Apr 02 2014
Here’s an article over on The Book Designer that had me shaking my head today:
When you decide to write and publish a book, you want to be confident you will bring a book to market that has never before been written—or read—and that your target readers want and need.
To write that book, tell that tale or fill that hole, do some work before you start your manuscript. As part of your initial planning process, study other previously published books and use this research to help you develop the confidence to write and publish a singular book …
A singular book? I don’t often link to articles on publishing that don’t resonate with me, simply because there’s too much stuff that does resonate for me to share with you those things that don’t (and there’s little objective truth in this business), but this one, wow . . . It so goes against what I’ve learned about the actual creative process that I can’t believe that people really write this way. Does anyone?
When I was at the Oregon Book Awards a couple weeks ago, a young writer asked me what I would tell her if I had only one piece of advice to give. Essentially, I said this: “Write for you. Don’t worry about everybody else. Write what makes you happy, or angry, or sad. Make yourself laugh or cry or cheer. If you can do that, there’s a good chance your manuscript will do the same for other people, because we’re all made from the same basic stuff. And at the end of the day, at least you’ll have that.”
And that’s what I believe. I wouldn’t worry too much about being original. I’d focus on being authentic. If you’re authentic, as any kind of artist, whether you’re penning a song, writing a novel, or painting a water color, if what you’re writing comes from deep within you, then you won’t need to “fill a hole” on the bookstore shelf. You’ll create your own space.
That’s how art works. There’s always room for another authentic voice.