Friday, April 12, 2013

Cliche or Clever?

I had feedback on one of my stories. This story was actually received well in 2010 when I wrote it by another writer who was offering to review and critique stories in his blog. I submitted it to another set of writers for an anthology (this week) that's they want to published and got back the comment that it is one big cliche.

I wasn't expecting them to like the story (they don't seem to like much of anything) but I didn't think it was cliche. Then I got to thinking: one man's trash is another man's treasure. I've had sixty downloads on this story. That's not a lot but clearly some people like it.

So it wasn't for that last group of writers. Okay. I move on. Other people will like it. And as another friend of mine points out, so long as a writer is selling his or her work, he or she is successful. So as long as the downloads continue, I don't much care if one group of people like or not.

Of course, all this begs the question I asked years ago: who decides what is published and not published? Who decides what is acceptable? Ultimately, the readers do by what they read. Self-publishing fits into that very well since it gives me direct access to the reading public.

But there are still places where others want to decide. To some degree I understand that. With a lot of people self-publishing quality of the writing and the content is suffering. And writers, good professional writers would be foolish not to object to this.

But there's a thin line here.

In my case, I am told they did not even read the whole story. That's common practice in publishing circles, but that's not my practice. When I review something I read the whole thing and evaluate the whole work. Otherwise, I only have a partial picture. My reviewers could have extended me the same courtesy. But they didn't and I have to disagree with their comments because they only read some number of paragraphs and came away with the impression that the story is a cliche. This tells me that the story's hook needs revision. Fine. I can accept that. But beyond that point, I'm not prepared to make changes.

And now Amazon is questioning whether I hold the copyright to this same story. Talk about a gatekeeper. But if they pull the story from the Kindle store then I'll just offer it in print form or from my own website.

Keep writing everyone.

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