Before I started writing, I didn’t know a lot about the things I’m addressing. These were misconceptions I had about the author/publishing world. They were things that used to bug me, and I know some of them other people, too.
I actually wrote this post back in January (of 2011) and just…well, forgot to post it until now. It’s kind of long, so be warned.
- [insert Author here] wrote [insert Thing here], they must be talking about themselves!
- Fact: Becca Fitzpatrick writes about Nephilim; Stephenie Meyer writes about vampires; Stephen King writes…scary stuff; JK Rowling writes about witches and wizards; James Patterson writes about bird kids.
Now ask yourself this: How many Nephilim do you think Becca Fitzpatrick has met? How many vampires has Stephenie Meyer dated? How many people has Stephen King tortured and killed? How many bird kids do you think James Patterson has created in a secret lab? I’m guessing not that many, but, you know, I could always be proven wrong. (If I am–don’t tell me!)
- Fact: Vampires and werewolves and love triangles were all around before Vampire Diaries and Twilight. Witches and wizards were there long before JK Rowling showed up on the scene. People were murdered and tortured in books even before Stephen King wrote about it.
There are very few (if any) completely original ideas. It’s all been done before. It’s up to the author to make THEIR portrayal original.
- Fact: Most authors do NOT control what goes on a cover. The author has very little–if any–say at ALL in the cover process. They can be asked for their opinion, but 9/10, the publisher is picking the cover and the author just has to deal with it.
- Fact: Publishers set the price. Authors have no say in how much a book is going to cost.
- Fact: Again, this is something that is up to the publisher. Authors can’t demand their books be published within such-and-such time or on such-and-such date. The publisher could have the book six months to a year before it ever sees the light of day–and there are (probably) some good reasons for this. But it’s still not in the author’s control.
- Fact: Authors don’t mind bad reviews (they’d rather not get any, but they expect and know it will happen). What they do mind are inaccurate reviews.
1) Reviews that attack the author. If the book is awful, then you can say that. But the reviews shouldn’t be a tirade of “The author sucks. They’re idiots and they should jump off the nearest cliff.” Insult the book–NOT the author. Remember, the book is up for review, but the author should never be.
2) Comparisons that are way off. Say, comparing any story with a love triangle as a Twilight wannabe (even if there are no vampires), or any thriller/horror to Stephen King, etc.
There are exceptions to every rule. Even if most authors have no control over certain aspects, I’m sure there are some who have more say–but again, these are the exceptions.
Also, self-publishing/indie publishing is an entirely different matter. In that case, authors do have more control.
These are just a few of the misconceptions I’ve seen or have had myself. I’m sure there are others, and if I can think of them, or if they’re brought to my attention, then I might do another post on it.
Question time! If you’re a reader/author, are there any misconceptions I missed?