Earlier today my uncle, who is a writer/producer/jack-of-all-trades within the indie film community, posted an article written by Shaunta Grimes (which you can find here, worth the read) that sort of just. Opened my eyes a little bit more about being a writer, getting published, and the choice between going ‘big’ with publishing or remaining independent. I think it’s something that a lot of writers, especially young ones, or those of us who have only recently taken the steps to make writing a career, feel. Overwhelmingly. Because do you go the route of having something established, well-known, and potentially more stable with your name on it, or do you take the chance do it all yourself?
In her article, Shaunta talks about landing an agent for her first novel, Viral Nation. She highlights her excitement over getting picked up by one of the ‘Big Six’ publishing houses, the joy of seeing her work sold by a retailer (Barnes & Noble, how we love them,) and then the crushing sensation that was realizing her books weren’t like others published with the same house, and weren’t received as well when it came time for sequels and other story ideas.
The long and the short of the article, is that publishing with a big company isn’t always satisfying – and it isn’t always what’s best for the writer, their content, and what they want to accomplish. She also discusses the freedom that came with letting go of her agent, and becoming the person in charge of her own work, and in what she would write. She took back the reigns of her own operation, and became happier with the results.
As someone who would like very much to publish a novel, one day (near or far future, I’m not too picky) I thought Shaunta’s piece was insightful. Being your own boss, as a writer, having full control over your work, what you want to write, the people who you wish to write for, isn’t that part of what being a writer is about? Commanding control over your writing and doing with it what suits you and your work best? As the creator of your content, should you not take the brunt of getting it out there and being the one to tell yourself what to do?
I’ve been working a lot on establishing myself, and the more I read and go through my own experiences as a writer, the more I find that I’m leaning more towards the independent side of things. A lot of freelancing comes with being your own boss, to an extent – generally you get to choose what you do, when you do it, with the obvious confines of a deadline set by your clients. Why would I not want that for my own writing?
I do know that I have a long way to go before I’m ready to publish. There’s plenty of time to figure out the how once I get to the point of publishing. But it’s nice to know there’s options outside of having to go with a ‘big’ publishing company. There’s choices aside from being told what to write, how to write it.
A writer can be in control. That’s reassuring.