What’s the Big Deal?

Question for you all:

Is it more important to be respected for your work, though you may not live to see that respect, or to be published and lauded now, though perhaps not later?

I saw this quandary posted somewhere else (and done much better, by the way) and some of the answers surprised me.

To me, there’s no contest. I crave respect and would never want to give it up – even posthumously. My husband tends to chuckle at one of my Grandfather’s favorite authors. The man’s name escapes me right now, but his stories were well known and popular for awhile. They’re banal by today’s standards. I’d rather be remembered as a nice woman who rarely published, but liked to write, than as an awful writer.

This question will continue to come up due to the self-publishing craze, of course. Not everything that’s self-published is bad. Obviously, not everything that’s published by big houses is good. What’s your take?






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13 Responses to β€œWhat’s the Big Deal?”

  1. Rachna Chhabria says:

    Victoria..I would like both to be published and respected, hopefully in this lifetime.
    Yes…I have noticed several big publishing houses bringing out books that should not have been published. And several self-published books are outstanding.

  2. laurel says:

    Great question. I think of writers like Virginia Woolf who only published a handful of books, but they are powerful and dense and studied by scholars around the world decades later. Meanwhile her contemporaries churned out dozens of books time forgot.

    I want very much to be in the former camp,even if it means I never quit my day job. Perhaps it's the fact I'm the youngest born than respect is what I most crave.

  3. Sarah Skilton says:

    If people love my work while I'm alive, and hate it after I'm dead, I'm okay with that πŸ˜‰

  4. Victoria Dixon says:

    This sort of thing fascinates me, perhaps because it gets to the roots of why we as individuals write.

    Laurel, I'm a youngest, too, so maybe that is a factor.

    Thanks for weighing in, everyone!

  5. Christina Farley says:

    Hmm… good question. I suppose it doesn't really matter to me either way as long as somehow my words have made an impact on a kid. I think that's part of being a teacher too. Sometimes as teachers we don't see the effects of our labor until 10-15 years later. I just got an email from one of my students not long ago and I taught her 12 years ago.

    There is something about the fruit of your labor being timeless.

  6. Sandy Shin says:

    If my works could be enjoyed long after my death, I'd be ecstatic. However, judging the longevity of a book is difficult. It's nigh impossible to set out to write a book that will last. For me, it's enough if the people now enjoy my book.

    That said, however, I want to put forth my best, regardless. πŸ™‚

  7. Victoria Dixon says:

    "Putting forth my best work…" well said, Sandy.

    Just so you all know, my connection seems has weirded out. I get one comment out of every three in my inbox, then I come here and find six people!

    I guess the question then becomes, how do you know when it's your best work? And when do you stop returning and editing your best work. Again. Let's be honest, it's never perfect. It's never the glory we dreamed of when we put pen to paper.

  8. Sabrina says:

    That's a tough question for me. My absolute dream for an ideal life would be to make a career out of writing fantasy, to be popular now and hopefully long-lasting. But with a question that forces me to choose one or the other, I'd like to think I'd rather be respected for my work. Whether I get published now or not, I'll keep writing, because I can't not write.

    [Sometimes I wonder what people think about if they aren't writers or readers, who in high school, answered 'hobby' questions with "hanging out." Everyone has stories, don't they all think about them during those quiet moments?] Sorry, this is unrelated to the question, but I do think about it from time to time.

  9. Karen Lange says:

    I agree with you. Not everything self published is bad, and not everything traditionally published is good. πŸ™‚

  10. Jeannie Lin says:

    What is respect anyway? I really can only judge that by do I value and respect the product I put out. I have no control over whether my audience will respect what I've done or look on it as trash.

    The answer for me is that I want to see that work. I want to experience putting it out to the public. People may ridicule the work one day when I'm gone, but why would that matter? For now, I want to share it. Whether or not it's worthy of respect is really out of my hands. πŸ™‚

  11. Victoria Dixon says:

    Good, mature response, Jeannie. I'm afraid you're much more confident than I. ;D Hopefully someday I'll get past this need and see my work for the value it provides me. Hmmm. Maybe I need to deal with this… in a story. LOL What a thought. ;D

    Sabrina, what do I think about in those rare moments of stillness? What's the next subplot meant to convey? Do I need to pump up that character's fear? Why did I buy that Coke Zero? Now I have to go to the bathroom!

  12. Natalie Aguirre says:

    I think respected is more important. Even if you never get published, you can still be respected in the writing community through your blog and help to others.

  13. catwoods says:

    Oh, tough question and great answers. I could pick little snippets from each and cobble together my response.

    Respect is paramount. Impacting the life of a child vital. It is the reason I write. Even if the most a child gets out of my writing is the desire to read just one more word, I will have succeeded.

    I think of my manuscripts and the underlying messages they each have. Will they make a difference in the life of a child? I can only hope so. They teach things like independence, self-confidence, faith, hope, friendship, family and love.

    Will adults think my writing is whimsical, humorous and unnecessary? Maybe. All but one is written with an eye to entertainment–after all, I'm competing with Game Boys and X-boxes. But I think that's how the kids I am writing for connect. It is what they need.

    To have a child read, to aid in the gift of literacy, that is my dream. If I can do this, I will respect myself and then it won't matter what anyone five, fifteen or fifty years from now thinks.

    But respect now and forever would be nice : )

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