Friday, January 14, 2011

True artistic freedom - stage 4

This will deal with many things I haven’t mentioned in the three previous posts and will also serve as a kind of summing up of the info and statements there.

I have now published four novels under my new self-publishing initiative. It works like a charm and beyond my expectations, really. My books are available all over the world, and the Lightning Source network will be further expanded with a new printer opening in Australia for the Australian and Asian markets this summer. And my experiences during the publication, distribution and selling serves to confirm and even add to my previous opinions about the industry.

And if I, at some point should become dissatisfied with Lightning Source there are lots of other alternatives out there.

I'm not really very prolific, even though I have published four novels in six months. This is simply an acquired boon stemming from the fact that I've written eleven novels during a period of four decades and that I can now enjoy the fruits of my long labor.

Self-publishing isn’t just possible and desirable, but the only way to publish your work if you have any self-respect or dignity at all.

Stay away from agents, editors, established publishers, and most authors published under the old system. The aid they may provide is at best ill-advised, at worst totally destructive to your possible path as an author, artist or human being even.

Read about authors’ experiences with established publishers here.

Agents are merely an intermediary between you and the established publishers. They provide nothing of worth, except how to ruin yourself and your work, in an effort to be noticed by the trad pubs… and thereby gain the opportunity of being ruined by them. And they, like the established publishers themselves have now become, even more than before a totally unnecessary link between you and the reader.

Editors are pretty much the same, except that they are even more involved in your participation in your own destruction. When they’re done with your work you will hardly recognize it, and it will be as bland as most other works published by the Old Ways.

I was skeptical to editing from the start. Except for correcting pure mistakes, I swore my books should remain exactly as they were written the first time. Time and experience taught me to modify that view a bit. I had to admit that some rewriting or revision was needed and even desirable. But my fundamental skepticism towards professional editors remained and was strengthened in my contact with them. They don’t truly care about your work. They are just true to their masters, the publishers or their own limited, very limited notion of what a story or piece of writing should be. Very few of them know you or even try to know you or your work, or what you want to do and where you want to go.

Now, as an experienced author I do the editing and revision pretty much in my head as I write what some authors call first draft, anyway. I’ve never done drafts and do so even less, now.

I wouldn’t listen to anyone praising the old system, no matter how many copies they’ve sold, especially not then. Writing classes and conferences are usually a part of the old system and should, like writing groups in general be shunned anyway. A novel can never be written by committee. I’ve learned to write on my own, never taken any classes, or read any books about «how to write» what so ever. Therefore I can state, with just pride that I have a unique «voice», one not marred by mainstream horrors and an old, corrupt system of censorship and ruination of art.

All those «how to become a better writer» books out there should also be shunned, of course. At best they’re a horrible shortcut, at worst one more way of leading you astray, pulling you into the maelstrom of mainstream mediocrity. There are no good such books. Even the good is bad, if you get my drift.

Yes, ninety-nine percent of the established industry is set to ruin any prospective author or artist and their works. This is true whether you’re a writer, musician, a movie maker or artist in general.

I have to point out that everything isn’t black or white, though. Of course not. There is blurring around the edges. Small time press or independent individuals might serve in a capacity similar to what a friend or personal adviser might provide, an honest alternative view of your story.

But why should you choose a small publisher, when you can easily be one yourself?

Because of the lighter workload in the sales and exclusion of secretary work I would consider publishing through an established company if they agreed that I made all decisions, that I could do everything I do, now, and have the total freedom of an self-published author, but that is as likely as if the sun should rise in the west or something, so I don’t waste any time thinking about it. I would certainly be very skeptical if anyone approached me, for the many reasons I’ve listed earlier.

I like where I am, now. It’s a great start for possible further future «glory», a foundation I can work with and expand at my own pace and coincidences and luck and persistence may magnify to a greater degree. There are no limits, literally, and even more important: far fewer limitations than doing it all through those before mentioned asshole established publishers and their rotten (rotten in most meanings of the word) system.

Most authors and prospective authors are still stuck in the old mode of approaching agents and publishers, craving their acceptance as a way of «feeling complete» as an author and the equally misunderstood notion that the chances of earning lots of cash are greater if they should accept you. I see that both on Internet and elsewhere. But fortunately this is changing. My dream of a world filled with true independent artists and human beings is being actualized, slowly but There, no matter how all the weight of the old, inhuman world is leaning on it.

The story so far:

Author's word - Night on Earth
Author's word - The Slaves

Celebration mighty and true

Author's word - Your Own Fate

True artistic freedom - stage 3
True independence


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


Elizabeth said...

I like your ideas about artistic freedom, Amos. I still want and crave that acknowledgment from the established publishing world, but I can see how self publishing, particularly ebook publishing, could be a very satisfying alternative. I'm still holding out, though, for a "real" publisher for my book. I guess I'm not quite ready to give up on the concept of the juried approach. You are way ahead of me with 4 titles already! That's inspirational!

Amos Keppler said...

I feel very inspired myself, thank you. My rejection of the old ways is just growing stronger the more time passes and new ways gain a bigger, better foothold.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see your strong clarity on the subject, Amos. I've been a proponent of self publishing for 25 years and only gave in to a publisher to gain the calling card for one book. The avenues of self publishing are brightly lit now, and writers can and are making good livings with self publishing - something that almost never happens traditionally. I think some people can benefit from a little help at different stages, but with the caveat that any book on writing is likely to dull your own voice. Writing groups? Horror! It's going to get a lot easier to "reject" the old ways, as they are very nearly dead now. Thanks for your voice.