Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Who Do You Want Me To Be?

Demented Michelle quotes Selah March who writes about an agent she met at a conference who "strongly suggested":

...that an author not put anything in her blog that she wouldn't put in a
cover letter to an editor, or a brochure advertising her work. No controversy.
No overtly political opinions. Nothing that might turn folks off, whether those
folks be potential editors, agents or readers.

Now this just touches a nerve with me. Touches, hell! It scrapes a cheese grater across my sunburned back.

In my mind, it's not my job as a writer to be pleasing, gentle, tapioca pudding. It's my job to be honest about the world and what I see and think and feel. It's my job to tell the truths I see around me and inside me. Fuzzy, warm, pink-and-white bunny rabbits shot in soft focus may be all well and good for some people, but don't look for them here. You'll be more likely to find hassenpfeffer and good-luck charms.

I am who I am. Some people like me, a lot of people don't. I'm cool with that. The thing is, I have standards (which I have spoken of before on this blog and will again, so there!), one of which is that I'm not going to lie about who or what I am, not even by omission. Any agent or editor seeking to avoid tame my opinions and avoid controversy won't be my agent or editor. It's that simple. As I've also said before, that's going to hurt my chances in some circles and make my career harder than some. I'm cool with that, too.

What's more important to me is that I know that I am true to who I am, that I'm real, that everyone knows what to expect from me, which is that I'm straightforward and opinionated and that I'm learning to be honest with myself and with the rest of the world. If I never break into the Big Time, if I never get that legendary 6-figure advance, that's OK. Fame and money are secondary issues in my life and in my work. Truth is Number One.

By the way, DM's story "Catalytic Poltergeist" is up at Good story. After you read it, drop her a line and let her know how much you enjoyed it.

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At 9:38 AM, Blogger Demented M said...

Thanks for the plug Carter!

Like you I doubt I will censor myself much, but I begin to see the value in a more professional author website so I can have the best of both worlds.


At 10:26 AM, Blogger Carter said...

They're different tools for different purposes. I think blogs should be more personal, and Web sites should be the place to do the marketing and such. Web logs are journals, a peek inside the person behind the work. Apparently, a lot of people disagree with me. There you have it, I guess.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Melly said...

Hey, Mr. Tapioca Pudding...
I'm still laughing at that one.

Of course you should be true to yourself, but can a person be true to herself and be diplomatic about it at the same time???
I'm always trying to walk that fine line of expressing my views without alienating anyone, if that's even possible. Is it???

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Carter said...

Actually, I'm more of a Habanero Salsa.

Of course, you shouldn't go out of your way to hurt people's feelings ot step on their toes (unless they deserve it of course!). Evetually, though, there will come a time when you realize that you just cannot please everybody. It's just not possible. That's when you have to choose between shutting up and playing dumb or saying what you think and let the chips fall where they may. It gets easier as you get older, I've found.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Joel said...

How about writing whatever you want in your blog and selling it as a book? ;)

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Carter said...

A lot of people have done that. I have heard of several bloggers who have been offered contracts by real publishers. Possibilities abound.


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