What One Writer Did To Get Off the Hamster Wheel of Publishing
In the world of emerging authors (as well as those who have already emerged), the pressure to meet the deadlines of magazines, editors, publisher’s, and ultimately the reader, can often be as brutal as child birth without drugs. Until the work is finished, all our thoughts and energy are channeled into the demands of someone else and there is no way out until it’s delivered.
And like that painfully fought for child, the challenges of authorship will not end once the prose is delivered and the promotional tour is done. Just the opposite. Our hard won reprieve will only last a short while before we discover that it’s time to begin the whole process all over again.
Whether it is a five-hundred word article or a full length novel, the rewards for such emotional, physical and intellectual taxing demands are short lived, and mandates that we take up the fight over and over again if we are to succeed.
Much like the hamster “Rex” in Janet Evanovich’s “Stephanie Plum’s” kitchen, we are either in the soup can, butts to the air, plotting and typing away, or we are running on an endless wheel of performance, getting off only long enough to crank out the next required piece of work.
Or so we’re told.
In an article for indiereader.com, seven time author Jessica Parks, shares how she finally decided to get off the hamster wheel of traditional authorship, and begin re-defining her own rules for writing, publishing and selling novels.
After being turned down for her YA book, Relatively Famous, (a manuscript editors had given her lots of positive feedback on) and novel, Flat Out Love, Jessica began to question whether staying on her current path was right for her. “I was at a loss for what to do. I couldn’t keep writing books without selling them. What if the next thing I wrote flopped? I took a risk, in many ways, and wrote Flat-Out Love. It was the first book that completely came from my heart, and it was a book that ignored all the industry rules. I knew in the back of my head that I could self-publish it, but at the time it seemed like that would have been an admission of defeat.
I spent months thinking that I needed a big publisher in order to be a writer, to legitimately carry that “author” title. To validate me, and to validate Flat-Out Love. I needed a publisher to print my books and stick a silly publishing house emblem on the side of a hard copy. They were the only way to give my books mass distribution, and having them back me would mean that readers would know my book was good…It turns out that I was entirely wrong. I was missing what I really wanted. “
It was after having Flat-Out-Love turned down by the very editors who claimed is was a strong piece of work, that she finally decided she’d had enough, and took her writing career back into her own hands.
“One of the major reasons that I write is to connect with readers, not publishers. The truth is that I couldn’t care less whether New York editors and publishers like me. I don’t want to write for them. I want to write for you. The other undeniable truth is that readers could care less that my books aren’t put out by a big publisher.”
So what about feeling pressured to go back into the hamster cage of tradition?
“Indie authors are writing for our readers, not for publishers and what they think will sell… I can assure you that freedom fuels creativity, risk-taking, and passion. We get to bring you our stories in the way we want to tell them, without the dilution and sculpting from publishing houses. And the fans? Oh, the fans are simply unbelievable. We are so directly connected to them, and the ease of communication and feedback is unparalleled. I’m learning what readers want, and I can incorporate that into my work without worrying that an editor will nix all the good stuff. Their support and enthusiasm breathes life into days when I feel particularly challenged.”
So, am I advocating that emerging authors abandon the Twin Peaks of Author and Publisher in pursuit of a ‘hamster free’ writing zone?
Maybe! Or maybe what I’m really advocating is that one size publishing does not fit all, and if you’re feeling discouraged about getting your work published, then you might want to join writers like Jessica Park and get on board the freedom train of indie publishing too.
From the laptop of an uncensored dreamer,