I just broke into two of these categories without regard to common sense. Well, I hope not. Remember, this was just an opinion, just another silly, whining blog post that should not change your life in any way.

It won’t change mine.

Self-Publishing Doom, Gloom and the Police State


In October 2012, the Huffington Post ran an article entitled, Are Self-Publishing Authors Killing the Publishing Industry? This opinion piece raised some interesting and troubling questions about writers who choose self-publishing as their entree into the business end of writing. It’s a vast area that offers both opportunities and spiderholes for writers and readers.

I’ve covered this topic in several previous posts, including here and here. The opinions rage on, and publishing problems often overwhelm the entire writing process. Let’s look at some excerpts from the HuffPost article that attempt to address the issue. In the end, it didn’t work for me.

Self-published authors have created a devaluing of the written word, and, some of them are scrambling to see how low they can go to get noticed.

The opening sentence is a hard swallow for self-published writers, but it makes a point. It’s a relatively simple process to self-publish, although it can be a frustrating and expensive one. Traditional publishing offers many layers of filters, several stopovers where a proposed piece of work can be reviewed and assessed. Although traditional publishers have made some horrendous blunders over the years, their review process does serve to limit the material that finally reaches the reading public. In the world of self-publishing, there are no stopovers. Writers can go right from rough draft to final print, if they choose. Obviously, this has flooded the literary market with all kinds of material, good and not so good. The blow-back from this way of doing business is the point of the HuffPost article. Still, who is the arbiter of the view that self-published writers have devalued the written word? Isn’t that a decision best left to readers?

Why are indie authors selling their work so cheap? In short, mismanaged expectations. Many self-published authors hear about the outliers who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they’ll do anything to try and reach that pinnacle. The plain fact is that most of them never will.

sharkThis seems to be the heart of the HuffPost argument. Self-publishing has become a chaotic marketplace of price wars without sufficient regard to product quality for the reader. It’s hard to argue with this point of view. Spend a few moments at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You’ll get the point. On the other hand, traditional publishing suffered from the same problem throughout its history. The only difference can be found in the volume of material produced. Technology has created a vast marketplace that was once the domain of publishers. Most writers never made a good deal of money on their published works in any era. Only the numbers have changed.

Does this mean that self-published authors are killing the publishing industry? Yes, in a sense it does. What can be done about this devaluing of the written word? How can self-published authors change this scenario and help make self-publishing, as a whole, shine and earn as respectable of a reputation as traditional publishing?

If indie authors are going to make their mark, they’ll need to band together, put out reputable works, and stop looking for get-sales-quick gimmicks.

The article points out that our marketplace is flooded with questionable work and intense pricing competition without regard to quality. It advocates that “indie authors” band together to solve this compound problem. But, how realistic is that? Not likely. In fact, it’s not even feasible to expect self-published writers the world over to magically join together to properly value their work and self-police the quality of their offerings. It’s a naive suggestion.

The more practical and effective answer to the problem is to do nothing. Seasoned writers understand that quality offerings will usually float to the top of the raging torrent of second-rate work. Readers make these decisions. They understand what they like, what they want, and how to make it happen for themselves. Good authors are the beneficiaries. Seasoned writers know how to present their work in the best light, using the most effective means. They understand that readers do not appreciate the “hard sell,” nor are they fooled by glitz and freebies. The last thing writers or readers need is some vast policing system that determines what material is released and by whom. That kind of thinking is right out of George Orwell, and it’s outdated.

Comrade Barking OrdersLet the chaos roll on, I say. Trust the readers to make good decisions, to follow their favorite authors, to make it all work. I agree that the marketplace is a nightmare these days. But, I also have faith that good writers will rise to the top and that astute readers will create order from chaos. Marketing gimmicks, giveaways, and police state mentality will do nothing to end the misery. It will only bring more.

As a lifelong writer familiar with both traditional and modern publishing modes, I’m happy as hell to see a wide-open market where promising writers can try their luck and follow their dreams. I don’t like police-state filtering, even if it does make the end marketplace more seemly. A filter is a filter by any definition. Put the power where it belongs, in the hands of the readers. Let them vote with their money, based on the widest possible selection opportunities. If we want to make it as writers, we’ll work as hard as we can to produce a final product that is as good as it can be. The vast majority of us would do this anyway, regardless of the market.

While I’m still on the grandstand, let me make a point that the HuffPost article completely ignored. Ask any group of experienced writers why they write. How many will put “making money” in first place? Will any?

Here’s a related article that may be of interest.