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Saskatoonistan
05-01-2009, 04:03 AM
I alluded to my strong desire to sell out for all the money on this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140252). So, I put it out to the universe, would you sell out? (Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn for quick cash or writing angsty YA fiction with werethings and the usual emo vampire dudes that young ladies seem to be attracted to these days.)

If you were to sell out, would you become more eccentric than you already are?

Cassiopeia
05-01-2009, 04:08 AM
Selling out to me means compromising and giving up on my ethics and values. I'd never do it. EVER.

Prawn
05-01-2009, 04:14 AM
Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn

I am insulted. I write excellent housewife porn!

Cyia
05-01-2009, 04:16 AM
I write vampires, and there's no selling out involved.

mscelina
05-01-2009, 04:19 AM
Wow. How easily people hop on their high horses today!

Writing any genre is NOT selling out. To say that it is is insulting and downright silly.

HelloKiddo
05-01-2009, 04:22 AM
Would you sell out?

Yes


If you were to sell out, would you become more eccentric than you already are?

I don't understand this question. Wouldn't selling out make us less eccentric? My logic is that if we just produced in mass quantities what the public wanted we wouldn't be caving into into our inner weirdness. Our art would be "normalized" and, in my view, the artistic aspect of our personalities would then be pretty much lost.

Unless you mean, would we cave even further into that weirdness in our private lives to compensate for what we're losing through our lost art?

To that my answer is...I don't know :Shrug:

Cassiopeia
05-01-2009, 04:22 AM
I don't think I said that writing in any genre is selling out. I believe I was saying I would NOT sell out my ethics and values. Though I can see the confusion given the OP's post.

The Lonely One
05-01-2009, 04:24 AM
No selling out.

Yes more eccentric.

Yes clowns on unicycles.

Saskatoonistan
05-01-2009, 04:32 AM
Yes

Unless you mean, would we cave even further into that weirdness in our private lives to compensate for what we're losing through our lost art?

To that my answer is...I don't know :Shrug:

I am talking, so rich you go Michael Jacksony and stuff like that.

Williebee
05-01-2009, 04:42 AM
rich =/= "Michael Jacksony"

Clowns on unicycles? Count me in. :)

Selling out... It's an interesting idea. Problem is, it assumes someone is buying.

Ken
05-01-2009, 04:44 AM
... I cut compromises. In my present project I am toning down the experimental and eccentric nature of the work, because I know that if I didn't the work would be a difficult sell. So I guess in a way I am selling out. I want to be published, though, so I really don't seem to have much choice in the matter. And again, the compromises I'm making aren't all that extensive. Kudos to those who don't need to make any at all!

telindor
05-01-2009, 04:45 AM
Writing housewife porn could not make me rich enough to go Michael Jacksony. I can't write that stuff. It's not a matter of selling out, it's just not what I'm good at. As for the people who can get rich writing it, well, if they're rich it's only because they're because they're good at it. It's not selling out when it's what you want to do. If they weren't doing it with passion, if it wasn't what they were called to do, they wouldn't be making any money either.

Parametric
05-01-2009, 04:49 AM
If what I was writing made me stupendously rich, I'd take it as a sign that I was not selling out. Then I'd take a swan dive into a swimming pool full of cash.

KTC
05-01-2009, 04:52 AM
I wouldn't sell out. I don't give a flying Pop Tart about money...so there is no motivation for me to sell out. I'm not waiting for the world to love me...so there's no motivation to sell out. Who cares. I mean, really. You live, you die. Do what you want to do when you want to do it. Don't compromise anything just to sell out for glory/money or anything else.

crazynance
05-01-2009, 05:03 AM
*ponders flying pop tarts* O_o
me too either, KTC.
I have heard of authors who really want to write in one genre, but are able to support themselves by writing, for instance, Hardy Boys books..
was he selling out? maybe. Did he get to keep writing and eating? Yes. S'all good.
I am still on my first edit of my first novel, ask me in ten years.

The Lonely One
05-01-2009, 05:05 AM
If what I was writing made me stupendously rich, I'd take it as a sign that I was not selling out. Then I'd take a swan dive into a swimming pool full of cash.

And change your name to Scrooge McDuck.

Williebee
05-01-2009, 05:10 AM
flying pop tarts WHAT!!

Great. They made pop tarts fly, and my little car is STILL just sitting there on the road.

grumblmumblegrump...

Matera the Mad
05-01-2009, 05:16 AM
Silly question. I can't. I'm too much like my MC.

Shweta
05-01-2009, 05:23 AM
It seems to me there are better ways to make a lot of money than writing stuff you don't want to, especially if you're someone who cannot sell the stuff you do love yet.

But hey, if someone wanted to offer me so much money for a year's work that I would be able to do my own thing for the rest of my life? Hell yeah, I'd do it, once current projects were completed (and while they were being shopped around). But I'd do it as well as I possibly could, and probably get pretty enthusiastic about it, and I wouldn't see it as selling out :Shrug:

dgiharris
05-01-2009, 05:23 AM
Wow. How easily people hop on their high horses today!

Writing any genre is NOT selling out. To say that it is is insulting and downright silly.

I have to agree. If a publisher wants a certain kind of story, and they want me to write said story, then I will write it if the price is right.

Why is that selling out?

I think sometimes as writers we over romanticize our works, as if our stories are dictated by a burning bush.

We really have to get over ourselves. In the end, we are all whores, working for our Johns :)

That is pretty much the entire basis of our economy. Sure, there are nicer words to use, but in the end, we do it for money. And if we're lucky, we do it for a shitload of money.

Of course, there are fringe benefits like reader enjoyment and gratification that we've written something others enjoy. But, I remember my first 'check' from a publisher.

That feeling was better than sex. From that moment on, I put on six inch clear plastic heels, fish nets stockings, and write for whomever wants some of my goodies :)

Mel...

ishtar'sgate
05-01-2009, 05:50 AM
So, I put it out to the universe, would you sell out? (Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn for quick cash or writing angsty YA fiction with werethings and the usual emo vampire dudes that young ladies seem to be attracted to these days.)

If you were to sell out, would you become more eccentric than you already are?
I don't think selling out means writing in a particular genre. I assume you mean writing specifically for a genre that sells well instead of in the genre you're passionate about. Me, I couldn't do it. I think if I wrote to chase the money my writing would suffer. I write what consumes my imagination.
As for eccentricity, I'm pretty common stuff - nothing unconventional about me.

icerose
05-01-2009, 06:00 AM
I write all the time outside my normal genres and not over projects I particularly love.

Hello, it's called a career not selling out.

KikiteNeko
05-01-2009, 06:08 AM
Would I sell out for my writing? No.

Would I cover myself in body glitter and pretend to like Twilight for a million dollars? Yes.

Pagey's_Girl
05-01-2009, 06:23 AM
According to some of my friends, I sold out the day I started my first job with a big company. :) Seriously though, for me, it would involve compromising my morals/ethics just to make a quick buck. Writing outside my genre just isn't the same thing. (That's assuming it's a genre I can write something in that doesn't totally suck, that is. For instance, you wouldn't want me to write a spy thriller for you. You really wouldn't - unless you wanted an unintentional comedy of errors.)

Devil Ledbetter
05-01-2009, 06:27 AM
I wouldn't sell out. I don't give a flying Pop Tart about money...so there is no motivation for me to sell out. I'm not waiting for the world to love me...so there's no motivation to sell out. Who cares. I mean, really. You live, you die. Do what you want to do when you want to do it. Don't compromise anything just to sell out for glory/money or anything else.Kevin said exactly what I was thinking.

Cyia
05-01-2009, 07:44 AM
Would I sell out for my writing? No.

Would I cover myself in body glitter and pretend to like Twilight for a million dollars? Yes.


Sounds like the unicorn flu to me.

mlhernandez
05-01-2009, 07:51 AM
would you sell out? (Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn for quick cash

I suppose I'm, like, the world's biggest sellout then. Doubly so since I'm an admittedly mediocre housewife pumping out the mediocre housewife porn. :Shrug:

pepperlandgirl
05-01-2009, 08:31 AM
I'm a housewife pumping out housewife porn, too! Except, I prefer to call myself a professional, multi-published author.

TabithaTodd
05-01-2009, 08:34 AM
I was born eccentric and weird and I've never sold out. I write vampire\werewolf stories, horror, paranormal, erotica and much more. That's not selling out that's writing what I like to write about. I find it presumptuous to say that it would be a sell out just because a person doesn't write that particular genre.

Topaz044
05-01-2009, 09:08 AM
Hm, very interesting question. To be honest, I have written erotica in the past. Did I sell out? If I did, it was very gradual and almost unnoticeable. A big part of it was that some of my family members were creatively drawing erotica artwork when I was younger, so it wasn't exactly a huge culture shock for me to be doing it myself. However, in another sense, I write things that are not erotica at the same time. I'd say it's half and half for me at the moment.

nighttimer
05-01-2009, 09:19 AM
Me? Sell out? NEVER!

However, I am available for rent. I got bills to pay. I'm all for artistic integrity right up to the point where I've missed too many meals and then I'm biggest slut on the planet.

:D

dgiharris
05-01-2009, 09:27 AM
Me? Sell out? NEVER!

However, I am available for rent. I got bills to pay. I'm all for artistic integrity right up to the point where I've missed too many meals and then I'm biggest slut on the planet.

Yes, nothing like a little starvation to put things into perspective. People forget, you can't eat principles, principles does not keep you warm nor shelter you from rain and snow.

Mel...

SPMiller
05-01-2009, 09:36 AM
I'd sell out in a heartbeat, but I want a legally-binding contract for a load of money up front. Until then, I have no guarantee that selling out would do me any financial good. I'll stick with writing what I enjoy, thanks.

Cassiopeia
05-01-2009, 10:10 AM
You know what bothers me the most about how the OP was posed? It's a bit like saying to a guy...."so how often do you beat your wife?" It presupposes that to write in the areas mention or to refuse to is based on judging what others do rather than paying attention to the fact that the OP feels it's selling out.

If I have to compromise what I value most, my ethics and my convictions, then I'd rather starve to be honest. I have been there before in my life. I've had to choose, I chose to stay steadfast on my principles and you know what, it came right. Something came along, (thanks to my perseverance and hard work) and I wasn't starving anymore.

If you don't keep your principles and your convictions, what's left?

Now, I don't like the insinuation that the OP makes that to write in those genres is selling out. That's their issue. I will let them own it. But for me, I will not throw aside the values and ethical beliefs I spent the last 50 years forming.

benbradley
05-01-2009, 10:23 AM
Out of my dozens of "how to write fiction" books I've got one that I might as well re-read for the third or forth time, because it might as well be titled "How To Sell Out." I've got one of the author's earliest novels from circa 1968, it's a "genre" MMPB I found at a thrift store in the last year (I've found a lot of gems in thrift stores - the challenge is in knowing books and authors and recognizing a gem when you see it). Copies of this book are online with prices starting around $20.

In the "How To Sell Out" book the author tells how he bought the rights back from the publishers of his older "genre" novels so they wouldn't be printed anymore, so he could essentially reclaim his name and not be known as an author in "that genre" anymore (it's one that once you're known as an author in, it may be hard to get your books put in any other area of the bookstore, but maybe that's true of a lot of genres. So the author's older "genre" books are relatively rare and (perhaps just because the author is still writing and selling novels, and enough people want to read his earlier works) in demand.

So for the last few decades the author hasn't been stuck in the "genre" section of the bookstore, his books have been out in front on the the "new fiction releases" display. Long story short, this author "sold out" big time.

I wanna be sedated sell out.

SPMiller
05-01-2009, 10:32 AM
^ Lawrence Block immediately comes to mind. He has a lot of old shames from the 60s...

bettielee
05-01-2009, 10:39 AM
If I were to get any more eccentric, I'd have to buy a dog and a matching purse to put it in.

No - I would not sell out. I write genre fiction that I want to read. Also - if vampires is what you write, it's what you write. Just cuz you write something that is in vogue doesn't mean you have sold out.

dgiharris
05-01-2009, 12:47 PM
You know what bothers me the most about how the OP was posed? It's a bit like saying to a guy...."so how often do you beat your wife?" It presupposes that to write in the areas mention or to refuse to is based on judging what others do rather than paying attention to the fact that the OP feels it's selling out.

If I have to compromise what I value most, my ethics and my convictions, then I'd rather starve to be honest...

I guess we have to define what 'selling out' is.

Writing outside your genre. No.

Writing in a way counter to your ethics and beliefs. Yes.

If someone wanted me to write a nonfiction book on the best way to commit genocide, then yeah, that is selling out.

But if someone wants me to turn my sci-fi story into an 18th century romance, why not. Big deal. I don't see how that is some moral conundrum requiring serious soul searching and angst filled nights questioning the nature of good and evil.

At the end of the day, I want to write a story my audience enjoys and that my publisher pays me for.

****Epiphany****

I think a critical component to this sell out question is 'Ego'.

Ego ties into Golden Word Syndrome and that gets convulted into an association with the writer to the point where criticism of the story is synonymous with criticism of the writer and hence changing the story is akin to changing yourself which is 'selling out' as seen from the perspective of Ego... hmm.... maybe....

Anyways, my two cents

In the end. I have a hard time thinking of many real world scenarios that would be 'selling out' by my definition. I hate to say it, but for most of us, especially us FICTION writers, they are just stories.

Mel...

Cassiopeia
05-01-2009, 01:16 PM
I guess we have to define what 'selling out' is.

Writing outside your genre. No.

Writing in a way counter to your ethics and beliefs. Yes.

If someone wanted me to write a nonfiction book on the best way to commit genocide, then yeah, that is selling out.

But if someone wants me to turn my sci-fi story into an 18th century romance, why not. Big deal. I don't see how that is some moral conundrum requiring serious soul searching and angst filled nights questioning the nature of good and evil.

At the end of the day, I want to write a story my audience enjoys and that my publisher pays me for.

****Epiphany****

I think a critical component to this sell out question is 'Ego'.

Ego ties into Golden Word Syndrome and that gets convulted into an association with the writer to the point where criticism of the story is synonymous with criticism of the writer and hence changing the story is akin to changing yourself which is 'selling out' as seen from the perspective of Ego... hmm.... maybe....

Anyways, my two cents

In the end. I have a hard time thinking of many real world scenarios that would be 'selling out' by my definition. I hate to say it, but for most of us, especially us FICTION writers, they are just stories.

Mel...The bolding is mine---I like your example. If someone were to really like my nonfiction book but want it written in more of a story form than memoir, I'd change it in a heartbeat...that is if I could figure out how to. But if someone asked me to write the benefits my daughter felt she has in using Crystal Meth as a diet aid, I'd be selling out.

KTC
05-01-2009, 01:28 PM
I just took the OP's post to mean that you'd be selling out if you wrote something that you would otherwise disdain. I don't think it matters what genre or anything else. If you write something that you would ordinarily look down your nose at, just because you know it's gonna be a cash cow, that's pretty much selling out. Ooh...I'm a poet who only writes sestinas on the life of gerbils...but this disgusting teenage vampire near-porn loser crap is making scads of money right now...I'm writing one of those puppies. I hate it...but I like depositing big fat greasy cheques into my bank account. Some people love that genre and probably write exclusively in it. For them, it isn't selling out...for them it's following their dream. But for someone who is disgusted in that kind of crap...if they wrote in it, they'd be selling out.

Saskatoonistan
05-01-2009, 01:37 PM
I just took the OP's post to mean that you'd be selling out if you wrote something that you would otherwise disdain. I don't think it matters what genre or anything else. If you write something that you would ordinarily look down your nose at, just because you know it's gonna be a cash cow, that's pretty much selling out. Ooh...I'm a poet who only writes sestinas on the life of gerbils...but this disgusting teenage vampire near-porn loser crap is making scads of money right now...I'm writing one of those puppies. I hate it...but I like depositing big fat greasy cheques into my bank account. Some people love that genre and probably write exclusively in it. For them, it isn't selling out...for them it's following their dream. But for someone who is disgusted in that kind of crap...if they wrote in it, they'd be selling out.


Yes, that's where I was going with this. Make no mistake, there is strongly written housewife porn and emo vampire dude books, I am talking about pumping out crap for bags of money. I wasn't trying to besmirch the good name of the well-written housewife porn world. Nothing wrong with well written housewife porn at all.

Wayne K
05-01-2009, 01:59 PM
Is this thread really about Steph?

I'd sell out the way you describe. I would write obituaries if it paid the bills, we don't get to pick and choose what we get paid for most of the time. I'd sell my kidneys if we needed the money bad enough.

I wouldn't hurt someone for money, never again anyway.

Nakhlasmoke
05-01-2009, 02:05 PM
So if we write erotica or ya urban fantasy we've sold out?

Nice to know, OP.

Sadly, I still haven't made my millions so presumably I fail at being a sell-out too.

I rather agree with some of the other posters in that for me the definition of sell-out is doing or promoting something I fine morally reprehensible in order to make big bucks. And yeah, in that case, I wouldn't sell out.

Saskatoonistan
05-01-2009, 02:54 PM
So if we write erotica or ya urban fantasy we've sold out?

Nice to know, OP.


Not sure I said that if you write YA fantasy or erotica, you've sold out. Actually, I didn't say that. I am writing an erotic romance (badly) - I have three shelves of the stuff in my basement.

KikiteNeko
05-01-2009, 04:09 PM
Sounds like the unicorn flu to me.

No, I'm good, I had the fangirl vaccination.

KikiteNeko
05-01-2009, 04:12 PM
Guys, I don't think the OP is saying any specific genre is a sellout genre. But rather, being a sellout is doing something one does not want to do/is not good at, for money and/or fame.

Bubastes
05-01-2009, 04:18 PM
If you're not good at it, I doubt the money's going to come. There are many easier ways to make money.

As far as doing something you don't want to do for the money, that's called a "day job." ;) I've actually been called a sell-out because I choose to keep my day job rather than pursuing my writing dream full-time. He was pretty angry about it, too, calling me a bad example for children and all that. Yeah, I think he had anger issues.

scarletpeaches
05-01-2009, 04:18 PM
Wow. How easily people hop on their high horses today!

Writing any genre is NOT selling out. To say that it is is insulting and downright silly.

That wasn't what the OP was saying.

It seems clear to me the OP meant (bolding mine):


I alluded to my strong desire to sell out for all the money on this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140252). So, I put it out to the universe, would you sell out? (Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn for quick cash or writing angsty YA fiction with werethings and the usual emo vampire dudes that young ladies seem to be attracted to these days.)

If you were to sell out, would you become more eccentric than you already are?

It can mean pumping out mediocre writing of any genre. Not just housewife porn. Anything. The key is, are you doing it for cash? Is it a genre you're not into personally? Do you give a shit about the quality of your writing? Yes, yes, no? Then you're selling out.

Wayne K
05-01-2009, 04:41 PM
I don't see how writing something people want to read is selling out. There are consumers out there who want to read trash, so if you can make money from that market, do it.

If someone works at McDonalds it's not selling out and I'm sure one or two people who work there don't look forward to the deep fryer every morning. It's work, same as writing.

I've sold out a few times in my life. Beieve me there are worse ways to make money than writing somethng you don't really really believe in.

Bubastes
05-01-2009, 04:48 PM
Beieve me there are worse ways to make money than writing somethng you don't really really believe in.

Exactly.

I will say, though, that even if I had to write something in a genre I don't care for, I would make sure it was the damn best story I could write under the circumstances. If someone's paying me, they deserve at least that much. Plus, I have too much pride not to do my best work. But since personal best is, well, personal, how can anyone tell whether or not I'm selling out without getting inside my head?

That's why I can't fathom calling anyone a sell-out. Work that I consider mediocre may be their personal best. :e2shrug: Oh well, it's not really my business, anyway.

mscelina
05-01-2009, 04:52 PM
That wasn't what the OP was saying.

I disagree.

It seems clear to me the OP meant (bolding mine):




(Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn for quick cash or writing angsty YA fiction with werethings and the usual emo vampire dudes that young ladies seem to be attracted to these days.)


This is all I see from the OP.

My point is that no writer should be in the position of assuming that genre writers have in some way sold out. If the OP meant *write something mediocre* or *write against your morals* then that should have been clearly stated. What I see in the OP is the usual assumption that erotica writers or genre writers have somehow compromised themselves by not buying into the literary masterpiece bullshit that so many people think is 'real' writing. I don't write to be a snob. I write to pay the damn bills. Sometimes I write to contract. And, as a middle-aged housewife who just had a vampire erotica released this morning (although I usually write things that might be considered more 'worthy') I find that I get sick of the constant assumption that what I and other authors like me do.

Look, there are a lot of writers out there who look down on romance...on fantasy...or just about any genre if you want to get particular. I have no problems admitting that I'm a hack. I start having problems when someone suggests or implies that what we hacks do is somehow beneath us. *shrug*

susangpyp
05-01-2009, 05:15 PM
To me selling out is being a fameball or putting your name on things that you really don't have a lot to do with or lending your "expertise" in areas where you have none. In the self-help arena, that seems to be the case with a lot of people and it makes me cringe.

My pop psychology work is based on very academic work of mine. Do I think I sold out to put it in everyday person language? No. I think that very few people would read my theses on the subjects I've made accessible through the book. Though some academics would consider THAT selling out.

In the self-help area it's hard to get agented and published but once you are it seems easy to follow up with recycled swill. That is something I am going to avoid at all costs. If I can't write quality, I won't write quantity.

I think of selling out as something that would/could happen within my genre but I suppose fiction writers view it differently.

Maybe the question should be "What is 'selling out' to you and would you do it?"

DeleyanLee
05-01-2009, 05:17 PM
I alluded to my strong desire to sell out for all the money on this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140252). So, I put it out to the universe, would you sell out? (Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn for quick cash or writing angsty YA fiction with werethings and the usual emo vampire dudes that young ladies seem to be attracted to these days.)

If you were to sell out, would you become more eccentric than you already are?

I had my first chance to sell out about 15 years ago. Could've made my first big sale to a well established editor and a house with a good reputation. The only thing I had to do was take the one thing happening in the story that I totally didn't care about and focus the entire thing on that character and set of events.

I didn't do it. I had absolutely no passion or interest in writing what he'd pay for and every moment of doing so would've been torture.

About 5 years ago, I had another opportunity to sell out. Just shift the focus of the story over to this side of things, with the hero this way and the tweak the events slightly to match. Thought it wouldn't be a big deal and tried to do the work. Suffice it to say, it was torture. The story that I'd been proud of suddenly turned into something that I wanted to burn. I never finished it and sent a note back to the editor with my regrets.

I couldn't do it, even though it had seemed so easy at the onset.

All that tells me is that I'm a storyteller first and foremost. I'm good with that. It makes me happy and that's all that really matters to me.

Kathleen42
05-01-2009, 05:37 PM
I write vampires, and there's no selling out involved.

Likewise with the werethings.

icerose
05-01-2009, 05:56 PM
To you that's selling out. Unfortunately for people like me, I'm also a script writer, that's the order of the day. Producer doesn't like X and Y. We need you to do something about it, we're thinking about shifting it to Z and B. "Yes sir, when do you need it by?"

Writing isn't all flowers and happiness. Rewriting SUCKS. I hate doing it. But if it means getting my paycheck and moving forward in my career, it's "Yes sir."

Of course I don't subscribe to the notion of selling out in the arena of writing short of compromising my entire moral and value system. Everything else is "Do you want this paycheck or not, do you want this to be your career or not?" Then put your damn ego aside and do it.


I had my first chance to sell out about 15 years ago. Could've made my first big sale to a well established editor and a house with a good reputation. The only thing I had to do was take the one thing happening in the story that I totally didn't care about and focus the entire thing on that character and set of events.

I didn't do it. I had absolutely no passion or interest in writing what he'd pay for and every moment of doing so would've been torture.

About 5 years ago, I had another opportunity to sell out. Just shift the focus of the story over to this side of things, with the hero this way and the tweak the events slightly to match. Thought it wouldn't be a big deal and tried to do the work. Suffice it to say, it was torture. The story that I'd been proud of suddenly turned into something that I wanted to burn. I never finished it and sent a note back to the editor with my regrets.

I couldn't do it, even though it had seemed so easy at the onset.

All that tells me is that I'm a storyteller first and foremost. I'm good with that. It makes me happy and that's all that really matters to me.

Saskatoonistan
05-01-2009, 06:38 PM
What I see in the OP is the usual assumption that erotica writers or genre writers have somehow compromised themselves by not buying into the literary masterpiece bullshit that so many people think is 'real' writing. I don't write to be a snob. I write to pay the damn bills. Sometimes I write to contract. And, as a middle-aged housewife who just had a vampire erotica released this morning (although I usually write things that might be considered more 'worthy') I find that I get sick of the constant assumption that what I and other authors like me do.

Look, there are a lot of writers out there who look down on romance...on fantasy...or just about any genre if you want to get particular. I have no problems admitting that I'm a hack. I start having problems when someone suggests or implies that what we hacks do is somehow beneath us. *shrug*

Touchy touchy, holy smokes! I am not implying that writers of genre fiction have sold out at all. I am asking if the money was there, WOULD you sell out... particularly if you have been surviving on Ichiban noodles of a decade or so.

I write erotica and romance too. Moreover, I write freaking superhero fiction, I mean there isn't going to be a life-changing message for the ages in anything that I pump out of my word processor. I pointed to mediocre housewife porn, as opposed to, really freaking entertaining erotica and romance. There is such a thing as God awfully written housewife porn that makes bajillionydoodles of money.

icerose
05-01-2009, 06:45 PM
Touchy touchy, holy smokes! I am not implying that writers of genre fiction have sold out at all. I am asking if the money was there, WOULD you sell out... particularly if you have been surviving on Ichiban noodles of a decade or so.

I write erotica and romance too. Moreover, I write freaking superhero fiction, I mean there isn't going to be a life-changing message for the ages in anything that I pump out of my word processor. I pointed to mediocre housewife porn, as opposed to, really freaking entertaining erotica and romance. There is such a thing as God awfully written housewife porn that makes bajillionydoodles of money.

The problem is the unwritten assumption that the writers who wrote that sold out.

That's the problem. The question is a stick of dinamite that's already been lit.

The question automatic denigrates those who normally write in whatever "sell out" genre that someone else considers selling out.

Or that reworking your story to suit someone elses needs is selling out. There are those of us who already do it every single day because it's required for us in order to have a career.

I get that some people this is a hobby more than anything and publishing is just a bonus so they can afford to say "Well I don't really wanna, so you can keep your contract."

Some of us are career writers or trying to be and it's really insulting for other writers to say, "Well I have my principles so I didn't change my story because that would have been selling out. I could have made big bucks, but I stuck to my guns."

We change our stories because A. we want to have a career and B. our stories are just that, stories. It's not like we're sending our kids through plastic surgery.

ChaosTitan
05-01-2009, 06:54 PM
I wasn't trying to besmirch the good name of the well-written housewife porn world. Nothing wrong with well written housewife porn at all.

I've never seen a housewife porn section at the bookstore... :Shrug:



Look, there are a lot of writers out there who look down on romance...on fantasy...or just about any genre if you want to get particular. I have no problems admitting that I'm a hack. I start having problems when someone suggests or implies that what we hacks do is somehow beneath us. *shrug*

Ditto. And perhaps Saskatoonistan didn't intend to imply this in the OP, but it has come up in the past. And it continues to be dividing line between writers. We've seen it in many, many threads.


Touchy touchy, holy smokes! I am not implying that writers of genre fiction have sold out at all. I am asking if the money was there, WOULD you sell out... particularly if you have been surviving on Ichiban noodles of a decade or so.

The issue, then, is with your examples of "selling out," because they are the same examples people give in the arguments I mentioned above. And as a fellow writer of those genres, you can probably understand why the phrasing in the OP got our hackles up. :)


To answer the intended question, never say never. Will I compromise my personal morals? No. Will I write something I wouldn't normally write in order to make a sale? Depends on how my bank account looks at the time. ;)

brokenfingers
05-01-2009, 06:55 PM
Maybe for some people, writing is some high form of art or a spiritual experience. And if so, fine. But guess what – for a lot of other people, writing is a job! Yes! They actually get paid to write. And just like every other job on the planet, they sometimes don’t like what they have to write.

Same as the poor guy working behind the counter at the 7-11, or the woman driving the schoolbus, or the guy stuck in an office cubicle all day, or the guy picking up the trash outside or whatever.

If you get paid for your writing, no matter what the hell it is you’re writing – hooray for you! How the hell is that selling out? It’s called living in the real world.

Just cuz someone doesn’t get paid for their writing and establishes some kind of personal significance to their writing, doesn’t mean everyone does.

Geez, if everybody stuck to their “principles” and demanded they get paid only for doing what they liked, about 99% of the jobs on this planet wouldn’t be filled.

Sellout? Give me a break.

DeleyanLee
05-01-2009, 07:03 PM
To you that's selling out.

Yes, changing the entire point and focus of my story for money is selling out to me.


Unfortunately for people like me, I'm also a script writer, that's the order of the day. Producer doesn't like X and Y. We need you to do something about it, we're thinking about shifting it to Z and B. "Yes sir, when do you need it by?"

One of the many reasons I'm not a script writer. Anyone who can do that, I sit in awe of 'cause it's simply beyond me how it can be done.


Writing isn't all flowers and happiness. Rewriting SUCKS. I hate doing it. But if it means getting my paycheck and moving forward in my career, it's "Yes sir."

Rewriting sucks Gilbraltar through a barstraw. I'm not saying that I would never rewrite to request. I've done it before and, for the most part, don't mind doing it. It's when the requests would totally change the center of the story, the reason I'm telling it in the first place, that I've drawn the line and can't do it.


Of course I don't subscribe to the notion of selling out in the arena of writing short of compromising my entire moral and value system. Everything else is "Do you want this paycheck or not, do you want this to be your career or not?" Then put your damn ego aside and do it.

There's another difference between us--I don't pay bills with my writing. Not that I wouldn't like to, mind you. It has been a fond dream for many decades. I honestly don't know what I'd do if I had a contract and the check would only come if I made the required changes that utterly changed the heart/focus of the story I wanted to tell. Maybe someday I'll find out, maybe not. It would be interesting to see, though.

icerose
05-01-2009, 07:09 PM
One of the many reasons I'm not a script writer. Anyone who can do that, I sit in awe of 'cause it's simply beyond me how it can be done.

Rewriting sucks Gilbraltar through a barstraw. I'm not saying that I would never rewrite to request. I've done it before and, for the most part, don't mind doing it. It's when the requests would totally change the center of the story, the reason I'm telling it in the first place, that I've drawn the line and can't do it.


Part of it is all how you look at it. When someone tells me they want me to do a page one rewrite (with a guaranteed check) to fit this vision, I chew on it for a couple days and see how I can take their vision and make it my own.

I have done a page one rewrite completely changing a story so many times I've lost count, but the pay is nice. The only way I survive it is by making it my own. Most rewrite requests have a lot of wiggle room and I'll bat suggestions back and forth until they're happy with it and I'm happy with it. Once you're there it isn't nearly so bad.

ETA: What really sucks though is when you go through the total rewrite and they change their freakin minds and you have to do it all over again! :rant:

Little Earthquake
05-01-2009, 07:10 PM
I've said many time that there's little I wouldn't do for the right price ;)

This opens up a can of worms over whether or not it's "selling out" to do something that's not your passion for a living. I get paid a decent salary w/ medical benefits as a graphic designer. Graphic design is NOT my passion. It's the way I make a living. I don't enjoy it as much as I do writing, and I'm not as good at it as I am at writing. So am I a sell out? No, I think I'm someone who gets the bills paid and plays with words whenever she gets a chance, and there's no shame in that.

ChaosTitan
05-01-2009, 07:14 PM
This opens up a can of worms over whether or not it's "selling out" to do something that's not your passion for a living.

Something tells me working minimum wage at Burger King isn't most peoples' idea of passion. Or selling out. It heats the house and feeds the stomach.

Saskatoonistan
05-01-2009, 07:37 PM
I've said many time that there's little I wouldn't do for the right price ;)

Here, here!

To those who feel I besmirched their hard work at writing whatever genre they specialize in, I'm sorry and I suck.

The Lonely One
05-01-2009, 07:46 PM
Maybe for some people, writing is some high form of art or a spiritual experience. And if so, fine. But guess what – for a lot of other people, writing is a job! Yes! They actually get paid to write. And just like every other job on the planet, they sometimes don’t like what they have to write.

Same as the poor guy working behind the counter at the 7-11, or the woman driving the schoolbus, or the guy stuck in an office cubicle all day, or the guy picking up the trash outside or whatever.

If you get paid for your writing, no matter what the hell it is you’re writing – hooray for you! How the hell is that selling out? It’s called living in the real world.

Just cuz someone doesn’t get paid for their writing and establishes some kind of personal significance to their writing, doesn’t mean everyone does.

Geez, if everybody stuck to their “principles” and demanded they get paid only for doing what they liked, about 99% of the jobs on this planet wouldn’t be filled.

Sellout? Give me a break.

This is completely a personal opinion, but:

Right now I work as a journalist. What you said about it being the same drudge job as a 7-11 worker, I'd say that's accurate. In fact I'd rather be working as a Walmart Stockboy some days. I'd make the same and get raises more quickly. Plus better benefits and I wouldn't have to take it in the ass to get a paycheck.

If I'm writing fiction and that gets to be anything similar to working at a 7-11, I'll stop writing fiction once and for all.

Little Earthquake
05-01-2009, 08:23 PM
This discussion reminds me a lot of talk in the 1990's of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam being "sellouts." (The people I heard parroting that word were usually teenagers like myself with NO understanding of the recording business or critical music theory.) Now, what makes a good song is partly a subjective discussion and partly objective, as is the discussion about what makes a good book. There are technical issues to discuss, but personal preference also comes in play. What does NOT make a song or a book or a movie good or bad is how popular it is. If an author (or songwriter, or screenwriter, or actor, or visual artist) works hard on his/her craft, why do we villify him/her for producing something that's popular, that sells well? Writing popular, profitable fiction does not make someone a sellout.

pepperlandgirl
05-01-2009, 08:25 PM
I forgot to answer earlier, but if somebody said "here's a check, now write X" I would write "X" regardless of the content or my feelings. I don't think there's any shame in paying your bills and providing for your family.

nighttimer
05-01-2009, 08:35 PM
I don't see how writing something people want to read is selling out. There are consumers out there who want to read trash, so if you can make money from that market, do it.

If someone works at McDonalds it's not selling out and I'm sure one or two people who work there don't look forward to the deep fryer every morning. It's work, same as writing.

I've sold out a few times in my life. Beieve me there are worse ways to make money than writing somethng you don't really really believe in.

Darn right.

Look, at one time or another I think we've all played the part of the Tortured Artist striving to create something that is beautiful and monumental and a enduring classic for the ages.

And sometimes you just have to make the damn donuts and you ain't got time for art.

If you produce something that is a timeless piece of literature that you slaved over for 20 years working on it every day until every word was just right and every period in the perfect place AND YOU NEVER PUBLISH IT, you're worse than a sell-out. You're a fool.

Sorry if that seems harsh, but the world keeps moving while you're standing still trying to create perfection. Perfection isn't a bad thing to shoot for, but when it paralyzes you it's poisonous.

I do not look down on writers who take on work for hire and other jobs that don't enrich the soul, but do replenish the bank account.

There are too many artists seeking nirvana and not enough writers creating good, solid work.

That is art as well. :e2writer:

The Lonely One
05-01-2009, 08:58 PM
I wish fiction would stop being compared to fast food positions. People pursue careers they're going to be happy doing. They get degrees that will fulfill them financially or challenge them and their skillsets.

Fast food jobs do neither of those things and they are not at all similar, in my opinion.

Writing fiction requires vast amounts of time and research and, of course writing, to become proficient at or some day master. It's an aspiration, not the 3a.m. shift at the local Wafflehouse.

As for writing trash, trash-writers feel free to go ahead and fill that end of the spectrum. Not for me.

Kathleen42
05-01-2009, 09:18 PM
I wish fiction would stop being compared to fast food positions. People pursue careers they're going to be happy doing. They get degrees that will fulfill them financially or challenge them and their skillsets.

Fast food jobs do neither of those things and they are not at all similar, in my opinion.

Writing fiction requires vast amounts of time and research and, of course writing, to become proficient at or some day master. It's an aspiration, not the 3a.m. shift at the local Wafflehouse.

As for writing trash, trash-writers feel free to go ahead and fill that end of the spectrum. Not for me.

People who are fortunate enough to have the means and opportunities get degrees that they hope will challenge them and reward them financially. Not everyone is so lucky.

Several of my friends hold degrees in photography. None of them have been able to support themselves with their art. They supplement their income by taking on commercial jobs and working retail and food service. I don't think less of them because they take pretty photos of watches and corn flakes.

There is nothing wrong with the choice to create commercial art or write commercial or genre fiction.

DeleyanLee
05-01-2009, 09:21 PM
Darn right.

Look, at one time or another I think we've all played the part of the Tortured Artist striving to create something that is beautiful and monumental and a enduring classic for the ages.

Actually, I don't think that's true. I've never done it. Neither has any writer of my immediate acquaintance for the last many decades.


If you produce something that is a timeless piece of literature that you slaved over for 20 years working on it every day until every word was just right and every period in the perfect place AND YOU NEVER PUBLISH IT, you're worse than a sell-out. You're a fool.

Sorry if that seems harsh, but the world keeps moving while you're standing still trying to create perfection. Perfection isn't a bad thing to shoot for, but when it paralyzes you it's poisonous.

I do not look down on writers who take on work for hire and other jobs that don't enrich the soul, but do replenish the bank account.

There are too many artists seeking nirvana and not enough writers creating good, solid work.
That is art as well. :e2writer:

Writing is one of the Arts (my definition: the artist taking something within themselves and expressing it through a medium to others). It requires skill, practice and a lot of other things to pull it off, but it is essentially an artform. If you can write and express yourself and create "good, solid work", then you're an artist, no argument. But sometimes art takes time and effort and not all artists are capable or willing to do that. Doesn't mean they deserve to be called fools.

The problem I have with this stance is the attitude that the only reason to write is publication and to make money. I think that attitude does a great deal of harm, especially to the vast majority of people who are just looking for some catharis, self-expression or whatever.

Why is writing the only artform that requires money to be paid to the creator for "validation"? I mean, really--someone tells you that they paint or sculpt or play in a band. Is the first question out of your mouth "Have you sold anything?"

Someone spends 20 years writing something to perfection? That doesn't make them a fool, IMHO, it makes them a writer, an artist, someone who's not necessarily interested in the commercialization of the work. Their reason for writing is valid, even if they never get paid for it. That should be their choice and not something the outside world gets to judge them down for.

eforest
05-01-2009, 09:29 PM
Whose Michael Jacksony and what's housewife porn?

Cyia
05-01-2009, 09:33 PM
Remember that at the end of the day (and deal) you're providing goods to a purchaser (or renter). Those goods are in the form of words and must meet the satisfaction of the person contracting for them. This means that person is entitled to input. If changes have to be made for them to be satisfied, they have a right to ask. You have a right to consider those changes and see if you can live with them. If you can - you're not selling out, you're brokering a business transaction of mutual benefit to both of you. If you can't - walk away if you don't have a contractual obligation to supply them with a MS. If you're under contract, take another look at the changes they want and consider why they want them... it's possible they know a bit more about their market than you do.

Kathleen42
05-01-2009, 09:42 PM
Honestly, I've been having variations of this conversation for more than a decade. Whether you're talking literature, film, design, photography, this conversation comes up. The "sell-outs" versus the "real artists", greed versus muse, yadda yadda yadda.

It is a pointless discussion which goes in circles with each side taking its share of lumps.

As far as I'm concerned most people don't spend their lives on one side of the fence. They hop back and forth as their circumstances change.

I wrote my first book despite the fact that I knew it would be a tough sell because I felt that it deserved to be written. I am no less proud of it because I was unable to get it published. On the flip side, my second book is a fun story in a genre that sells fairly well. It's a safe bet and some might call it a sell out.

This is a conversation that's been had billions of times and one which will be had billions more.

Pagey's_Girl
05-01-2009, 09:47 PM
I guess we have to define what 'selling out' is.

Writing outside your genre. No.

Writing in a way counter to your ethics and beliefs. Yes.

If someone wanted me to write a nonfiction book on the best way to commit genocide, then yeah, that is selling out.

But if someone wants me to turn my sci-fi story into an 18th century romance, why not. Big deal. I don't see how that is some moral conundrum requiring serious soul searching and angst filled nights questioning the nature of good and evil....

Wanted to quote the whole thing for truth...

The only scenario I could see in fiction is if you were being pushed to tone down a certain theme in your story - or adopt one that ran counter to your beliefs. The latter is where I'd draw the line. The former - that's where I'd have to do some soul-searching and decide just how important it is to the story - and me. It might well be that it's not the right venue for it.

But suggesting I drop the whole scary bit of the story and write a more straight-ahead romance-type tale about the two happily-married main characters - heck, I'd give it a shot.

dgiharris
05-01-2009, 10:19 PM
Interestingly enough on a similar note,

I have a friend that has been working on his play for over 25 years.

It has gone up and down from 150 pages to 300 pages. He wants it to be perfect.

To say he has golden word syndrome is an understatement. He wouldn't compromise one word for any publisher. The story is the story.

I guess, to each their own. I wouldn't go to this extreme, but it is his right, his choice, his opinion.

Mel...

KTC
05-01-2009, 10:25 PM
Touchy touchy, holy smokes! I am not implying that writers of genre fiction have sold out at all. I am asking if the money was there, WOULD you sell out... particularly if you have been surviving on Ichiban noodles of a decade or so.

I write erotica and romance too. Moreover, I write freaking superhero fiction, I mean there isn't going to be a life-changing message for the ages in anything that I pump out of my word processor. I pointed to mediocre housewife porn, as opposed to, really freaking entertaining erotica and romance. There is such a thing as God awfully written housewife porn that makes bajillionydoodles of money.


I understood completely what you were saying and quite frankly I'm shocked and surprised that people are having difficulty with your intent.

benbradley
05-01-2009, 10:28 PM
^ Lawrence Block immediately comes to mind. He has a lot of old shames from the 60s...
But hasn't he always written mystery/crime fiction? Okay, I read his Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Block) which says:

His earliest work, published pseudonymously in the 1950s, was mostly in the porn paperback industry, an apprenticeship he shared with fellow mystery author Donald E. Westlake.

But I was thinking of this book and author (woops, it's 1972, not 1968, and available for a bargain price of $15):
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/k/dean-r-koontz/starblood.htm
He doesn't write that "sci fi" stuff or other "genre" fiction anymore...

SPMiller
05-01-2009, 11:30 PM
But I was thinking of this book and author (woops, it's 1972, not 1968, and available for a bargain price of $15):
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/k/dean-r-koontz/starblood.htm
He doesn't write that "sci fi" stuff or other "genre" fiction anymore...That's odd. Nearly everything he publishes is straight-up genre fiction.

girlyswot
05-01-2009, 11:35 PM
But if someone wants me to turn my sci-fi story into an 18th century romance, why not. Big deal. I don't see how that is some moral conundrum requiring serious soul searching and angst filled nights questioning the nature of good and evil.

It may not be a moral issue but it does raise the question of artistic integrity which for me is crucial to the question of selling out.



****Epiphany****

I think a critical component to this sell out question is 'Ego'.

Ego ties into Golden Word Syndrome and that gets convulted into an association with the writer to the point where criticism of the story is synonymous with criticism of the writer and hence changing the story is akin to changing yourself which is 'selling out' as seen from the perspective of Ego... hmm.... maybe....

I think there is a difference between legitimate criticism and the kind of genre change you mentioned earlier! For an agent/publisher to tell you to start writing your SF story as a historical romance isn't just criticism of the story or your writing, it's an attempt to dictate the story itself.



Maybe for some people, writing is some high form of art or a spiritual experience. And if so, fine. But guess what – for a lot of other people, writing is a job! Yes! They actually get paid to write. And just like every other job on the planet, they sometimes don’t like what they have to write.

Yes, I agree. There is nothing whatsoever shameful or immoral about writing for money. I think it's a shame that there isn't an expression which means 'selling out' that doesn't have the same negative connotations. Because while I don't want to suggest that anyone here who writes for money, or who has ever changed what they have written to make it saleable, has done anything wrong AT ALL, I do think that in some senses that is 'selling out'. It puts money in the bank and food on the table and all credit to those of you who make a living at this. It's not easy and I don't want to belittle that at all.

But there is a sense in which, inevitably that involves some kind of compromise. Often pretty minor and sometimes in ways which will actually improve your work. But if you are writing things which are not your best work (which is obviously a benchmark that is in a different place for every writer here) in order to make money, how is that not selling out? Isn't that what selling out means? To compromise your artistic integrity for the sake of the money?

I'll say it again. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Feeding your family by your writing is an impressive achievement and no more unethical than going out to work in an office. But yes, I do think that there is usually a sell out involved.

The Lonely One
05-02-2009, 02:36 AM
See I don't buy that art is held to the standards of a consumer good. I understand you get published, you're selling something to people. But people buy art because they're interested in art. You buy from artists who best represent your tastes in art, but there is no universal standard as there is for, say, pool products or a good hamburger.

Also just to clarify from my earlier post, I meant no disrespect to food industry workers. I worked at McDonalds various times when I was searching for other employment. I see no issue with having a day job and writing what you want even if that doesn't pay enough to support you. I do that. But I do have a problem with fiction taking on the persona of a job like McDonalds, where I'd do my job begrudgingly just to make it check to check. I'd rather do a job like that at Walmart where my view of fiction isn't ruined forever, and pursue my dream when I get home at night.

Jus' a thought.

Kaylee
05-02-2009, 02:52 AM
Since I don't write about vampires or wizards and all the rejections I am getting. I can say I am not selling out.

Brindle Chase
05-02-2009, 02:55 AM
I reserve the right to change my answer, should the scenario compromise my personal ethics... but yes... I would most likely. If a editor or agent asked me to change things, because it was more marketable, even if I thought it hashed my story in ways I wouldn't like... I'd do it. If it went against my personal convictions... then no. I would draw the line. Where that is... hard to say. I would do mediocre housewife porn... I wouldnt do underage porn. etc... etc...

rhymegirl
05-02-2009, 03:23 AM
Well, I write many different kinds of things. And I have gotten paid for my writing.

I'm not sure whether I've sold out or not over the years. When I worked at a greeting card company I wrote funny cards, risque cards, children's cards--everything including religious cards. I'm not a particularly religious person, and yet I wrote very religious-sounding verses, complete with scripture. I'm a writer, I was paid to write, so I wrote whatever they asked me to write.

As for books, I do have my preferences genre-wise, but sure, I would attempt to write a certain kind of story if the money was good. But I'd have to have an interest in the genre and I'd have to have enough confidence that I could write it successfully.

I think maybe people here have different definitions of what constitutes selling out.

Pat~
05-02-2009, 04:16 AM
No. I'm pretty much message-driven or I don't write. And I don't do anything just for the money (though if I did it wouldn't be writing, as there are tons more lucrative ways to sell out. ;-)).

maestrowork
05-02-2009, 04:44 AM
There's nothing wrong with writing for money.

jodiodi
05-02-2009, 06:42 AM
There are things I can write.

There are things I can write well.

There are things I won't write.

If the money's right, I'll write anything except something I just can't write well enough to do it justice. That would be something I won't write.

C.bronco
05-02-2009, 07:00 AM
I wouldn't change my writing, but, baby, I plan to Market Market Market! :D

Millions of molded plastic action figures hang in the balance. I must do what I can...

Sell out? I hope my books sell out and get reprints, because working and/or being unemployed is not for me!

Plus, if it entertains me, it should be amusing for milions. I don't want to deny the masses of my humor and insight.

VeggieChick
05-02-2009, 02:07 PM
Depends on what somebody understands by "selling out." Would I write on a genre/topic I don't particularly love because of the money? Sure. I don't see that as selling out. I see it as the reality of being a working writer. Would I write on something I have moral issues with? No. For example, I think animal research is wrong, so there's no chance in hell I'm going to agree to write an article about "the benefits of animal research." Not gonna happen. Is that what selling out means? Would I edit something in or out of a novel if that makes a difference between finding a market and having it languish forever inside a drawer? Yes, I would. I may know about writing, but editors and agents know about publishing. I'd consider that improving, not selling out.

JJ Cooper
05-02-2009, 02:32 PM
To provide for my family, I'll do what it takes.

Everyone writes for money. Otherwise, we'd never heard of them.

JJ

JudyC
05-02-2009, 07:22 PM
Depends on what somebody understands by "selling out." Would I write on a genre/topic I don't particularly love because of the money? Sure. I don't see that as selling out. I see it as the reality of being a working writer. Would I write on something I have moral issues with? No. For example, I think animal research is wrong, so there's no chance in hell I'm going to agree to write an article about "the benefits of animal research." Not gonna happen. Is that what selling out means? Would I edit something in or out of a novel if that makes a difference between finding a market and having it languish forever inside a drawer? Yes, I would. I may know about writing, but editors and agents know about publishing. I'd consider that improving, not selling out.


I agree. Plus, don't we want to be versatile and capable of adapting or switching genres? Or changing something in a manuscript? If you read any published author's blogs, you'll find that they're asked to change or tweek something in their manuscripts every time they send it out to their editors. It's part of the business.

Also, once you sell your book to a publisher, you no longer have ownership of it. It isn't yours anymore. Until the contract expires you might be able to buy it back, but until then it belongs to the publisher. I don't understand it when a writer says he/she wouldn't change any of their writing in order to get published when in order to get published they must relinquish their ownership of it. Doesn't make sense.

Red_Dahlia
05-02-2009, 08:28 PM
Maybe I'm being hopelessly naive here, but I think the idea of selling out your writing to make loads of money is ridiculous. It's not that I have any moral objections to the idea of writing in a genre that you don't particularly favor, it's the fact that I don't think anyone can predict what's going to be the next "big thing." For instance, when Harry Potter became successful, you saw a lot of books filling the market about young children going to school to learn magic. Did any of these books make a ton of money? Probably not, and especially not nearly as much as Harry Potter.

Personally, I think the best bet for making a lot of money off of writing is writing in the genres you love to read and have a passion for, and hoping for the best. If you do this, you are more likely to know the kinds of plots that have been done to death and be able to put a unique spin on things.

That's just my $0.02, and like I said earlier, I might just be naive. :)

Bubastes
05-02-2009, 08:41 PM
Also, once you sell your book to a publisher, you no longer have ownership of it. It isn't yours anymore. Until the contract expires you might be able to buy it back, but until then it belongs to the publisher.

Actually, this isn't true. When you sell your book to a publisher, you still own the copyright, which is a bundle of different rights (e.g., first publication rights, reprint rights, electronic rights, foreign rights, etc.). What you're selling are selected rights from that bundle. So you still own the book, but you're giving the publisher a license to publish it.

SPMiller
05-02-2009, 11:47 PM
Can I just repeat that I don't care what "selling out" does or doesn't mean?

Either way, I'd gladly sell out for enough money. Oh no, you mean I have to write for a living? Anything but that!

Gillhoughly
05-03-2009, 12:59 AM
It's not selling out.

It's called cashing in.

Don't write to a trend. By the time that book is finished, the trend is dead or saturated and dying.

I write what keeps me interested for 400 pages then ask my agent to get as much money as possible for it.

She's totally on board for that. :D

Wayne K
05-03-2009, 01:06 AM
If by selling out you mean writing something I don't particularly like or want to write, I'd call writing it work. You get paid for work.

If you mean something that goes against my beliefs like support of a person or belief that I found dangerous. No, I wouldn't do it.

BravoYankee
05-03-2009, 01:25 AM
If by selling out, you mean selling your novel's rights to a movie production studio, aware that they're going to take your story, rip its heart out, and take your action adventure set in ancient Rome, and rework it so that it takes place in a 1980's suburban high school, just because they're going to give you a lot of money, then...

Hell yes!

Saskatoonistan
05-04-2009, 03:57 PM
If by selling out, you mean selling your novel's rights to a movie production studio, aware that they're going to take your story, rip its heart out, and take your action adventure set in ancient Rome, and rework it so that it takes place in a 1980's suburban high school, just because they're going to give you a lot of money, then...

Hell yes!


Only if Sean Penn can be a stoner in it, then yeah, I am down with that.

K1P1
05-04-2009, 04:31 PM
I alluded to my strong desire to sell out for all the money on this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140252). So, I put it out to the universe, would you sell out? (Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn for quick cash or writing angsty YA fiction with werethings and the usual emo vampire dudes that young ladies seem to be attracted to these days.)

Damn, I just wish I could write fiction. If I could, I'd be happy to sell it.

bonitakale
05-04-2009, 04:38 PM
Ooh, I've got a quote! It's from We Took to the Woods, by Louise Dickinson Rich. It's pretty long, sorry:

Feeling like a fraud is one of the bad things about being a writer. You have to be a little disparaging about your work sometimes. Because of its nature, it is so closely tied up with your own personality that taking it seriously verges perilously close to the pompous. So there's a lot of talk by writers about just doing pot-boilers until one is financially secure enough to embark on a really serious work. Frankly, this is hooey. Writing pot-boilers implies writing down, and condescension is immediately apparent to, and rightly resented by, the editor. I believe that any writer who sells enough to eat off the proceeds is writing the very best he can all the time. When he stops, he stops eating.

I've read a lot of first-rate writing, and I have some critical sense; so I know where I stand. I'll never be first-rate. I'll improve with practice, I trust, but I haven't got what it takes to reach the top. However, I hope I'll never make the excuse that, "it's only a pot-boiler, after all." Everything I write, no matter how lousy it turns out to be, is the very best I am capable of at the time. My writing may be third-rate, but at least it's honest. You can't be even a third-rate writer without taking your work seriously.

wannawrite
05-04-2009, 04:48 PM
I love writing. I write to get published. Is that selling out? Then yes, I've already done it. I watch word lengths. I keep an eye on trends. I go to the big publishers every month and scan their new releases so I know what is happening and what is selling. I hit authors web-sites in the same genre I write in, and ask for their advice. I go to conventions and sit through lectures on query letters and how to write a synopis. I read books and bookmark 'where the bad guy enters the scene' and 'where the ah-ha moment occurs'. Yep. I've sold out. And proud of it.

Alitriona
05-05-2009, 03:01 AM
I would sell out. For all those who have enough money to say they wouldn't, fair play. I would write whatever I was asked to if offered enough money. Once I had said money I could then afford to write what I want. If selling out takes care of my family, I'd do it any day.

brutus
05-05-2009, 03:07 AM
m

jodiodi
05-05-2009, 05:29 AM
For some reason, many of the responses in this thread remind me of our Cartman doll which says:

I would never kill somebody ... Not unless they pissed me off.

So

I would never sell out ... Not unless there was tons of money involved.

White-Tean
05-07-2009, 02:11 AM
I alluded to my strong desire to sell out for all the money on this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140252). So, I put it out to the universe, would you sell out? (Selling out can mean pumping out mediocre housewife porn for quick cash or writing angsty YA fiction with werethings and the usual emo vampire dudes that young ladies seem to be attracted to these days.)

If you were to sell out, would you become more eccentric than you already are?

Oh, I'll totally be getting more batty and eccentric when I sell out. I won't however sell out in my writing because that's something I do purely for myself; but sell out when I'm working as an illustrator as my day job? Totally. I'll illustrate the covers of your mediocre housewife werething porn.

ETA: I should also say, doing something with your talent that you feel doesn't further humanity, doesn’t really make a meaningful contribution and is almost completely without any redeeming factors... can be fun. I’m not out of university yet, but man I’ve had to do some horridly boring and even demeaning assignments though. You can get very warped about them and find all sorts of ways to fit the brief and still put your own spin on it though – in illustration; use more interesting colours for the shadows, slip in background details that amuse you, there are all sorts of ways of following the brief to the letter without creating such a horridly worthless end product that it was inherently engineered to create. My motto in university has been “There are no boring assignments, just unimaginative solutions” because of this – sometimes you have to dig really deep though to find some hugely eccentric thing you can slip into what you’re doing to make the project interest you.