The Wondrous New World of Publishing…
As publishing has taken a massive turn over the last six or so years, I have been doing my best to just learn every detail I can and keep up. And I have found almost all of the changes exciting, actually.
I have often said I love this new world of publishing so much more than the old one. I have often said I love the control and not having to deal with traditional publishing corporation stupidity.
I have expressed my enjoyment of this new world in different ways than those. And all are correct in how I am feeling.
I flat would not be writing if this world hadn’t changed the way it did. That simple.
But some poker players are richer because they didn’t find me sitting across from them.
Tonight, while watching part of a show about how Tim McGraw became the superstar we all know, he said something that instantly made sense to me and explained a bunch of stuff about how I have been feeling about this new publishing world.
His comment sort of put it all together, actually.
He said that now, after all the years, he felt free. He said he felt he now had the artistic freedom to do what he wanted.
First off, it was interesting that early on he didn’t feel like he had artistic freedom. Even with all the early success. But now he did.
And then it dawned on me that what he said he was feeling was what I was feeling.
I have no one I have to answer to for my choices in what I write, how I write it, or why I pick a project I pick.
If readers don’t like something I write now, I figure they might in twenty years. So I don’t let readers into my process at all. I don’t write for money or fame or any of that stuff.
I just write for me.
And only me.
Total artistic freedom.
That is something that I never had as a traditionally published writer. Not once, not ever. Even when writing my own books there were always gatekeepers and sales forces and so on.
And anyone going into traditional publishing now not only gives up all rights to their work, but also gives up all artistic freedom.
In this modern world, a writer does not need to do that. I have no idea why any writer would willingly do that.
Maybe, just maybe it’s because complete artistic freedom and everything that means scares writers too much. Too much responsibility or something.
Now I understand that artistic freedom only matters to writers a distance into a career. Early on the learning curves of control and learning the art and craft of writing and publishing overcome all thoughts of having freedom to do what a writer wants.
Mostly because early career writers don’t have any idea what they want, let alone how to do it. Both aspects take time and years to learn.
But now, finally, I understand why I sometimes rebel against all the “should do” stuff that comes with promotion and sales. And why I shout, sometimes at the top of my lungs, for writers to never write to market.
However, artistic freedom sometimes comes with a price. And that price is sometimes too steep for many writers to pay. Low sales, bad reviews, and so on.
Artistic freedom takes courage to write what you actually want to write, not just what you think you “should” be writing to keep the money flowing or what your workshop tells you to write or some editor or agent tells you to write.
Courage to hold onto your own artistic freedom is sometimes difficult and certainly not an easy task.
But the artistic freedom this new world of publishing gives you should be cherished. I know, I worked thirty years without it and now that I actually understand how lucky I am, I’m going to defend it even more.
I love the freedom to make my own choices in publishing, right or wrong.
I love the freedom to write what I love to write, what I want to write. Period.
And once again, I will say it simply: I love this new world.
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