In my opening salvo on publishing, I may have come across as unwilling to compromise. In certain ways, this is true. In one extremely critical way, it is not.
That way is editing.
Chris Guillebeau wrote an article recently titled Why Artistic Compromise Makes For Better Work. In it he talks about the different ways he has compromised in writing his new book. I understand his journey completely, because I have either made those compromises or am in the process of making them.
When I first gave my book to my alpha reader, he suggested sweeping changes. I accepted almost all of them. Over 90% of them, by my guess. I completely rewrote over a third of the book and revamped the rest, and those compromises have only made it stronger.
Then I sent it to my line editor, who finished his edit a week ago. Chris Guillebeau estimated he accepted 85% of suggested edits. I don’t know what my number will be yet, but I expect it will be that or higher, and my story will grow stronger.
Finally, I will get a proofreader. They will suggest yet more edits, and I will likely accept the vast majority of them. My story will be stronger for this as well.
But not all of them! I rejected some of the suggestions my alpha reader gave me, I will reject some of the suggestions my line editor made, and I’m sure I will reject some of my proofreader’s edits as well. That’s the key.
I am open to compromise. I’m willing to make it. I want to make it. I know it will make my story stronger, for others will see what I could not. But it must be on my terms, otherwise the interesting parts will get sanded away and my story will devolve into a piece of uninteresting, generic tripe.
Imperfections are what make a story great. I will seek compromise, but I will maintain control. That will let me to give you an even better story than I could otherwise.