I’ve been mentally assembling these ideas for a while, and it occurred to me that I should set them down so that my readers will understand me better. And, perhaps, some other authors might find them beneficial as well.
LITERARY OUTLAW MANIFESTO
- I will write the stories that I want to write, regardless of their global appeal. First and foremost, my job as a writer is to tell stories that interest me and my core group of readers. If legendary authors of the past stuck only to conventional, timely or safe stories, we never would have gotten books like Slaughterhouse Five or The Dark Tower.
- I will always strive to improve my craft.
- I will read widely from all genres and explore new ideas that challenge my status quo.
- I will not be beholden to a particular length. If a story wants to be an epic novel, then an epic novel it shall be. And if it’s only supposed to be a novelette, then so be it.
- I will not be beholden to a particular release schedule. Conventional Indie wisdom suggests that an author has to release a new book every 90 days. Conventional Trad Pub wisdom suggests that an author should only release one book per year. Since I’m going to write what I want to write, this means that sometimes I’ll spend a year or more working on an epic novel, and sometimes I’ll released a serialized story over the course of a few quarters. Either way, the story will dictate the release schedule.
- I reject the idea that traditional authors and indie authors need to be enemies. Many of my favorite authors continue to pursue the traditional path, and I do not resent them for this. There are many advantages to traditional publishing, and ultimately, a writer’s job is to tell stories.
- I will not limit my options as far as publication. If a story seems well-suited for a traditional market, it would be foolish to bar that door for the sake of the Indie Movement. My first loyalty is to myself and my core readers.
- I will do my part to encourage up-and-coming authors, just as authors higher up the ladder have encouraged me.
- I will always strive to release the most professional-looking books possible. This includes editing, attractive covers, and beautiful formatting. Indie books have enough of a struggle as it is, amateur work only makes the matter worse.
- I will remember Stephen King’s advice, that art is a support system for life, and it’s not the other way around. I will not chain myself to a desk and miss the important moments in the lives of people I love. A good writer takes the time to look up every once in a while and see the world with fresh eyes.