Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Creative Opportunities

To some people, the changing landscape of publishing is nerve racking.  There are fewer publishers competing for less space in fewer bookstores.  As a result, literary agents are taking on fewer clients, making breaking through as a newbie that much more difficult.

However, I think that although this would've been cause for despair just ten years ago, news ways of doing business have opened up opportunities that many of us barely dreamed could exist.  By expanding the market, a career as a professional writer without being signed by a major publishing house became a viable option.  Further, it allowed writers to be able to express themselves in ways they hadn't been allowed to previously.

In the traditional world, the publisher is the boss.  Unless you're a superstar like Dan Brown or Stephanie Meyer, your flexibility as an author is limited to what your editor will accept.  Sure, you could hold out and hope either to wear down a stubborn editor or try to take your work somewhere where another person might be more amenable, but your chances of getting your stuff in front of audiences without someone buying off on it were pretty slim.  The publisher put in all the monetary risk, and so they had the final say so over what readers saw.  The writer was but a cog in a much larger machine.

In the indie world, on the other hand, writers get a greater shot at sinking or swimming on their own, and this allows for a greater flow of creative ideas than previously thought possible.  Want to vary between perspectives, going from third person omniscient in one chapter to first person limited in another?  Go ahead!  Think that putting in different font types will help convey the thoughts of a character better than mere description?  Try it out!  These things would never be allowed in the traditional world, but when the indie author has final say over the product, more things become doable.

The key in this is to remember that it means the burden for success or failure falls on you as well.  The market can be a fickle place, and if readers decide that what you're doing is stupid, your work will flop.  There are enough stories out there of writers who tried a new concept or a story they felt was something unique yet failed miserably to fill the Library of Congress.  However, there are also concepts that not only survived, but thrived, that would have never gotten a fair shake in the traditional world.

And that's the point.  The possibilities for doing things a different way are now out there as never before.  As an author in the traditional publishing world, your idea or the way you want to present it might have died on the editor's desk.  That might have been a good thing, but it also might have prevented a great success from taking flight.  In the indie world, you get to find out whether or not you truly struck gold, or if your idea was just another bust.

Those that can handle that kind of acceptance or rejection are the ones who can and do thrive in the indie world.  They're the ones who find out if they truly have talent, or if they would be better off cleaning toilets(or whatever other menial jobs they might have in mind).  It puts the risk of failure squarely on the writer's shoulders, but it also makes greater success possible by allowing that which the more staid parts of the industry might reject.  Yes, the traditional world might not let your idea blossom, but it also provides a built in excuse when you don't soar to great heights.

Are you ready for the risk...and the reward?  Only you can answer that question.

No comments:

Post a Comment