Monday, December 14, 2009

Would You Want Your Book Published If You Didn't Love It?

Okay, just a hypothetical... I am not in this position, but I imagine I could be one day.

You wrote a book and you're not thrilled with how it turned out. Your agent, however, thinks it's marketable and she can sell it. Would you want it out there in the litosphere with your name on it if you didn't LOVE it?

NOTE: After reading some of the comments, I just want to clarify. In this hypothetical, the story is not CRAP and you do not HATE it. Other people may love it... perhaps your beta readers, critique partners, etc, but you don't love it.

29 comments:

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ack! This question hurts my head. Are you saying it couldn't be edited to make it better?
I guess I'd have to say if you really hated it you'd ask for it back and offer up something else. I'll be interested in what others think.

Susan R. Mills said...

Tough question. I'd love to be published, but I don't think I'd want crap with my name on it out there. I guess I'd have to answer no to this. But then again, until we are in a situation, we don't really know what we would do, do we?

Tamika: said...

That is a hard question! Like Susan I want to be published- bad. At the end of the day, I want to smile when I see my work on the shelves, it just wouldn't be worth it not to.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I agree with Tamika. Part of the fantasy for me includes pride of authorship. I want to smile when people refer to my books, not wonder if they really mean it.

Tere Kirkland said...

Hmmm, if it was my first sale, maybe not. But if I had a few other titles published, I would probably go for it after I had some feedback from readers. We are our own worst critics after all. Maybe it's not that bad.

Lisa and Laura said...

Ooh, this is a tough question. Part of me wants to say that even if others saw value in the story I'd let it go out into the world. Selfishly it would really suck to do all that work on a book you weren't in love with, but if others felt it had merit it would be hard to say no.

Kasie West said...

This is a hard question because to an extent I feel this way about all my books. In other words, me and my books reach a point where we have to say, "It's not you, it's me," and go our separate ways. After editing and reading and editing and reading my books a million times, I am tired of them. A bright, new, shiny idea is generally waiting for me at this point. One that I love more than my old boring idea. I think as authors, it's hard to see your book with fresh eyes once you're done. So, if your betas and agent is telling you it's good, it probably is. As the writer, I will always see things I could do better. I could pick my books to death. That's why I have to depend on other people to tell me when they're ready.

So yes, I would publish a book I'm not thrilled about. Because every book I write is better than the last. So, I can't wait for the perfect book that I'm always reaching forward for or I would never be published.

taralazar said...

I think this may happen more often than any of us believe. So many other people influence the final product--the editor(s), the publisher, the illustrator--it is possible that a book could lose the magic it originally held for the author. That doesn't mean the book turns out bad. It just doesn't turn out how the author expected.

Notice I have not answered the question.

Natalie said...

Yes.

Shocking I know.

I fall out of love with a manuscript as soon as I finish it, because by then the next idea seems so much fresher and I've become a better writer. I don't hate the things I've finished, but I don't love them as much as what I'm doing now. Does that make any sense? I still feel like they are good and salable, and if some editor loves them and wants to make them better I'm in.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

This makes me think of GATHERING BLUE, which makes such strong statements about art and why we create.

I'm not sure what I think. I certainly like some pieces I've created more than others. Great question...

Bethany Mattingly said...

I'm not sure what I'd do...but, I don't think I'd even finish the manuscript if I didn't love it. I just can't find the motivation to write something when I don't love it. It's a really interesting question.

Kim said...

Bethany took the words right out of my mouth. I don't think I could work on something for long enough if I didn't love it. That's probably why I have no finished ms's. Someday that brilliant idea is going to knock me over the head. I just know it! :)

storyqueen said...

Yes. If I wrote it in the first place and finished it, then there was something THERE, something that needed to come out somehow. If I wasn't happy with the finished product, I would tweak it until I was.

I like everything that I have had published, but there are most definitely some I like better than others. (And that changes, believe it or not.)

I would tell the author of the piece in question to go out and read it to kids...it would give the author a lot of information.

Shelley

MG Higgins said...

I would also say yes, as long as I didn't dislike it too much and I didn't have an idea how to make it better. I have grown tired of my work, even though others may like it. After the umpteenth read, the freshness is gone.

Yat-Yee said...

You want to put your stamp/brand on something you're proud of: that's the bottom line. But two reasons make it necessary to compromise, hopefully not too much:

we may never be completely satisfied with our work;

we don't have as much control as we think.

ElanaJ said...

Ah, such an interesting question. Sort of like when your agent suggests something and you're just not sure about it. (Also completely hypothetical.) Hmm... IDK. I'd have to stew and pray and think and decide from there, I guess.

Little Ms J said...

I tend to be hypercritical of myself, so if everyone around me thought it was good then I would trust their judgement. I would probably wax and wane, linger on chapters, solicit more feedback, but if the world is waiting for it, then let it go out and become something bigger than what I could imagine for it.

hytime said...

Easy question. I'd gush and rush to publish. If the agent who I hired - and must've admired -- thought highly of my efforts, I'd have to re-evaluate my rating upward. Might even consider using a pseudonym, so as not to belmish my name if the work did not soar.

Love,
Pa

Rebecca said...

What if your co-author LOVES it, but you don't? Then what? Is it okay if one of you loves it and the other just likes it?

I think that if I had serious doubts about a manuscript, I wouldn't send it to my agent in the first place, unless I really wanted her thoughts on it. And then, if she loved it and thought it was ready, I think I could be sold on the idea. As long as I liked it a lot.

Ame Dyckman said...

I like how Natalie's brain works. And, I think the big key here is "other people love it." As long as other people love it, and it's spreading a big blob o' reading joy in the world... well, then it's okay, right?

Jacqui said...

I'd have to consider the time AFTER the book was published. Is this a book I am going to be happy promoting? Is it something I'm going to be proud to have my friends buy their kids? Will I have to wear a paper bag over my head at school visits? The author-book relationship goes on for years after the book is published and if I didn't love the book it would be hard.

That said, my agent is a lot smarter than I am about these things. I learned long ago to take her advice because usually, days or months later, I say, "Oh! Jodi was totally right about this!" So I'd go for it.

Tess said...

Good discussion over here, Corey.

I wouldn't want it to be my FIRST book. I think I'd really like to lead w/ something I love

but a subsequent release/publication? Sure, I'd be open to it. In the end, I imagaine that our career will produce books that we love and books we are more tepid about.

Casey McCormick said...

Nope.

If I didn't love it, I don't think I'd have the the proper enthusiasm to promote it truthfully, and I wouldn't be in the right mind set to receive good or bad reviews.

The only way I could handle publishing something is if I was behind it 100%.

Hardygirl said...

Yikes! I don't know--if it's my first book, definitely!!

But, if I'd been published before and had to maintain my momentum and live up to expectations? Probably not.

sf

Suzyhayze said...

Have I told you lately that I love you? In a totally non stalker fashion?

Just seeing your icon makes me happy.

I don't love the books or posts or other things I write that people like.

I always like the stuff no one else likes. I'm used to it. I'll write a post or story or NOVEL and think it's just the bees knees... and *insert Cricket noises*
Then I'll write something I think is total crapola and I get a million comments or a nod from an agent or inclusion in an ezine. yeah. Go figure.

Katie said...

I want to come back and read these comments but I would say, NO! I want to be able to walk around proud of my work and not say, "yes, it's my book, but it's not really good, etc..."

Linda said...

For me, it might depend on the editor. If it was someone whose opinion I trusted, I would assume that it was my own take that was off. (For all the reasons of disillusionment or boredom others have cited. If I wrote the story and submitted it, I had faith in it at one time.)

If I didn't know the editor, I might be more reticent.

Z-Kids said...

Not hypothetical for me...

Recently I was in that exact same situation. I had a story that I loved. It got to an editor who saw potential but wanted some changes before considering it for acquisition. So I reworked it. More changes requested. With each pass I disliked it more and more. I disagreed with just about every choice this editor was making. Final draft was #13! Yes, 13 passes! And by that time I loathed the direction it had taken. In the end, after 13 drafts, the publisher still passed on it.

In a way it was a relief, because now I can continue to shop around that first superior version. But to answer the original question... If they had offered... Yep. I would have taken it. An accepted manuscript means food for my five young'uns. And besides, no one in the world besides me would have been comparing the final product to the initial draft. No one else would know any different.

- AZ

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, sorry about the pass, but it's a great story, Aaron!