Thursday, February 16, 2012
Nothing remains the same - thank goodness!
Several years ago I sat across a table from a New York agent pitching my fantasy. She read a sample of 'BEYOND THE LAST TREE' and told me that I had a wonderful lyrical style, great writing, etc., but...and there it was, that HUGE unwelcome word all writers and artists dread, 'BUT...(and this is a paraphrase) I can't pigeon hole your writing, so I don't feel I can represent it.' You see, in the wonderful world of publishing as it was, agents and the houses they worked for needed to be able to put your book on the shelf - literally - so it had to fit into a known genre. An author was represented for 'fantasy' or 'science fiction' or 'romance' or 'mystery'. No one knew what to do with a piece like BLT that is fantasy with a science fiction angle, plus a healthy dash of romance and a LOT of mystery. Fortunately, due to the New Jacksonian era (as I think of it), that is the 21st century 'empowerment of the people' happening now due to the internet and social media, none of those rules apply anymore.
I am an artist. As an artist I create a piece, put it out there and let the public decide whether they like it or not. No one would think of telling me my subject's eyes should have been blue, or I should have put them to the right of the frame instead of the left, or that I made their dress the wrong color. People look at art and it is what it is. End of story. To me, a book is the same. My novels and short stories are my written 'pieces of art' and I don't need an agent or an editor or anyone else to pick, prod, cut, change, and rearrange my tales before the public sees them. Ten years ago the words 'independently published' were a death knell for a writer. It meant to the casual observer (for some odd reason, since 'indie' movies win the Academy Award at times) that you must not be able to write or one of the big houses would have published you. That doesn't hold water anymore. The age of POD and internet publishing for Nook, Kindle, etc. has made it possible for stubborn, independent artists like me to have you read what I wrote, as I wrote it, and as I wanted it to be read.
It's simple. I write. I publish. You read if you want. And if you don't, you ignore it.
How democratic is that?