In last week’s post, I mentioned a pretty well-known author who has publicly reported his publisher “wouldn’t touch” a new release, in part because a character in his novel referred to herself as “fat.”
I heard this story on a podcast, and I remember thinking, “Wait ’til they see what I’m working on.”
Ultimately, the above-mentioned author decided to give his new book away for free on Amazon. He just wanted it out there for people, publisher or no publisher. But is this really what we’ve come to? Are we expected to work for free now?
There was a time not so long ago when writers were held in low esteem in Hollywood, almost bottom of the barrel—ironic since we writers are the ones who create the scripts that allow movies and shows to get made in the first place. But more recently, actors have given writer after writer kudos, especially on awards shows. From The Sopranos to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, great actors have acknowledged that writers having the freedom to write what they write are responsible for the excellence of a project—just as much as the director, the producers, and the actors themselves.
In our not-so-brave new world, though, it looks like we’re going backward. As I try to predict the future, I feel like the man in the photo above, peering through the fog (or is it smoke?). Think of the books we’ll burn! Naked Lunch! Huck Finn! Oh, and The Handmaid’s Tale will surely be there in the fire with them.
To reiterate last week’s point: write whatever you want. Someone will object to it, and someone else will love it. It’s inevitable, and really, isn’t it all that matters anyway?