July 20, 2012
So you’ve probably read elsewhere about the class action lawsuit just filed against Harlequin by authors. I’m not going to get into the details of it, as you can find all that elsewhere. Everywhere, actually. I prefer instead, to share my thoughts on it from a different perspective, a positive living, law of attraction, love of life based perspective. (Or as some call it, a positive Pollyanna pile of poo. Oh, how I love alliteration!)
First, authors, I must say this to you. To us. Do not let this become personal. Don’t become defensive. Try not to fall into the trap of turning this into an adversarial relationship with the world’s largest publisher of the stuff you write. Don’t burn your bridges or destroy relationships that have been extremely and mutually beneficial.
Remind yourself that this lawsuit thing is corporate, and legal, and contractual. It’s not personal. It’s business. Harlequin corporate wants to keep the money. The Authors want to take the money. And really, would you expect it to be the other way around? This is one of the growing pains of the new publishing world that has just recently been born. No one knows how it’s going to look at puberty, or as a teenager, much less as an adult. It’ll be what it’ll be.
My advice in the meantime is to pull yourself out of the fray. This is a time for calm and for grace. This is a time to be dignified and respectful. And really, it’s a very important time to keep your focus on the positive.
Would I like to receive a big fat check for my backlist ebooks? Of course I would. It would be like Christmas on crack. Please don’t assume that I don’t care about the issue or that I have nothing at stake.
Have I managed to get by so far without that money? Yes, I have, and I can continue to get by without it. It’s just money. Money is not worth hating people over, it’s not worth anger and resentment and destroyed relationships. It’s so not. It’s nice to have. It sucks not to have. It’s not worth fighting over.
But to go a bit deeper and look at money from a Law of Attraction perspective, you get the amount of wealth that you believe you’ll get, the amount that your vibration allows you to get. The amount you feel you deserve, are worthy of, the amount you expect. If you’re hurting financially, then you’re blocking your own flow somehow. And all the lawsuits in the world won’t change that. You give a person a million bucks, and if their vibe isn’t right, they’ll be broke again inside a year. It’s all inside of each of us. We can’t blame anyone outside ourselves for what we have or do not have.
For me, I don’t want to start letting resentment of my publisher creep into my heart over this matter. So, to make sure I stay clear minded, I do a couple of things. First, I avoid all the bruhaha. I’m not running around reading every article or following every hashtag. Then again, I don’t watch the news anymore either. Second, I remind myself of these things:
My career began at Harlequin. I’ve published more than 50 books for them, and those books have been translated into dozens of languages and released all over the world. Koreans are reading me, and the French. I’m in Spain and Italy and New Zealand. I’m read in Germany and Holland and Russia and Greece. I have made a beautiful, bountiful living writing for Harlequin (and many other publishers as well.) I’ve made some of the best friends of my life because of this career, and I’ve worked with the most incredibly talented editors in the entire industry, which has made me a better writer. I was able to buy my house, my car, just about everything I currently own, largely because of money I’ve earned at Harlequin. That’s a lot, right there.
These facts do not go away just because I might disagree with them over a contract clause’s interpretation.
Yes, there’s a contract dispute. And yes, there’s a lot of money involved. But it’s just money. There is so much MORE to what we do, my fellow scriveners. There is so much more. Don’t let this current mess make you lose sight of that.
Storytelling is a sacred calling. The very first author whose name appeared on her work was a woman, a High Priestess of Inanna in ancient Sumer. Her name was En-Heduanna. She wrote a story, a bestseller really, in which the Goddess Inanna smote a mountain for its refusal to respect and worship Her. The story spread throughout the land. Children learning to write in this, the first culture to have a written language at all, (as far as we know) used this story as practice, so it was copied down over and over again, all across Sumer. And as a direct result of the story’s popularity, the culture and the religion changed. Inanna, who had merely been the daughter of the Moon God, was elevated in status. Soon she was known as the Queen of Heaven, and one of the ranking Gods of the pantheon. Women in the society were elevated in status as well, and high priestesses became extremely powerful politically for a significant period of time.
The written word can change the world. The telling of positive stories, stories about women triumphing and love conquering all, raise the vibration of every person who reads them, and every person they encounter, and every person they encounter. A ripple effect.
We are priestesses of the written word, sharing so much more than a tale with our readers. We share our emotions, our hearts, our strength, our beliefs. Keep that in mind. Keep that very highly and foremost in your mind. The relationship between us and our readers, it’s holy. Don’t let it be tainted by this nastiness. And don’t try to drag them into this. It’s like parents trying to drag their children into their divorce battle. It’s wrong. Our readers trust us, and our stories nourish and nurture their souls. It’s a sacrilege to drag them into this.
The nastiness of a lawsuit could drag on for years. Do I want to spend those years angry and resentful, standing my ground on a battlefield over money?
No way. I intend to let the lawyers do whatever the lawyers are going to do. This will all shake out however it’s supposed to. I’ll get however much money I allow to flow into my experience, and if it doesn’t come to me from one source, it’ll find me through another. Path of least resistance. If I don’t have enough, it’s my attitude about money I need to work on.
I intend to keep this entire matter in perspective. It’s a contract dispute. It’s not life, it’s not love, it’s almost nothing in the grand scheme of things. So yes, do what you feel is right, of course you should. But don’t let it consume you. Write for Harlequin or don’t write for Harlequin. Try not to judge those who make a different call. We each have our own journey, remember. And remember, too, this is a blip in the radar. What’s important is the sacred art of the storyteller, the task to which we are called, not by publishers, but by the gods, by our muses, by our spirit, by our Source. They don’t have contract clauses. They only pay us in the sheer joy of creating. And that’s priceless.
And now, I’m going back to work on the book that’s due today.