(This is the introductory post to a planned series on why I’ve chosen to go indie instead of continuing to try for an agent. Even though it’s the right path for me, I don’t mean to cast any aspersions on people who’ve chosen, or who are trying for, a different path.)
Creative control is very important to me. Not only that, but I have to be true to myself. To quote the central guest on an episode of Springer I saw in May ’99, the first episode I’d seen in many years and which made me an immediate, devoted fan, “I gotta be real to me!”
George’s beautiful life is such an inspirational example of how sometimes the dark horse wins the race.
“I ain’t quiet; everyone else is too loud!”
Frank was said to be the quintessential Sagittarian man. I’m proud he was a fellow Sagittarian. Sometimes you have to do something your own way to make sure it gets done right.
I think I like the single version better than the album version! We all have to find our own way, instead of living by someone else’s standards.
I didn’t want to be compelled to rewrite my books in a style completely foreign to me. What if I’d been told Jakob didn’t need four friends in the partisans, and to get rid of two of them, or make a composite of all four? What if I’d been told Adicia doesn’t need eight siblings, or that there shouldn’t be four Ryan siblings? I can’t speak for my intentions in the beyond-terrible original, discontinued first draft of 1993-94, but in the completed product of my adult years, they all serve a purpose and are there for a reason. Taking even a few out would drastically change the entire story.
I’ll happily accept critiques and edits, but I’d never rewrite an entire book in a style and voice that’s not mine. Contrary to the current myth, not everything needs radical rewriting or restructuring. Some books certainly do, but others are just fine with a relatively light going-over. You should rewrite something because it’ll make the book stronger and there’s something wrong with it in its current state. I don’t understand rewriting for the mere sake of rewriting.
Writing isn’t a one size fits all assembly line. For example, I’m not against adverbs, directly telling the reader anything (even when telling is far more succinct, appropriate, and to the point), or non-standard dialogue tags (e.g., shouted, grimaced, nodded, pontificated). Yes, those devices shouldn’t be overused or misused, but they’re established, respectable methods of writing, not cardinal sins.
I’ve never been like most people, and amn’t about to start going along with the crowd. I don’t want or need validation from some arbitrary gatekeeper. It just takes too long for the average person to get an agent, go on submission, get an offer, and then finally be in print. I’ll be 35 in December, and don’t have that kind of luxury of time anymore, particularly considering my large back catalogue. As an indie, all I have to do is edit and polish them, format them, and release them. Ten years from now, I could have a huge chunk of my titles finally released, whereas with a traditional publisher, I might have to wait 30 years for everything to be released.