RTW: What Would You Do For a Klon…err, Book Contract

Desperate Song of the Day: “The Distance” by Cake

It’s Wednesday. Two days until the weekend, and another chance to join the lovely ladies of YA Highway for Road Trip Wednesday. This week they ask:
How far would you go to get published?
Ooh, good question! One that actually had us doing this:

You see, we’ve wanted to be published authors since the very first time we could grip a pencil. We already know how we’d celebrate when we FINALLY see one of our names in the “Deals” section of Publishers Marketplace (and if you know anything about us, you’d know it has something to do with food).
So far, the only thing that we’ve both done is make revisions based on agents’ suggestions. However, we’d never change anything we wouldn’t feel comfortable about. For example, if for some reason we were asked to change a character’s race or sexuality, our response would be a resounding NO! We’ve been very lucky that we haven’t had to make those decisions thus far.
As far as genre hopping, I’d be lying if I said we haven’t *considered* it. I mean, we SEE what sells–and we both have written manuscripts that were outside of our contemporary comfort zone. But I think our writing really shines when we’re true to ourselves. If we wrote something just to fit to a trend, the passion wouldn’t be there–which means that nobody else would want to read it anyway.
So yeah, I don’t think I completely answered this question. Just know that if Quita and I get lucky enough to get published one day, we’d be able to say that we kept our self-respect.
What about you all? Would you do anything “crazy” just to see your name on a book spine?

17 thoughts on “RTW: What Would You Do For a Klon…err, Book Contract

  1. I don't think this question has a straight answer.I'm also not published, nor agented, which means my answers now may change when the time comes. But I would also try to keep my self-respect and be true to myself =)

  2. I agree, Pam & Quita–if you don't love what you write, how can you expect anyone else to? And if an agent or publisher can't respect that, perhaps they're not the agent/editor for you.

  3. It really is about finding that balance between humility and self-respect. It'd be interesting to see how those of us who are currently unpublished might revisit this question later on in our writing careers. BTW, this blog is ridiculously ADORBS.

  4. I'm so glad you're firm on this: For example, if for some reason we were asked to change a character's race or sexuality, our response would be a resounding NO!Things like race and sexuality tend to only be touched if the agent/editor is uncomfortable. Stories that make us uncomfortable are often the ones that most need to be told!

  5. I completely agree–if I got a revision request, I'd have to think carefully about the revisions and decide if they fit with the story. And if they wanted to change something just for superficial reasons, like a character's sexuality, I'd definitely say no. There's just no reason for that.

  6. "…our writing really shines when we're true to ourselves. If we wrote something just to fit to a trend, the passion wouldn't be there–which means that nobody else would want to read it anyway."Love this! So perfectly phrased! I think it's pretty obvious (even in pubbed books) when an author is writing to a trend. The result usually isn't pretty. I agree: Stick to your guns when you feel passionately, and stick to writing what you love!

  7. Yeah, there are so many ways to look at and consider this question, it's hard to come up with a simple answer. And it's something I know I hadn't considered too deeply before, since I don't have the (luxurious) problem of being given edits from an actual editor yet… :)But personally, like I said on my post about it, the only really big things I wouldn't want to alter would be stuff like a character's sexuality or race or able-bodied-ness…

  8. I genre-hop, but it's always withing genres I want to write. I always imagine that the minute I write something I can't stand it will be wildly popular and I will be doomed to spend the rest of my life being the person who wrote that thing, and probably have to write sequels and stuff. Look at what hating Peter Pan did Barrie. I'm also a NG on race or sexuality switching. So far, it's not possible for me to switch any of my characters race's anyhow. In 2 books the race is a factor in the plot, and the 3rd and 4th are set in Barbados, where 96% of people are Black. Apart from switching stuff, there are certain books I couldn't write. I can't write white female characters, although it seems I can write any other race/gender combo. I can't write non-Abrahamic religions- even the religion I made up in one book is based on Judeo-Christian history. Apparently my characters are always bilingual, unless there aren't any other languages in the world. So I guess I can't write characters who speak only English.

  9. I'm also not agented nor published, but learning everyday about the publishing biz I realize if and when I get to that point my novel(s) is not just mine anymore its an investment and as such I know I may get in situations that will require me to be flexible in regards to changes, however some things are not negotiable as you stated ethnicity,but I would hope when that awesome opportunity comes by I will have an editor that loves my vision enough for us to work together in order to polish the book as best as we can.

  10. Yeah – this was a toughie. There are definitely things I'm willing to do, and others I am not. But for me, the change has to sit right with me, with my characters. With the story itself.A lot of gray area for sure!

  11. I think your answer makes a lot of sense. You have to stay true to yourself and your vision. I wouldn't want to change my character's race or sexuality either. Hopefully we'll never be asked to do that!

  12. I'm with you on the passion part. Sometimes as I reader I think, "This author just wrote to a trend" because I don't feel like she loved the story. Readers can pick up when your heart's not in it and I think that happens when you put a trend before the story you want to tell. But, if the story you need to write happens to follow a trend, I think that's OK.

  13. I agree….there are lines that I'm not willing to cross. For example in most of my writing, I refuse to disclose the race of a character. And I've thought about genre hopping too. At then end of the day, I know what my heart tells me to write and I stick to that. Great post. πŸ™‚

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