Just Far Enough Away

Where, in the scale of things, should the publishing industry be as you write? Well, that depends on how much you want, not to be published, but to be rich. If you want to be rich, this is probably not the best way to do it, but if you insist on trying to be rich with writing, then you’re probably doing nonfiction. Or if you’re writing fiction, you’re probably chasing trends. Another supernatural romance. Another urban fantasy. Another Harry Potter takeoff. If that’s where you stand, great, go for it.

But I’d like to talk to the readers who are more interested in producing great fiction. Where, then, should the publisher stand in your mind while you’re writing? Very far away. Finish the work, then worry about where to sell it. Most likely, there will be somewhere, especially in this day and age, where genre lines are cracking at last, and where strange lengths have more places to exist than ever.

Where should the reader stand? Somewhat closer to you, I think, although not peering over your shoulder. Don’t write with a specific reader in mind, someone you know, and think “Oh, I’d better change that, in case George doesn’t like it.” But think of readers, of every reader, of constant reader, of Anyreader. Don’t forget they’re there.

But don’t forget, either, that the first reader is you.

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