Today I heard about Zach Braff’s Kickstarter, and it reminded me of a story, and a decision I made before I even realized it.
When I finished the first draft for my novel, some of my friends asked me whether I was going to send it to a publishing house and try to get it published.
Honestly? The thought never crossed my mind.
When big companies get involved in creative endeavors, there’s a watering down effect. Not always, but usually. They dilute the creator’s vision in an effort to make the story more palatable to consumers. They decide what they think readers want, and force you to give it to them. They think of people as “consumers” or “customers”, not as individuals.
That’s a fool’s errand. Here’s what I think: we want to see the creator’s vision.
We want to see the story the creator wanted to tell, not the one misguided marketers (oh how they do disservice to my profession) think we want to see. We want stories with passion and life and spirit. We want stories that are imperfect, because there is personality and humanity in imperfection. We want stories that their creators are proud to tell.
I never once considered sending my book to a publisher because I knew they would take control. I’ll still have editors and proofreaders, and I’ll listen to them and trust them and make more edits than I’ll perhaps be comfortable with, but at the end of the day I’ll never cede control.
If that makes my book fail, that’s alright; at least I’ll have told the story I wanted to tell. At least I’ll be proud of what I made.