In my last post I was talking about how not all self-editing is bad. In this one, I’m considering the positive side of being an independent author who is free of the constraints of a publisher. My feeling is that once writers have a publisher, they are so thrilled to be being ‘properly’ published that they are likely to go along with anything their editors suggest. Certainly on their first books, anyway. I imagine it’s different once you’ve got some clout to your name.
As a self-published, independent author you don’t have that pressure to conform to the publisher’s point of view. Which could be a bad thing, of course. I prefer to think of it as liberating. So in my book, aimed at anyone over 11, there are swear words. In fact the very first sentence contains what I’d think of as moderate swearing (from a British point of view) and the first chapter holds one strong swear word. Not because I’m a big fan of swearing, but because they were important to the progress of the plot. I’m fairly sure that an editor would want to take the stronger word out, given that my book would be likely to be read by 11 year olds. I’d battle very hard against such a decision – although I suspect that I’d roll over and cave in, for the reason given above.
I have close personal experience of this particular age group and I know that the inclusion of these words wouldn’t be a problem for them at all (have you heard a conversation between 11 year-olds lately?). Of course, it might be a problem for their parents but in the context of this particular story there’s usually an unfortunate consequence to any act of swearing. I hope this would provide a hint that it’s not the best course of action.
For now, then, I’m revelling in the freedom to include words that a mainstream publisher might think are inappropriate for some of my target audience. A distinct advantage of being my own editor, I’d say.