Thursday, August 4, 2011

No One Is Forcing You To Publish A Certain Way

I think there is this increasing belief (most likely an unconscious belief) that agents, publishers and the business of publishing is forcing authors to have to follow a certain path. It seems as if I am reading more and more authors blogging, or commenting on the web, implying that they are being forced into decisions and that their creativity as an author is being hampered. I am sorry to say this, but the reality is that no one is forcing anyone to do anything.

Traditional publishers are not forcing writers to limit their writing. As I have said before, they have a market. They have done their market research and they know what sells to THEIR market. If they pass on your story, it is not because they have a limited vision of the business, it is simply a matter that your story did not fit that model.

Agents are not out there just to make people change their ways or write a certain way. They are there as an option for those writers that want to use the agents. Again, I have said this here on the blog before, but having an agent is just like working with a realtor when buying or selling a home. Do you need to go through a real estate office? Absolutely not. But, because you are doing it on your own, you not only increase your work load, but also have no one on your side if something goes wrong.

I fear that there are many authors out there trying to pick a fight and make this an all or nothing argument. If you take the traditional route to publishing, you're good or bad. If you e-pub, you're good or bad. If you go with an indie publisher or the self-pub route, you are good or bad. This is far from the case. This is a decision you make as an author.

I have said all along, and I will say it again, writing is for everyone. There is also a place somewhere in this publishing world for you. It may be self-publishing at the local Fed-Ex Kinkos or it may be on the New York Times Best Seller List. The decision is entirely yours.

And with that said, we also have to remember that if something doesn't go right with your personal writing and your personal project, it was you who made the decision and it is not the entire system's fault. Sales may be low because you went with someone who doesn't have a mass distribution. You self-publish and no book store wants your project. You want to write for a traditional publisher and get your project returned because you don't have an agent and don't want one. You sign with an agent that you don't know anything about and are "taken" in a scheme. All of these decisions were yours and in many of the cases, the problems may have resulted from you missing something in the submission and writing process.



  1. I agree. I think today, more than ever, an author has control over the direction in which their career goes.The options are there. The homework must be done, choices made and, whatever the results,we must own up to our own decisions.

  2. Scott,

    I found your blog a few weeks ago and wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying it. Great information presented in a concise, to the point format. Thanks for sharing your insights and opinions. You have a new fan.

  3. Choices in writing, as in life, are ours and we must live with however they play out. If they weren't the right ones then, hopefully, we've learned a valuable lesson and won't repeat them.