I won't be starting Tactless Tuesday again officially until next week, but I thought I'd offer a little brutal honesty on a Tuesday anyway.
Here's the thing that I seem to struggle with most, and that I think a lot of others do, as well: as a writer am I an artist or a businessperson? It seems to me that a lot of us prefer to think of ourselves as artists. It's from this that arises the killer sentiment that I often find myself repeating:
"There just doesn't seem to be a place for stories like the ones I write in the publishing world."
There are a whole lot of problems with that statement, but I want to focus in one aspect of it.
When I say that, as an artist, the implication is that the problem is with the market. After all, I have my integrity to express myself; they should have the integrity to respect that. "Woah is my, no one ones to hear my voice crying from the wilderness, won't any one just give me a chance."
And there's some truth in that. If I just want to write whatever the heck I want to write, maybe show it to some friends, maybe post it on a blog, maybe even print it off at Kinkos and hand it out at the circus -- fine. That's cool. That's artsy and busting with integrity.
But as soon as I want to get published, I'm entering the business realm. I am trying to open up commercial negotiations. Asking someone to publish my story is a business proposition. "Hey, here's my time, give me your resources, you'll get money and I'll get read.
Suddenly, from a business perspective, "There's no place for stories like mine," no longer means the marketplace needs another publisher. It means I need to write different stories. Maybe one day I can earn the right, like Louis LaMour or Robert Ludlum or Piers Anthony, to publish anything I want just because I want to. But the business model has to be there.
Does this mean I need to stop writing the same kind of stories? Not necessarily. But if a certain kind of thing is pretty universally not getting picked up, it's not the wisest use of my energy and talents. And, frankly, I learned the hard way that I don't have enough energy and talents at this point in my life to be able to justify wasting them.
Until next time, keep the quills to the parchment and chisels to the clay.