1. E Breezy
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    E Breezy New Member

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    Writer Discrimination

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by E Breezy, Nov 12, 2013.

    I wanted to get some outside opinions on writer discrimination, and if it is an issue to consider. Many career fields are biased when it comes to criminal records, tattoos, personal backgrounds, and even basic judgement of a persons character. Is this the case in the publishing world? In a perfect world the writing would be assessed before any major public relations. Sometimes the world we live in isn't as perfect as the ones we write about though. I have been wondering lately if my work will be judged for it's content, or if I will be judged before that chance. Your thoughts?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The way I see it, more controversy equals more sales. ;)

    To answer your question, your work will be judged by its content and marketability. Of course, there are exceptions to this; I don't see a major publisher picking up a book by someone convicted of genocide for example. But I don't think you have to worry about that.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There's bias everywhere, every profession, every gender, every ethnic group, maybe even including bias against white males in some situations.

    If the publisher gatekeepers misjudge you, you're in luck. You've been born into the world of self publishing.

    :D
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, Danny Rolling wrote and published The Making of a Serial Killer, so...
     
  5. E Breezy
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    E Breezy New Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone. I don't have any extreme marks to set me back, and it only goes forward from here. Just have to see how it unfolds. As far as self publishing.. it's something I've never even researched. I haven't pursued this seriously , and have only recently decided I need to.
     
  6. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    The more tortured and messed you are directly correlates with creativity in my book
     
  7. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Assume you've just graduated from a fine drama school. Will you be judged fit to play a certain role based on your background or on the audition?

    Writing's like that.
     
  8. E Breezy
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    E Breezy New Member

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    It's not very often in the working class that you can display your skills to an employer before you as a person gets critiqued. I didn't believe it would be as critical in the publishing world to get a foot in the door, but I didn't know for sure.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and now you do... happy writing!
     
  10. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you mean: is it important to make a good impression like when you get a job interview? Because I don't think publishing your original work would need you to have an interview or even to ever meet anyone in person - except maybe your agent, but I think nowadays even that can be arranged via internet. If it comes to some other things, like ghostwriting, or writing someone's biography, which include actualy meeting people facd to face, then yeah, I think your attire and hair-do might be worth investing in. :)
     
  11. E Breezy
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    E Breezy New Member

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    Not exactly what I meant. During a rough patch a few years ago I etched a pretty hefty felony onto my criminal record. Since dealing with all of that I've had some eye opening experiences to the effects that can lay on your work life. It gets better after time, and with a truck load of cash it can be removed after a few more years. I just wasn't sure how a potential publisher may look at that. Even in the regular work force I've managed a job for a logistics plant, and have earned back a lot of respect from my local community. I didn't know how critical it would be in the writing world though. I've never thought about the fact murderers write their stories, but my writing isn't about my personal story. So without that connection wasn't sure if that'd harm my opportunity or not.

    I've also had issues with my tattoos from time to time. Nothing offensive, but in very visible places. I worked flight operations for a local air field without any problems, and even worked airport security. People feel some type of way about boarding an aircraft being secured by a young man with tattoos on his hands and neck.

    I assumed writing was more content than public relations. These days businesses sometimes sell the face or name harder than the product though.. I'm not well informed on the writing/publishing business aspects of the world.
     
  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Since the publisher doesn't actually see you first, he sees your work it's probably the one job where your performance
    ( your writing ) is more important than your image. Look at Stephen King or William S Burroughs not exactly G.Q. models.
    No matter their pictures still appears on their jacket covers. Publishers don't mind working with average people, not
    everyone can be as gorgeous as Joan Collins, or kooky as Anne Rice. Richard Laymon looked like a bus driver but he
    wrote good horror. The only way prejudice might crop up is if your name is Eggbert
    Snedley and you want to write bodice ripping romances.
    Then the publishers will probably, most-definitely push for a pseudonym.:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
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  13. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I'll just put it this way: If a large amount of tattoos and a jail record affect your chances of being published in any way, I would not have several published magazine articles and a somewhat successful blog. Readers/publishers look at the content, not the writer.
     
  14. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @E Breezy writers? they are all freaks of nature by default... :)
     
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  15. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    ^ best post of this thread!
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The only discrimination I'm aware of is against any writer who cannot assemble a coherent manuscript.
     
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  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    amen to that!
     
  18. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only thing publishers care about is whether they will make money. If you've written something that they think will likely have commercial success they will pay you for it. If they don't think it will have commercial success, they won't. It doesn't matter whether you have tattoos, or green hair, or spent time in prison. All that matters is that you've written something that a decent number of people will be willing to pay money to read it. (Or simply to own it -- they don't care a whole lot if the purchaser even reads it, except insofar as if they read it and like it they will spread word to their friends, and encourage them to buy it.)
     
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  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to that, too!
     
  20. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    mein kamph is still published though I think if Hitler wrote books for children some publishers might just raise an eyebrow....
     
  21. graphospasm
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    graphospasm Senior Member

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    If you don't mention the felony and the tattoos I doubt anyone will realize they exist upon reading your query letter. It's not like they can see you so don't bring them up. They don't add to your work; don't waste words on the unnecessary.

    Agents might research you before agreeing to rep your book, but if you're writing a book about the prison system and you've been to prison, hell, they might actually like that. If your book will sell it's not illegal to rep it no matter what you've done.
     
  22. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Just don't lie to the publisher - lol
    remember the Sara J.T. Leroy incident?
    Or a Million Little Pieces by James Frey.
     
  23. graphospasm
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    graphospasm Senior Member

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    "Million Pieces" was a fictional story presented as someone's life/a nonfiction work. If I'm writing a romance novel, pure fiction, why mention I dodged taxes or something? If it doesn't matter, don't say it.

    Edit to add: But yeah, don't lie if they ask. That'd be a whole heap o' not-good.
     
  24. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    He'd probably want to use a pen name.
     
  25. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I think that writing, assuming you're talking about publishing some of you work and not getting a job at a newspaper, is one of a few industries/careers that your past history and even appearance won't make much of an impact. It's about the quality of the writing.
     

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