When it Comes to Publishing
The new year has begun, we’ve had our first snow, and I find myself consumed with getting my first original book finished up so I can hopefully share it. Speaking of which, that story is on the way to full completion now (Yay!).
While this process has been taking place, I’ve found myself thinking more and more about traditional publishing methods, and also the question of “Why did I never write a story to be published before now?”
Well, I did once, but that story was rejected and I realized it wasn’t very good to begin with. Needless to say, the project has long since been scraped.
In any case, I’m old enough now that I could have quite a few books under my belt. Writing has been a passion of mine for a long time after all, and coming up with stories is definitely a favorite hobby. So I started wondering why I waited so long to actually attempt being published.
I came up with a few good answers tonight.
While it may be silly, obtuse, or even unfounded of me to think so, I honestly believe the way in which the publishing industry is ran would be the sole reason why I’ve never put forth a huge effort into becoming a published author, even though it’s been a lifelong dream of mine. Why would the way things are ran be a problem?
That, of course, depends on who you’re asking, because for many, it’s not a problem at all. To me, however, I was never completely fond of someone editing my work after sending in a manuscript submission. The biggest reason for this is creative control of course, and while I totally understand that grammar needs to work and scenes that become superfluous in the end product need to be cut, the thought that someone says “You could do without this line here or that scene there” just always seemed insulting to me somehow.
But there’s a fine line here between creativity and marketing, which is precisely how a publishing house views your work–as a product to be sold.
I kind of compare this to an artist who’s painted a picture to be hung in a museum. People don’t go in and paint extra objects into the picture to make it work more fluidly, though I’m sure several artists have to alter their images before they put the final product up–but there’s my point. The artist does this, not some other editor.
Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t required to finish the Mona Lisa before it was put in a museum after all. In fact, if memory serves, he didn’t even like that picture very well. Yet, it’s not only one of his most famous pieces, but also one of the most renowned images in the entire art world.
This isn’t to say that I think editors offer nothing to the creation of a good story. On the contrary, an editor worth their salt will know what to tell you in order to make even a good story better. But perhaps my mindset is that of an “artist”, so I may be biased to one side of the story, being the creative one.
Of course, this has changed in recent years, and more indie authors have more options available than ever before. In fact, I would still be daunted by the prospect of publishing Blue Moon if it weren’t for Amazon’s KDP, and again, I get these kinds of warnings:
“Don’t self publish, you don’t have marketing skills, your cover won’t look professional, and you’ll need someone to format your book for you.”
One out of three may be true–being my marketing skills–but again, I’m not doing this for the money. This is for the creative expression, which doesn’t always pay. This doesn’t mean I don’t care for the production and quality of my book, as I always strive for professionalism, but I think I should be able to get along fine.
In any case, I was just considering that, for me, this might be one of the reasons I slacked for so long before attempting to actually publish something. I’m not nay saying traditional publishing methods whatsoever. They just never seemed completely agreeable from my point of view.