10 October, 2010

Market or Individual?

Assuming your write, once the first draft has been written down, the second draft has been revised, the third draft has been edited, you've fussed over the fourth draft, (and maybe the fifth, sixth, seventh, etc.) and finally you've come up with something that resembles a book, there's always that other can of worms:

Getting published.

I'm sure we've all dreamed about it at some point. (Come on now--don't tell me you haven't sat there and sighed longingly thinking about the fame and fortune. Or maybe just the fortune.) Imagined having that book on a shelf in Barnes & Noble (or even Wal-Mart). Pictured the fanmail. Considered the attention you'd get and the interviews you'd be doing.

Now, that all entails that your work appeals to the market; the only problem with that is, if you've got ideas, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, other than what the customer wants (or, at least what is going to be economically acceptable to a publisher, be it a large or small company), then your chances of getting published are slim or none.

And this is where the conflict comes in.

Do you, as a writer, prefer to mold and shape your writing to the demand? Or do you, as a writer, prefer to go your own way, despite the decreasing chances of being published?

Would you be willing to change your book's moral, plot, characters, so that it is more popular? Or are you satisfied with writing something that's entirely you and unchanged, but that doesn't appeal to enough people to be published?

I am in the latter camp. I would much prefer writing something that embodies what I really want to say and believe, and not something that is dictated by external forces. I would much rather stay anonymous and unpublished than get published and have something I'm not totally comfortable with, that isn't really me.

What about you? Do you think changing your writing is worth a greater chance of being published?

-----The Golden Eagle


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd be willing to adjust the storyline, but not my morals or values.
I didn't write my book for fame or glory. I wrote it for me, to see if I could really complete a novel. That a publisher wanted to publish it is a bonus to me. But I wouldn't compromise just to succeed as an author.

Rachel Morgan said...

I agree with Alex. I am happy to change things to make my story better, as long as they don't change the whole meaning/point/morals that I was trying to get at in the first place.

I think we have to try and strike it in the middle somewhere - if possible! Writing a story we're passionate about that appeals to the market too...

Marieke said...

I write what I love to write and that's what I want to keep doing :) If it appeals to the market - so much the better, but first and foremost it's what I want to write. I'm always open to suggestions, but I only make changes I support :)

The Words Crafter said...

I write for me. Totally. But, I am not averse to changing, tweaking, to make it more marketable. As long as it doesn't affect the essence of the story. Then, it wouldn't be mine anymore....

Clarissa Draper said...

I write what I'm interested in but I do to some extent write for the market I target which is Mystery/Thriller. I want people to read my words, I work hard at writing them and want people to be entertained. However, I won't change my morals or values to please the public.


Memzie said...

It is not so much that I want fame and fortune, it is more for the sake of writing. I love to write, not about what others want to hear, but what interests me. I love writing and if I get published then that is icing on the cake.

John The Bookworm said...

Hm. I don't think I'd ever change anything because it wasn't marketable. That's frankly stupid and counter-productive. Getting published, while most certainly a BUSINESS, is still about finding books that sparkle with originality. By changing something big about your book, you are in a sense taking away from it.

I mean, I would never take away a gay character or make my character straight, even though markets would want that. It just wouldn't sit well with me. There's a difference between editing a book to make it more polished and changing it just to follow trends.

All the same, whether we think about it or not, I think we consider getting published when we write a story. It's why we make things in our stories at least a little plausible. We aim to not only write a story for ourselves, but for others, which means that we have to make it understandable, and that changes how it comes out.

I guess what I'm trying to say is...we unknowingly do it enough. Changing my story anymore than what comes naturally to me and feels right to me just wouldn't work.

Sun Singer said...

I would change nothing for the real or imagined market even if I knew exactly whose changes might be.

New books create new markets. Books of a kind that have never seen the light of day, draw that light to them and markets are born.

The "market" as it exists before I write is old. It has already been done. Copying the past by intentionally appealing to what has come and gone would be, for me, a claustrophobic and unfulfilling practice.


Quinn said...

I like what John the Bookworm said about not taking out a gay character or making a character straight because that's what the market's after. My main character is bi and the love triangle he's in involves a girl and a guy. I wouldn't change that.

I would be open to discussing changes and if they make the story better, I'm all for it. But ... I wouldn't change something that changes the essence of the story (as The Words Crafter said).

Jules said...

I too agree with Alex. I think writing should be a personal journey and not a marketing trip.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

The Golden Eagle said...

Alex: I wouldn't do that, either. If what I write doesn't appeal to what other people want to sell . . . then at least I've got something that's genuine.

Rachel: I'd make changes too, if they add to the overall story. Striking a balance between market and thought would definitely be nice!

Marieke: Good policy. Writers writer, after all!

The Words Crafter: There are always things that can be changed when it comes to writing! But that's part of the challenge. :)

Clarissa: I read some mysteries and thrillers occasionally . . . it's true that they are for entertainment, but some are really good!

Memzie: Very sweet icing . . . but still just icing nonetheless!

John: Interesting point. It's true that writers already change their writing to match what people want--otherwise it would be totally unbelievable.

Malcolm: It's so fulfilling to find that "new book" isn't it? Even if it's not the start of a trend, an individual piece of work is great to read. :)

Quinn: Me neither. If the essence of the story is gone, then the book just isn't a real, you know, book.

Jules: I know I'm making a personal journey by writing my book. :)

Caroline said...

I'm with you, Eagle. I want to write what really is my story, not what people want to see from me. There's this song lyric that says, "You can't please everyone so you've got to please yourself." And I'd much rather have an unpublished book that is all ME then to have a published one that doesn't reflect me at all.

Wow, that was a long rant....lol!;D Great post!

Kiki said...

I TOTALLY agree with you, and also with Alex and Rachel. When I write, it what I need and want to get out there. I don't want to write what someone else wants me to write.

Connie Arnold said...

I'm willing to make changes that improve the writing and make it more appealing as long as the message I intend is still there.

The Golden Eagle said...

Caroline: Exactly!

Kiki: I wouldn't do that, either--part of the reason I really DON'T like ghost writers.

Connie: I'd be willing to do that, too. Just so long as the "essence", as people said, is still there.

Thanks for find my blog! :)

dennis hodgson said...

"Your write" -- did you mean "You're right"?

I think that deliberately writing for the market is insincere. Write what you feel, even if you're told that what you write has no commercial value.