Douglas Preston and I Agree

A little background, because my writing career owes much to Douglas. When I completed my first novel, I sent it out to some authors whom I greatly admired. Douglas was one of them. He was also one of the two or three to generously give this debuting nobody some of his time. He read the first Molly Fyde book, and wrote a blurb that blew me away. Mostly because it said enough to let me know there was an 80% chance he read the thing.

It was my first big break, and it gave me a tremendous amount of confidence. I’ve always felt as though my writing career has been intertwined with his, but in the way a small thread wraps around a much thicker rope. (Not calling Douglas fat! He’s quite svelte. Just saying my career warps to his more than his to mine [obviously])

Yesterday, I had the impulse to reach out to Douglas. We’d only ever exchanged e-mails, but I thought we were friends in the way that when you’re at a rock concert and the lead singer drips sweat on you, you figure the two of you are best buddies forever. Turns out Douglas had emailed me four hours earlier to ask if we could chat. I feared he wanted his blurbs back.

We chatted today, and as I suspected, Douglas and I agree on far more than we disagree. We both want what’s best for writers. The confusion is on how to achieve that. I don’t know that I have any better answers than I did before. We would both probably write similar pleas a second time around. But we’d probably do even more to assume that the other side is seeing the world differently but with the same generous spirit. The only thing this solves is my cognitive dissonance when people I admire have differing opinions. I hope the same is true of Doug*.

*I can call him that. Totally saw him at a convention once. Looked like he was adjusting his sunglasses, but it was a wave.

11 responses to “Douglas Preston and I Agree”

  1. Charla Arabie Avatar

    I’m glad you were able to talk with him. So many times stuff like this breeds hatred and animosity. Good on both of you. And, hell yeah, you can call him Doug, and he can call you Hugh, and y’all can be best buds forever. :D BBF

  2. Ariane Fernandes Avatar
    Ariane Fernandes

    A vida é fruto da decisão de cada momento. Talvez seja por isso, que a idéia de plantio seja tão reveladora sobre a arte de viver. 

    Viver é plantar. É atitude de constante semeadura, de deixar cair na terra de nossa existencia as mais diversas formas de sementes. 

    Cada escolha, por menor que seja, é uma forma de semente que lançamos sobre o canteiro que somos. Um dia, tudo o que agora silenciosamente plantamos, ou deixamos plantar em nós,será plantação que poderá ser vista de longe… 

    Para cada dia, o seu empenho. A sabedoria bíblica nos confirma isso, quando nos diz que “debaixo do céu há um tempo para cada coisa!” 

    Hoje, neste tempo que é seu, o futuro está sendo plantado. As escolhas que você procura, os amigos que você cultiva, as leituras que você faz, os valores que você abraça, os amores que você ama, tudo será determinante para a colheita futura. 
    Não desanime de você, ainda que a colheita de hoje não seja muito feliz. 

    Não coloque um ponto final nas suas esperanças. Ainda há muito o que fazer, ainda há muito o que plantar, e o que amar nessa vida. Vai em frente. Sorriso no rosto e firmeza nas decisões. 

    Life is the result of the decision of each moment. Maybe that’s why, the idea of ​​planting is as revealing about the art of living.

    Living is planting. It is an attitude of constant sowing, dropping on the ground of our existence the most diverse forms of seeds.

    Every choice, no matter how small, is a form of seed that launched on the jobsite we are. One day, all that now silently planted or left plantar we will be planting that can be seen from afar …

    For each day, your commitment. Biblical wisdom assures us that, when he says that “under heaven A time for every thing there is!”

    Today, this is your time, the future is being planted. The choices you seek, friends you cultivate, the readings you do, the values ​​you embrace, the loves you love, everything will be decisive for the future harvest.
    Do not be discouraged you, even if the harvest is not very happy today.

    Do not put an end to their hopes. There is still much to do, there is still much to plant, and to love in this life. Go ahead. Smile and firmness in decisions.

  3. “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” – Lincoln

    Good on you and him for doing that.

  4. This is great to hear. I’m a fan of you both! I’ve read just about every book by Hugh Howey and by Douglas Preston. The petitions and debate saddened me, since I see so many authors I admire and respect tearing each other down in public.

    Not that I’m neutral–I definitely agree with one side more than the other.

  5. I’m looking forward to Preston retracting some of the ridiculous things in his letter, and signing our petition.

    Good, well-intentioned people can say stupid things in public. I have. And when I do, I take it back, and apologize. If Preston did that, I’d sing his high praises.

    But his letter spread misinformation and potentially caused harm. It’s one thing to have a differing opinion. It’s another to Tweet it, or blog about it. And it is still another to get 400 people to sign it and then release it to media outlets.

    It’s not a confusing issue, Hugh. Preston asked readers, in the most public way possible, to support Hachette–a company that wants to raise ebook prices while keeping author royalties low, and to express their displeasure directly at Amazon, a company that wants to keep ebook prices low while giving authors higher royalties.

    Hopefully, our letter opened up his eyes. In which case, he can change his public position on this.

    Or he can wait until more information is revealed about this dispute, and look even sillier when it is shown how wrong he is.

    I met Doug at a convention a while ago, and found him to be quite personable. I really like his books. And I’m sure you had a nice, friendly chat with him. If I had to guess, he’s probably a great guy, gives to a lot of charitable organizations, and cares a lot of about writers and this business.

    None of that has anything to do with his letter. A letter calculated to manipulate public opinion in a disingenuous way.

  6. Ah yes. The ol’ “adjusting the sunglasses wave” trick. I’ve seen that too.

    And, yeah, Hugh, you were totally waving to me. ;)

  7. Phyllis Humphrey Avatar
    Phyllis Humphrey

    I agree with Joe. Preston may be a nice guy, but he was wrong to send that letter and add to the misinformation and ADS going around. However the Petition you signed and sent made me happy. Like 4000 other writers, I signed. I’m still in your corner.

  8. Dear Hugh.
    Please stop being such a nice guy. You’re giving the cliched stereotypical drunken, swearing, chain smoking bad tempered writers of the world an impossible public standard to live up to.
    Union of Drunken, Swearing, Chain Smoking Bad Tempered Writers + Robert De Niro (who will be out of work if you don’t cease and desist)

  9. When it comes to indie publishing and the interests of writers, I have found hardly a word of yours to disagree with, Hugh. But this post touches on why I was so disheartened by your recent glorification of the “99%” rhetoric. It is strikes me as the height of arrogance to assume that while we fight for the interests of everyone, only a tiny but powerful minority stands opposed in the name of selfishness. That’s a useful narrative for populist politicians looking to exploit social ignorance, but it doesn’t come close to accurately reflecting the intellectual landscape, and taking it to heart will lead to poor strategic choices. There’s a better way to win than class warfare and creation of artificial, but self-reassuring, divisions.

  10. […] of Hachette, has written much more seriously about opening a dialogue with Douglas Preston. in Douglas Preston And I Agree, he […]

  11. […] Howey points out that everyone, even Douglas Preston, wants what is best for writers.  Too bad we can’t agree on what that really […]

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