Casualty of An Indie Publisher
I’ve always waxed poetic about wanting to self publish. I like the control, the lack of rejections (which I know would about destroy me over time), and the knowledge that if something isn’t right, it’s my fault.
I take the same mentality when it comes to my hair. I always cut my own hair because I figure, if someone is going to mess it up, it’s going to be me. I got tired of paying to get my hair cut, and the professionals botching the job. So now, I feel a lot better about it because even if I do make a mess of it, I’m not a pro. Wasn’t bad for an amateur. Right?
Well, I knew someone who was putting together a short story anthology, and figured why not? Get some publishing cred, right? I created a short story that fit the criteria for the compilation, and submitted it. When it was accepted, and approved without any rewrites I thought, awesome! I must be fantastic. No mistakes. And I believed it, because it is a lot easier to go through a short story and find all the mistakes yourself than a novel.
Later on, I saw a review for the anthology that about tore me apart. The review in general seemed balanced and thoughtful… and it ripped my story to shreds. What’s more, some of what he said was true. And the more I looked at it, the more I realized that while he blamed all the faults on me, the author, they really were the fault of the publisher. He said things like the story didn’t fit in with the rest of the stories, wasn’t well edited, poorly written. The poorly written one wasn’t true as he called it childishly written, but it was supposed to be. It was in the mindset of a child, not an adult, and I wrote it with that in mind. But the rest? Those were out of my control. I couldn’t change the fact that the publisher didn’t ask for rewrites. I couldn’t change the fact that maybe my story didn’t mesh so well with the other stories (it’s not as if I would have known).
But I was blamed for it, not the publisher. In the reviewer’s eyes, it was my fault. I would have happily done a dozen rewrites to get it perfect. Or been told that it just didn’t fit with the other stories. Or been told the mood needed to be changed to fit in better. Any number of things. I strive for perfect, knowing full well it isn’t possible, and yet I strive.
It makes me realize that the only true time you can fully blame the writer for the fault of a book is when it is self published. That is the only time they have full control.
I guess this whole experience has just reinforced my previous viewpoint on publishing, but I would love to hear your own stories.
What do you think?
What have been your experiences?
Have you been blamed for things in reviews etc. that were not your fault?