One of the reasons I wanted to self-publish in the first place is because I didn’t think the Innocence Saga would fit in with any mainstream marketing. It’s got underage sex, violence, and it’s set in an equivalent 17th century without being steampunk. It’s a paranormal with no vampires, werewolves, faeries, or fallen angels. It’s a high fantasy with no dragons, elves or wizards in pointy hats. It’s not a dystopia. The first book doesn’t even have a hint of romance.
The Edge of Darkness is my sci-fi novel. It’s more of a space opera because it focuses on the relationship between Max and her husband. There’s violence that could be considered extreme. Oh yeah, and Max is a cyborg.
The reason I often think about going straight to self-publishing is because I didn’t want any editor or publisher telling me, “Change this, and we’ll consider publishing it for you.”
Because publishers are in the business of selling and making money, not staying true to characters and events in one writer’s head.
I’ve only just become aware of the L J Smith controversy. Smith is the author of the Vampire Diaries book series, but she doesn’t own the rights. Her publisher has decided they didn’t like where her books were going, so the rest of the books are going to be ghost-written.
Or, to put it bluntly: Smith was fired from her own series.
I think I would die if that happened to me. Kudos to Smith for not quitting writing altogether. I can’t even imagine trying to change my characters. Every single change I have made in my book was my choice – either I knew it wasn’t working and changed it on my own, or I knew deep down it wasn’t working and needed someone not so close to the story to point it out. Every time this has happened, I’ve said to myself, “You know it wasn’t working – why didn’t you listen to your instincts?”
At least with self-publishing I’ll be in control of absolutely everything.
Just last night I was trying to write a scene where Tagodan, Innocence’s shapeshifting totem, wasn’t listening to any ideas I had in my head. He was just standing there, watching me struggle to figure out what happened next. I wrote three different scenarios, and none of them worked. He stopped talking to me because he, as a character, wouldn’t respond in any of the ways I thought he might.
So look: On one side of the argument is self-published novels are not up to traditional standards. Because it takes on average 12-24 months to get a story from accepted to the shelf, and they go through several different editing rounds. A lot of the time, this makes the story better. Sometimes it makes the story worse – when a writer is forced to change their characters, perhaps deleting ones entirely.
I’m going to offer another way of looking at it. At least with self-publishing, the story is entirely our own (granted it hasn’t been stolen/plagiarised for profit, which I do know goes on).
- For whom do you write? (darcknyt.wordpress.com)