For the Love of It
Over in that previously mentioned Forum That Shall Not Be Named, the debate about traditional versus self-publishing continues. One of the stalwart defenders of TP submits that pursuing a traditional publishing deal needn’t be “for the money” but rather “for the love of it.”
For the love of what, I wonder. To be able to say “I’ve arrived!” “They like me!” “I was traditionally published!” Who’s “they?” Why do “they” matter?
My perspective is this:
Whether traditional published, indie published or self-published, the only objective worth pursuing as a writer is to have your work read by as many readers as you can reach.
Readers will tell me all I need to know. The proof of the pudding and all that. The love of it, for me, is being read, and knowing that my stories resonate with people, push their buttons, evoke their emotions, show them something about the human condition in a way that is memorable.
Many excellent writers pursue SP today because they’ve lost confidence that (a) traditional publishers are interested in picking quality fiction, and know how to do it, and (b) once they pick it, can bring it to the marketplace promptly and in a fashion that will reach readers, and today, (c) can do it more effectively than the writers themselves can. Is there some cynicism at play? I suspect so, and in many cases, well deserved. (There are, of course, other independent writers who simply eschew the traditional model because that’s just who they are – and we love them deeply for that!)
Unlike the golden days, now traditional publishers are owned by multinational media corporations that are interested (as they need be) in only one thing. Making money. The editors might care about quality, but the buying teams keep or lose their jobs over whether they can sell the book, not whether it’s any good. There is no such thing as a “higher calling” when shareholder value is in the picture.
A while ago, I self-published a collection of short stories, Uneasy Living. (I did so with the emphatic support of my agent, who works like hell to sell my novels.) The reader reviews of those stories mean more to me than some editor in Midtown saying “These are good, but this is literary fiction. There’s no market for it.”
This is the kind of stuff that keeps a writer working:
“Each of these stories evokes empathy, emotion, and identification. There is much humanity in this short volume; I suspect that for me, memories of these characters will linger forever…That many of my own personal convictions, convictions that took years to build, were revealed here by an author I have never met, was startling.”
“It is rare to see someone move so fluently between moods and ambiences, creating believable worlds in few words and letting the story proceed at its own pace.”
THAT’s for the love of it.
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Tags: amazon, characters, emotion, love, pete morin, self-publishing, short stories, smashwords, traditional publishing, uneasy living