Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roadtrip: Only if my book had leopard spots

I haven't done a Roadtrip Wednesday in weeks! And I'm glad I chose today to jump back in!

This week's Roadtrip Wednesday Topic:

How far would you go to get published?

Would you:

1.) Jump on the trend train?
2.) Switch to a well-selling genre?
3.) Do minor revisions requested to sign with an agent?
4.) Do major revisions requested by an editor?
(This next one I'm adding because it's one I've tangled with a lot.)
5.) Eliminate the illustrations or let house illustrators do them?

When I first saw this topic, I thought "Wow, does that mean the guy in the fuzzy hat, gold teeth, and walking stick is my agent?" Then I read the sections and I understood a little better.

Rather than just being petulant and giving you a big fat "No!" I'll break it down into what is "no", what is "yes" and what is "it depends". ("It depends" seems to be a very popular answer for these.)

#1 - No. I have a problem with trends, just because they are trends. Most of the time I get so sick of them that I couldn't imagine writing something for them. I'm either ahead of trends, or behind them, and that is fine with me. If it turns out that this book series I'm working on is part of a trend in the future, then WOO-HOO! But just know I didn't do it intentionally.

#2 - Maybe. I write YA. And right now it just so happens to be a well-selling genre. But if it wasn't, I'd base my decision on what I like to read. If I like to read it, chances are someone else does and that means there'd be a market for it somewhere.

#3 - Minor revisions? Oh, heck yes. In fact, I'd expect them. What worries me is this next bit.

#4 - Major revisions from an editor. I live in fear of this one. I'm currently unpublished, but everyone tells me this will happen. They say editors like to rip your MS apart and make it into a totally different story. I think that's a bit extreme. (and possibly not altogether true.) I would fight that with every last breath.

Here's an exception: if an editor asked me to alter plot, and I felt it actually helped in the long run (long run being the fact this is going to be a series). I would probably agree to that.

#5 - NO! (I knew I'd get that petulant "no" in here somewhere.) Never ever, ever. And I'll tell you why.

My current MS - I LOVE this story. It's the first in a YA Victorian fantasy series I've been thinking about for a very long time. It has slightly odd, underdog, fish-out-of-water characters. It has dark nursery-rhyme and fairytale elements. It also has illustrations, done by me - chapter headers and a few internal full-pagers. I also plan to do the cover. And I will too.

I have my MFA in Illustration, and I've been drawing longer than I've been writing. Therefore, I am skilled enough to illustrate my own books and anyone else's books who wants me. So, of course I'd have trouble with someone telling me I had to toss out the illustrations I'd worked so hard on.

This is my book, and to take out the illustrations would remove a wonderful element of the story. (For the full rant on that, check out this post.)

To wrap it all up, I wouldn't change my story just to be trendy, just to make the best-seller list. Sure, it would be nice if I made the list. But, I'd rather create something that would trend only in a niche market of those who would really appreciate it.

How about you? How far would you go to sell your book?


  1. About the editors ripping the book apart and making it into something different...

    I've heard that, too. But if they didn't love the way the book was in the first place, why would they take it at all? If they basically wanted you to write a completely different book, you'd think they'd just pass you up. That's why I think you shouldn't change the book past what it is--then they're not interested in your story anymore, and it won't be the story you want to tell everyone else.

  2. I definitely agree with you guys about not doing revisions if they turn it into a totally different story. I would, however, be willing to go through "major" revisions as long as they didn't stray from my over all vision.

    And I can totally see why you would insist on using your own illustrations--that's so cool you can do both parts!

  3. I third the comments about revisions. If the editor loved the novel s/he bought, then you would expect the changes s/he suggests to be ones that make the existing story better, and ones that might be hard to swallow, but you could understand and perhaps agree to.

    As for illustrations, I understand publishers wanting to use in-house people, but I would hate to think they would turn you down on principle, especially when it's obvious you are more than capable. Fight that fight! :)

  4. I think it's wonderful that you can illustrate and I'd hate for you to have to give that up just to be published! Stay true to you!

    And the bit about the pimp made me giggle... ;D

  5. I'm actually very excited for the editing side of publication. I don't know that they necessarily rip your book apart...I'm excited for the creative changes that will help make my story and my characters stronger. And I agree with you about standing by your manuscript - there are definitely things I would fight for too.

  6. I'm finally working with someone who "gets me" and likes my style of writing. I hope to publish soon but time will tell. I am finally starting to put my work out, didn't have the never to do that before. so there is progress!

    Don't you love the comments and support you get from other writers! I sure do

  7. @Francesca, that's true. I think a lot of these stories about major editorial revisions are meant to scare us into not trying. But they can't stop us!

    @Susan, some major revisions can be necessary, but not every manuscript will need them. And thanks! It's a lot easier to do it myself than try to explain my vision to another illustrator!

    @Colin, even if it's hard I would agree to any revisions that improve my story. And yes, I will!

    @Bailey, definitely! *pumps fist* Hehehe. I couldn't help it. That's what I thought of first!

    @Alison, I'm suspecting that the 'editor will eat your MS' is a scare tactic. Like an urban legend. Hopefully. I'm excited to see professional input that will help make my book the best it can be.

    @Green Monkey, that's wonderful! I wish you the best of luck! I do love the comments I get from other writers. It lets me know I'm not just typing to myself!

  8. I agree with Francesca about why editors take the book if it is to ip it apart. Seem dubious.
    But the rest I'm with you ;)
    Fight for your illustrations too! After all, that's part of YOUR book ;)

  9. Think I'd go just a little further, but not much.
    Thanks for joining the IWSG. Looking forward to your first post on January 4.


I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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