I recently came across a blog post by a YA author called “The book of my heart”—all about that one special book you loved writing more than anything and that is so amazing and so profound that you just don’t know how you’ll ever top it. I’m not sure I’ve written the book of my heart yet or if such a thing even exists. But this particular author detailed how after writing one such book that it came so close to landing a publishing contract only to ultimately be rejected which not only deflated her ego but caused her to shelve the novel indefinitely and now it will never see the light of day.
The true intent of her post was to encourage writers that just because the book of your heart doesn’t sell, doesn’t mean that you can’t write another one that will. But here’s what was implied—that any book that isn’t picked up by a big six publisher isn’t any good. Yes, I can understand negative feedback or any kind of critique leading to a revelation that maybe it really wasn’t any good. But if this is the book, I mean THE BOOK of your heart, why let yourself be so easily convinced?
So much was implied in this post about traditional publishing being the only legitimate way to go and how we should abandon anything that they don’t deem worthy. It was sickening really because all I could think about were the countless authors out there willing to give up on a story just because someone else said it wouldn’t sell.
First of all if you’re only in this to make sales then you deserve whatever torment comes your way from laboring over book after book because you’re constantly in pursuit of that blockbuster hit/someone else’s approval. But if you’re in this because you love to write, because this is what you’re meant to do then why would you ever let anyone tell you a book you’re more passionate about than anything you’ve ever written before isn’t important?
Where’s your back bone? Where’s your self-worth?
Stories are like seeds and if one’s been planted in you, then you are compelled to write it—not by pop culture or the current market or by money or even by your own desires. No. There’s got to be something bigger out there pulling the strings. Especially if this is THE book, the book of your heart. You are not writing it just to further hone your skills, you are writing it because it needs to be written and if it needs to be written then trust me it needs to be read. And it is your responsibility as an author to make sure that happens.
So enough of this bowing to the powers that be and making their word law. Please don’t misunderstand. This is not me saying traditional publishing is evil and this not me supporting the self-publishing of trash that takes longer to upload then it did to write. What I’m saying is that writing the book is not your only responsibility as a writer. Getting it out into the world, that is also your responsibility. And if traditional publishing isn’t conducive to that don’t let your ego stand in the way of exploring other options. Especially when you realize that traditional publishers only cater to the majority, and that your readers might not be in that category.
Think about this for a second—what if your favorite book had been rejected by every major publisher, ever indie conglomerate and small press? And what if the author of that book said ‘ok, you’re right. I give up.’ Can you imagine how your own life would be different, what kind of writer, what kind of reader you’d be without that book? If you’re a lover of books or art in general then you can see the serious implications behind this kind of deprival.
So here is my plea. Do not ever give up on something just because it seems like you’re the only one who believes in it. There is a reader out there who at this very moment is looking, waiting for a book just like yours. So don’t you dare just let it sit in a drawer gathering dust.