Sunday, April 7, 2013

One size doesn't fit all

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Okay – there have been a bunch of articles lately about value of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.  All are interesting.  There’s this one here by Patrick Wesnick  and this one from Hugh Howely and this follow-up  by our DSD friend and one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Chuck Wendig

They are all articles worth reading.  Go read them.  

(insert bad hold music here)

Welcome back.   Publishing is a funny business.   It involves marketing and publicity and all sorts of business decisions and craft.  Artistic imagination is forced to war with the realities of corporate business practices.  Needless to say, the people that excel in creativity often don’t love the corporate side and visa versa.  So it’s no wonder that there are those who love the idea of cutting out the business suits from publishing their stories.  And there are others who like the way the collaboration with traditional publishing model works because it does well for them.  And in the internet universe, those who are passionate about their choices are often intent on telling those who make different ones that they are wrong.  Misguided. Ruining their entire lives. Screwing their careers and losing money to boot.  The world is ending.  The sky is falling.  Run for your lives.

The thing is…one size doesn’t fit all.  You don’t go into a store, look at a piece of clothing and think that it will look good on everyone.  You don’t expect everyone who goes to law school to practice law in the same way.

People go into stores, try on clothes and select what works best for them.  Law students study all kinds of law and pick the type of career path that they feel compelled to practice.

One size doesn’t fit all.

The same is true in publishing.  Not everyone has the same career goals.  Not everyone has the same desire to be their own publishing.  Not everyone wants to be a part of the traditional publishing adventure.

Because one size doesn’t fit all.

The most wonderful thing about the rise of e-readers and the new self-publishing model is that there are more options.  More clothes to try on until an author finds the fit and color and style that works best for them.  Huzzah! 

Which is why the vitriol and anger I see across the web in the discourse about this subject is truly baffling to me.  If self-publishing works for you – YAY!  You are a vision in that green jacket with zebra stripes.  But why get angry when it doesn’t look good on someone else?  And if traditionally publishing a book is more your style – YAY again!  The purple polka-dotted muffler and leg warmers makes you look like a fashion plate.  Does it matter that your friends aren’t all wearing the same thing?

I guess what I’m saying is that if one size doesn’t fit all in most parts of our lives, why should anyone think that one publishing model will work for everyone?  Can someone explain this to me, because I really don’t understand.

1 comment:

WriterMarie said...

I agree Joelle...I actually lost a "friend" over not doing everything the exact same way she was doing things: in writing and in life. Why she thinks everyone should be the same is beyond me...the world would be boring! Then when I started having some success doing something in a different way from her, she attacked me. She was already having success doing things her way...I think she got upset that even though she preaches the same way for all writers some of us are still succeeding doing it in other ways. That was a toxic relationship that had to go - because she was never satisfied with any answer you gave her unless it agreed with her 100 percent, and she would never let anything go until she was told she was "right".

So I'm with you on size does not fit all. Thankfully most writers I know also realize this. Attacking anyone for choosing what works for his/her career or life is just plain baffling. We're not all still in junior high, right? ;o)