By Ali Cross
Some of you may know that I recently had to leave Valor, the company I expected to publish my YA paranormal fantasy The Devil’s Daughter. The nuts and bolts of why I’m not going to be publishing with them comes down to being true—to myself, to my friends, to the things that I value and honor.
Though I’m sad that my book won’t be on bookstore shelves in 2010 like I’d hoped, I feel good that I haven’t sacrificed the things that make me who I am. Whatever else, I am me, and always will be.
Sometimes, our drive to be published can stamp out our sense of self. We do what, how and when the market tells us to do. Our agent or editor guides and direct us and, for the most part, we follow along because they are the experts. We cultivate an attitude of gratitude—and the feeling that our publisher is doing us a big favor.
I saw that happening to me, saw myself giving in, folding, capitulating. But before I went tumbling off that cliff and effectively losing myself to the ‘machine’ I dug in my heels and flung my arms backward. Clinging to the edge with the last of my self-respect, I managed to drag myself back up, away from the precipice.
For many people, the slip off that cliff will be a happy journey, like free-falling through cotton candy. But for me, the fall would have meant giving up much of what makes my writing mine.
As you navigate the tricky maze of publishing, remember to be true to yourself and to your work. Don’t be afraid to make the hard choices—because in the end, your duty to self, to faith, to God is paramount. As Shakespeare penned in Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self be true.”