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Authors Vote for Freedom and Independence
Today, in significant numbers, authors vote for freedom and independence in a booming trend to by-pass traditional publishers. Migrating to independent methods, it seems authors vote for freedom and independence. Heady stuff.
Why? Change in the industry was inevitable, considering the arrogance, economics, and straight-jacket limitations of traditional publishing. Loss of project control, fine-print contracts, bad editing, deadlines, unrealistic promises of miniscule royalties. As authors in larger numbers move to self-publish, it seems something substantially more important is involved; the underlying wish and dedicated vote for freedom and independence.
Freedom in Voice and Content
If you have ever published a book, you know the routine. Publishers beta-read, edit, crop, switch the order of chapters, introduce arbitrary changes , smile like Cheshire cats, —then inflict what they think —or perhaps even believe
—is the best treatment and decision for your book. Even, in the extreme—to forgetting content, adding errors, and altering your unique writer's voice. Hmm.... we have even heard authors using foul invective in discussions on this subject.
Publishers are, after all, as you will be told, the publisher, and marketing experts; wise decisions by such informed persons, by default, should be beneficial upon occasion. Besides, someone has to be the whip-snapping boss. There can be only one flashlight in the dark, one direction, one captain on a ship, blah blah. Regardless of subsequent success, or the dismal sinking thereof.
For some inexplicable reason some writers erroneously accept, imagine or assume that official publishers should automatically be smarter and more knowledgeable than garret-bound, lowly scribblers of fiction or even those genius, highly-respected, bespectacled authors of enormous, non-fiction tomes of significant stuff. You get the idea.
We observe and must concede that sometimes publishers and editors are wrong, or actually prove they are more right and clever. Kudos to shining, diligent, and wise editors when they are right, may their stubby candles at head office always shine brightly. Sadly, being right or 'being in control' does not always guarantee an optimal outcome —for any book.
Does this conundrum sound familiar to you? Has your book publishing experience been a) surprisingly successful, b) produced paper-weights collecting dust , or c) _____? you fill in the blank.
In all fairness, let us analyze logically. If your book fails in the marketplace and success expected is not achieved, something is, or was wrong. The question is, what? You have to decide. It is very simple. Sparkling, original content written well, with excellent professional editing work, fault-free publishing, and thoughtful promotion into the right market has a reasonable chance. Was your book a quality offering to the world of readers? We hope so. Was it dreck destined for failure, regardless of your publishing choice? We hope not.
Questions ultimately must then also be asked, 'Are publisher decisions always best for every book project?' Are publishers compatible with every author? Is genre a problem? Timing? Marketing? Did the formatting work? Is success ever guaranteed? Of course not. Are your own publishing decisions right for the project? The correct answer may be based upon circumstance,
karma timing and luck. And a gazillion other factors. Think for yourself. Don't feel bad if you are wrong.
Myriads of simple mistakes are made every day by both authors and publishers —even before that first draft. Wonderful premises may be abandoned by discouraged writers, never to be explored. Publishers may reject a timely, impossibly good manuscript. Writers may ignore the advice of those rare, brilliant, and helpful editors. Equally, bad editors may discourage writers or ignore, miss, and worse, even introduce mistakes. Fantastic authors of potentially stellar works are routinely sent rejection letters —or are told "go take a writing class". Wow—yet happily end up eventually selling millions of copies. Believe it; some excellent books never see daylight. Such contradictions defy logic.
The hard truth is, to publish your book by any method, bravery is required. Publishing a book may be comparable to a crap shoot. Courting Lady Luck. A calculated gamble, perhaps, but still a gamble. Timing is everything —sure, we believe that, but how about quality content, originality, beta input, perception, presentation, reviews, marketing, classification, publishing methodology, sales venues, change in societal markets and reading audiences? ...But don't forget luck. It all counts.
Personalities involved in publishing may also rise, cement, develop, bloom and grow —or clash, fester, and fail with bad communication and people skills. You, the author, —and the publisher —may realistically and justifiably have completely different visions, ideas, and targets for the project. For better or for worse.
Both votes to self-publish and the vote to publish traditionally are incredibly complex choices, —and are only two choices of many which must be made. Hard decisions. It is your book. Your responsibility.
So, what to do? Writers, scribblers, poetic persons and all, if publishing is in your future, pick a straw. The best part is, now you do get to decide. Be brave. We observe that a vote for freedom and independence coincides nicely with a vote for personal satisfaction even if success is optional. Read that again.
Here at Incoming Bytes we say step out there if you dare. One thing is guaranteed...you'll never know until you try. It's called the writing life.
*An update on my most recent publishing project:
I have voted for freedom and independence in republishing Morgidoo's Christmas Carol, —originally published in 2011.
We're now up and running. Morgidoo's Christmas Carol (Subtitled The Bells of Blister, 3rd Edition is now published, in both eBook and print formats available now at Amazon.com
- Print: ISBN 13: 9781523683826 167p., 6"x9" paperback b&w )
- (Kindle eBook format, ASIN: B0063EWU9G Full colour )