I Will Never Adjust My Art to Suit You

person from a photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/751032 by Jason Antony http://www.sxc.hu/profile/vancanjay child's drawing http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1422728 by the Horton Group http://www.hortongroup.com/Authors seem to think they need to please their fans, or Amazon, or a publisher. I know I’ll be the voice no one wants to hear, but I don’t change my art for anyone. And yeah, you’re gonna say that I’ll never be a best-seller; that if you don’t bend to the market, you’ll never get popular.

But I already have real-life experience which says otherwise.

I don’t change how I do business to accommodate prospects.

And my business keeps growing.

I’ve chosen areas in my business where I tell prospects up front that they have some leeway. But in most things, I do what I do, the way I do it, and anyone who wants something else really needs to go where they’re selling whatever that is.

If every single fan made an identical suggestion about my books, fiction or non, and it didn’t match my vision, I’d politely thank them and move on.

Yes, I plan to make money with my books. And my business experience has taught me that as long as I do it with grace and good manners, I can totally ignore the opinions of others, create my art (meaning both books and the way I conduct my business, which is an art) and thrive.

I suspect that every single one of you could do the same. It just takes the courage and belief to do so.

Look at the musicians you revere (or at least the ones I do.) Can you imagine U2 or Dylan or Leonard Cohen being told what to do, by anyone? They make their own road, and people think they’re genius.

And there’s one of the challenges most authors have. They believe they have to be a genius before they’re allowed to go their own road. And yet, it’s those who’ve ploughed ahead, ignoring what fans think they want, who’ve become the “genius” we think we can’t emulate.

4 thoughts on “I Will Never Adjust My Art to Suit You

  1. Great post. I have experienced similar situations. When I had my counseling practice, individuals on the outside, would suggest that I change my approach to counseling. They wanted me to be more gentle. By doing that, you become an enabler.

    As a professional musician, amateurs, would tell me how to play the drums. On one occasion, I asked this person, right in front of everyone, to show me how to play a particular jazz piece. Of course he could not. He was so embarrassed, that he stopped meddling.

    Quite a number friends have read some of my manuscripts, and have literally told me to change my way of writing.I don’t listen to them. I know why I write the way I do.
    I have owned a few successful businesses, and have done well, by listening to that small, still voice. I know what I want, how I want to deal with it, and which way to go about it. Period! Blessings.

  2. I think a lot of us secretly (or openly) wish someone COULD tell us how to do our art (or live our life). There’s a big, but subtle, difference between asking for and responding to feedback that allows us to make our writing/art more effective/true and being told what to do.

    1. Oh, certainly, Rosanne. I ask for advice all the time (as you well know!) There’s a world of difference between Dave Bricker answering a question about interior formatting for my next mystery, and a beta reader telling me I need more sex or less digression or whatever.

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