Sunday, April 27, 2014

Democracy of Storytelling

A lot of things said on Twitter are inscrutable or inane, but sometimes it feels as if someone is talking right to you, whether they are @messaging you or not.

Like this:

It often feels that publishing is a tiered system. At the top are the kings and queens -- the bestsellers, award winners, and A-listed. The tiers below are multiply layered and hard to define -- lead title,  published or unpublished, published by big 5, published by major press, hardcover, paperback or ebook, carried in bookstores, self-published, agented, unagented, genre or literary, adult or children's. 

As a writer, I often feel slighted, whether a bookstore or library won't carry my book or a reviewer won't look at it -- sometimes something as simple as a writer I admire won't follow me back on twitter. I know I'm not a king or queen.

So it's nice to be reminded that no one is. This is a democracy of storytellers.

We all have stories to write and share. We represent ourselves when we write, and when we publish or choose not to. One writer, one vote.

We represent ourselves when we read -- one reader, one vote every time we pick up a book.

Sure, democracies have power shifts, tiers, and factions of their own. The comparison doesn't hold up to heavy scrutiny.

This may be a multicultural republic, but representation on the shelves, lists, and award rosters doesn't match the citizens who are writing and reading. Everyone can write, but not everyone has not have equal platform to be heard. There may room for everyone, but most of that room is on the bottom.
But at the moment when I write a story and when a reader reads it, the relationship between us is the same. One story, one reader, one vote with every book.

About Kell Andrews:  Kell Andrews writes picture books and middle grade novels. Deadwood, her middle-grade contemporary fantasy about a cursed tree, comes out from Spencer Hill Middle Grade in June 2014. 


  1. True! And I know it's difficult to resist the comparison game, but I've never personally felt that writing is a competitive sport. It's definitely more of a cooperative effort for me.

  2. If it's a competitive sport, who wins? I think no one ever feels as if they do (well, except for those self-declared kings and queens Ness wrote about).

  3. I love Patrick. And wow what great points. So true, Kell! Thanks for sharing this!


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