I was reading a blog the other day, interestingly enough by Ruth, where she discussed Twilight and wondered if she’d written it whether Bella would have ended up with Jacob or Edward. (Before I make her sound like a Twilight freak, this was just a passing thought she had on starting the book).
My initial reaction to this was to say, “Well, if I wrote it she would have gone for the wolf boy.” But, after thinking about it, I can tell you that she wouldn’t have – she’d have gone with Edward.
Bear with me, there is a point to this.
Why? You ask. Because, if I were Stephanie Meyer and I had a contract to write a vampire romance series, then a vampire romance series is what I’d write. From book two on (Jacob isn’t a viable player in book one), people debated and argued over who the annoying Bell would choose, while I rolled my eyes and said, “The vampire! Duh! It’s a vampire series!” And, locked into a contract for a vampire series, a vampire series it would remain, whether the characters wanted that or not (And I don’t think they did.)
This leads me to one of the reasons that I like the independent -or self – publishing movement. If Twilight had been self published, then when Bella and Jacob fell in love, the series could have gone to a werewolf romance without that terrible contract problem. Of course, there is a chance she would have lost readers who were expecting a vampire series, but that’s the risk any author takes when they change the direction of something, whether traditionally or self published. My point is that as a self published author you have the freedom to do that.
That’s not to say I’m against traditional publishing because I’m not. People say that a traditionally published author is more “serious” while a self published is only “playing at it”, and maybe they’re right to the extent that there is a difference. It’s like the difference between an “artist” and a “graphic artist” (simplified terms used for the point of this blog!) As an “Artist” you’re encouraged to produce something meaningful, something expressive. It might take weeks to do, and in fact you tend to be applauded for days and days of toil because the goal is perfection. Meanwhile the “graphic artist” is encouraged to churn it out quickly, on command, and draw whatever is needed at the time. In fact, I’ve read several professional illustrators who give you the tip to trace photographs in Illustrator to create vectors because “it’s faster”. The mainstream factor is there, but not the soul, while the “artist” has the soul but not the mainstream exposure.
Is that to say one is better than the other? No. I do both, myself. I draw on command, and I “create art” just for me. Both are good things, both are necessary, and both are art. it’s the same for traditional and self publishing. traditional authors can write on command, while many self published choose not to go that route. Both are good things, both fill the entertainment void, and both are viable and “real writing”.
In the end, it just comes down to what you prefer; exposure or control.