What Would You Do?

I was reading a  blog the other day, interestingly enough by Ruth, where she discussed Twilight and wondered if she’d written it whether Bella would have ended up with Jacob or Edward. (Before I make her sound like a Twilight freak, this was just a passing thought she had on starting the book).

My initial reaction to this was to say, “Well, if I wrote it she would have gone for the wolf boy.” But, after thinking about it, I can tell you that she wouldn’t have – she’d have gone with Edward.

Bear with me, there is a point to this.

Why? You ask. Because, if I were Stephanie Meyer and I had a contract to write a vampire romance series, then a vampire romance series is what I’d write. From book two on (Jacob isn’t a viable player in book one), people debated and argued over who the annoying Bell would choose, while I rolled my eyes and said, “The vampire! Duh! It’s a vampire series!” And, locked into a contract for a vampire series, a vampire series it would remain, whether the characters wanted that or not (And I don’t think they did.)

This leads me to one of the reasons that I like the independent -or self – publishing movement.  If  Twilight had been self published, then when Bella and Jacob fell in love, the series could have gone to a werewolf romance without that terrible contract problem. Of course, there is a chance she would have lost readers who were expecting a vampire series, but that’s the risk any author takes when they change the direction of something, whether traditionally or self published.  My point is that as a self published author you have the freedom to do that.

That’s not to say I’m against traditional publishing because I’m not. People say that a traditionally published author is more “serious” while a self published is only “playing at it”, and maybe they’re right to the extent that there is a difference.  It’s like the difference between an “artist” and a “graphic artist” (simplified terms used for the point of this blog!) As an “Artist” you’re encouraged to produce something meaningful, something expressive. It might take weeks to do, and in fact you tend to be applauded for days and days of toil because the goal is perfection. Meanwhile the “graphic artist” is encouraged to churn it out quickly, on command, and draw whatever is needed at the time. In fact, I’ve read several professional illustrators who give you the tip to trace photographs in Illustrator to create vectors because “it’s faster”.   The mainstream factor is there, but not the soul, while the “artist” has the soul but not the mainstream exposure.

Is that to say one is better than the other? No. I do both, myself. I draw on command, and I “create art” just for me. Both are good things, both are necessary, and both are art. it’s the same for traditional and self publishing. traditional authors can write on command, while many self published choose not to go that route.  Both are good things, both fill the entertainment void, and both are viable and “real  writing”.

In the end, it just comes down to what you prefer; exposure or control.

5 Comments

  1. mariminiatt says:

    First: Mine would have ended with Bella getting some backbone and killing Edward with the first book. But that is me.

    I have a vampire book out, first novel published. Not a romance. And that was freedom in itself. I could be accused of writing my novel to “cash in” on the genre. But that was not the case.

    Besides if I really wanted to “cash in” Beka would have been a cheerleader, or at least the pretty brainaic in high school. Vincent would have been that strange guy that holds parties at his house for the under-aged kids. Steopa would have been an exchange student.

    Now if I had gone the traditional route, and the novel took off. I would be stuck writing that type of story. But the third book on my plate is a more traditional fantasy. I have a feeling that it would never seen the light of day, if I had a contract. But being self published. I put out what I want. I talk to my fans (as sparse as they are now) and see what THEY want to read.

    I like the two way conversation with out the middle man. I still write what I want to write, but now with feedback, I can see what people want to read too. For me it’s a more intimate relationship than looking at trends and fitting a book to them.

    1. ROFL on killing Edward. I never finished the book but heard enough about the series to get the gist of how it all plays out. Bella should have been drop dead gorgeous to attract all those guys as soon as she entered the school and gain so many friends in one fell swoop. I had a hard time not rolling my eyes over and over on how someone so “plain” could be so popular. But if she’d been a cheerleader, then I would have expected it and it wouldn’t have annoyed me. It’s all about perspective I guess.

      I think vampires not being linked with romance is a refreshing change because I’m sick of teen vampire romances. The market is oversaturated with this stuff now. Traditional publishers have gone down the road of overkill. Adult romances aren’t much better in that area.

      I completely agree about eliminating the middle man. That is my favorite part of writing. With traditional publishing, you have to write for the publisher. With indie publishing, you write for the reader. Feedback from the fans is the most important feedback you can receive. It doesn’t matter what a professional reviewer or someone who doesn’t like your book says because that book wasn’t written for them. No book will please everyone. I believe there’s a good reason why we attract certain people to our work, and our efforts are best spent on continuing to write for them. 😀

    2. “…Mine would have ended with Bella getting some backbone and killing Edward with the first book. But that is me…

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Nice!

      If you even have the word “vampire” in your book anymore then you’re accused of riding SM’s coat tails, never mind that it’s nothing at all like Twilight, and probably doesn’t even appeal to the same fans.

      “…Now if I had gone the traditional route, and the novel took off. I would be stuck writing that type of story….

      Yes, exactly! I could see myself easily doing a lot of vampire books in this series, because the characters are so easy to write and there’s a lot of room, but I also have some other books planned or started that have nothing to do with them, and I like the idea that we can write, for instance, a sci-fi one book and then do a romance the next etc.

  2. Excellent post. I notice the random generation of posts by WordPress comes up with a list of Twilight posts. LOL

    I had Harlequin and the Wild Rose Press send me “change this and this and we’ll look into publishing your book” rejection letters. I seriously thought about changing the books to fit what they wanted, and I got depressed because those weren’t the stories I had in my heart to write.

    Stephanie Meyer is burned out on vampires and can’t put out book 5 of the Twilight series because it feels like she’s doing homework. http://www.newkerala.com/news/fullnews-135506.html There’s the link to where she explains this.

    This is the downside to the contract that anti-self-publishing people neglect to mention. Stephanie knows people want vampires. She has tried to continue to give them what they want, but she mentally cannot do this without feeling like she’s writing secondhand work. Maybe she should consider a ghostwriter. But then, it won’t really be hers.

    It seems to me that everyone who aspires to have the kind of popularity that Stephanie has obtained ought to remember there is a price to pay for that popularity. We already know the self-published author is paying the price of less exposure and having the “stamp of approval” from the “professionals”. But every coin has two sides, and Stephanie is brave enough to admit what her side of the coin is. I may not like the Twilight series, but I do respect Stephanie for having the courage to tell it like it is. It’s not all roses.

    It’s not all roses for the self-pubished author either, but I’d rather be passionate about my work than face the pressure I’m sure she’s experiencing right now to write a book that isn’t in my heart to write.

    1. Yeah, people forget about the “down” side to it all. I remember when JK Rowling tried to sell off Harry Potter because she was tired of it – and I wish she had. The last two books are not her nest. you can feel the boredom oozing through the lines.

      Even as a self published author, you have “what the public wants” to consider, but the difference is you can ignore it if you want to without worrying about breaking a contract or never getting to write again. Ahhhh! Freedom.

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