By Peg Brantley
Traditional or Independent?
How will one of my best friends in the writing world feel when she finds out my vision has shifted? Will she think I’ve abandoned my dream? Will she think that since I’ve redirected my focus to readers rather than publishers my talent is less? Will her nose suddenly begin to look like a pig’s snout whenever she hears my name? (Ugh. Didn’t mean that to sound ugly. Really. And she wouldn’t. But still.)
There is, beyond any doubt, the question of affirmation. When an agent champions you, and a publisher puts their money on the line, you know you’ve managed to convince some pretty key professionals you have what it takes. Nothing wrong with that. But for every worthy manuscript that goes to print via a traditional publisher, there are countless more, perhaps better manuscripts, that get rejected. I’m not the only one who has read some dogs, right?
But damn. What about when, as a writer, I’m done with the drama? When I decide I want to be truly self-employed and not subject to someone else’s idea of what might make them profitable? An employee driven to make the bottom line or risk losing his or her job? Haven’t we all had enough of that?
If affirmation is the thing (and for me it is), what are some of the other ways I can measure my value? Can you tell I’m an approval seeker? Yep, it sucks.
My dream, though shifted, remains as big and strong as ever. And now? The affirmation will come from readers—one at at time—that I’m so happy to meet now rather than later. Or never.
Come join me as I take this indie author thing on. My dream is muddled right now, but it’s clear in that I want to offer readers, when I’m ready, something they will enjoy.
What about you? As writers, what’s your dream? Is it for readers to get their hands on your story or a publisher to tell you you’re worth their investment?
And as readers, what are the things you’re looking for when you make the decision to buy a book? Is it the publisher? Does it matter to you if it’s a hardback on the bestseller list? What really, really matters? How do you separate the chaff from the wheat?
It’s all better with friends.