In my experience, the hierarchy of writers feels something like this:
Is this fair? Of course not. We all know that some of the writers near the top of this pyramid do not possess more talent than some of those at the bottom. Being a great writer does not guarantee that you will ever sell anything to anyone you don’t call Mom. That is determined by the market and frankly, the market watches shows like Jersey Shore.
But that is not the point of this post. The point is to say this: this hierarchy exists because we, as writers, support it. We look up to the top and down to the bottom but WE DO NOT HAVE TO DO THIS! Every writer deserves the same amount of respect, regardless of the size of their publishing deal (or lack thereof). Think about this the next time you glorify (or disregard) the opinion of another writer.