Thursday, July 15, 2010

Independence - My best advice to new writers or/and artists

One thing is more important than any other. My foremost advice to burgeoning authors or burgeoning anything is this:


It takes precedence over virtually everything else.

You do things your way, or you don’t do them. If you can’t or won’t be original, can’t or won’t do something that hasn’t been done before or done that particular way… don’t bother.

That leaves out any traditional path, leaves out anything even smacking of the average, the safe and acceptable. Any artist or human being’s duty and right are to blaze a trail in blood and guts and wild abandon.

Forget about agents and of being accepted by established, traditional publishers. Don’t be a slave. Be your own publisher.

Further advices:

Don’t edit your story to death. Frown at editing, but do change what you’re not pleased with from the original manuscript, and consider without prejudice suggested changes by people you trust, accept them or not, but stay loyal to the original idea.

I tend to compare writing and subsequent «editing» with a bank robbery. If you plan too hard and long, nothing will ever be done. You may stand right across the street from the bank, and mutter to yourself: «Why didn’t I think of that before»? And you turn back and go home…

And years pass by, and you may no longer be in the necessary mental and physical shape to commit to the robbery and all plans remain in your drawer.

Incidentally, most of the advice young authors/artists receive today is still infested by the old, stale and tyrannical system. They tell you you have to submit, to bow to guidelines that has always seemed quite insane to me, now, more than ever.

I knew from the very start that my books would be published one night, somehow. I confess I didn’t know how, but I felt it in my bones. And with the onset of digital publishing and the Internet they were. And now I have the pleasure of being able to publish my backlog, publish twelve books during the next two years.

Many great manuscripts have remained in the drawer because of the tyranny of the established publishers and the system of tyranny they established, but that system is now, increasingly so in tatters. And what great news that is.

This is Your time, the age of the truly independent artist/author/publisher.

You should read the links below. They provide you with a step by step history of my evolution as an author/artist/publisher, and also technical advice.

The story so far:

Modern slavery

The Storyteller

True Artistic Freedom (II)

Reading it again

The chores of an independent author/artist

My fifty cents

True artistic freedom

Labeling and genre writing

Alarums of reality

The difficulties in describing a complex storyline

Other links:

Firewind - my stories, art and poems on the Web

My writer «CV»

The Janus Clan


Unknown said...

You sound a little bit bitter about the publication process.
Actually I'm not sure about the rest of it either.
I appreciate the viewpoint though. :)

Amos Keppler said...

You misunderstand completely. I'm not bitter at all, but pleased that I and the established publishers didn't get along. The result is so much better than if I should have accepted the ruination those assholes do to a novel. My novels are so much better for it.

And yes, i am angry, of course, because those self-same assholes have been allowed to ruin so many young and hopeful writers for so long.

Good riddance to those assholes, as they go down with their brothers and sisters in the music and movie industry.

I write an optimistic, uplifting piece and you say I'm bitter? Man, you've got problems...

C Bailey said...

I love your writer's voice. Thanks for encouraging the art in writing.

How many times have we been unwilling to admit we don't like what is popular and wish we could find the writer who suited us, but maybe not the masses.

I have weird taste and independent artists fit my needs best, but they don't appeal to large money making audiences. I hope to see the market opening up further. The hardest part is finding the time to identify these gems.

I don't believe you sounded bitter in your post, but artists are often misunderstood. Anyway, I think you know exactly what you are doing and I support you.

Anyone else interested should look into the self-publishing movement, because it isn't going away.

Thanks for the post, Amos!

JJ said...

A great opinion piece here! I'm certain there will be plenty of people that don't agree 100%, but I think you have some valid points. Especially about not editing your work to death and staying true to the original idea. In the end its your own story. You shouldn't feel the need to change a thing because of what someone has said (unless you agree with them of course!). I think getting others opinions on your work is an important learning process, but all critiques should be taken as they are. Another persons opinion. Wonderful post!

Denise Covey said...

I admire your fierce independence but many of us are too diffident and subservient to go your path. I love the idea of self-publishing and have been collecting sites, advice, stories, and maybe I will go down this road. Thank you for your honest sharing which is what this blogfest is all about..:)

Sulci Collective said...

Agree 100% but one other paralysing straitjacket we must seek to dodge is the contradiction-in-terms that is the creative writing COURSE.

Trust to your own voice and your personal journey into finding it. Do not allow yourself to be regimented about 'how to write'. There are as many different ways to write as there are voices that demand to be heard.

Creative writing courses are the literary equivalent of self-help books. Artists have to be far more instinctual. That doesn't necessarily rule out the discipline of things like grammar and editing, but they too have to suit your voice, not be superimposed by some teacher.

marc nash

Amos Keppler said...

Sulci: agreed. And I use almost any opportunity to mention it. Yes, "self-help books" that's SUCH a great and correct analogy...

To the rest of you: Thank you.

WritersBlockNZ: 100 percent is neither needed nor desired, thankfully. :)

In my opinion there is too little true disagreement in the world. He he

C Bailey said...

Self Help Books hahahaha.

We don't need to be taught how to be artists, we need to be allowed to be artists, to be different, to take risks.

And it's true no one needs to agree with another 100% because we aren't all trying to have the same career or write the same book.

Amos Keppler said...

Yes, any society and part of society with a justified respect for itself should encourage creativity and variety, not merely (grudgingly) accept it.

The "Self Help book" description is so fucking great, fit so well. I'll use it often.

Unknown said...

Amos, I love your rebel spirit! I am fully prepared to rob banks with you at a moment's notice...wait...what were we talking about?

Seriously, great and powerful advice. Thanks!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You must be true to yourself. Emily Dickinson had 3 poems published in your lifetime -- and they were heavily edited.

No one remembers the women poets who were popular at the time. She is a legend.

Our work will endure. Or it won't. But yours and mine will at least be authentic.

Hold fast to your dream, Amos.