Filters by definition should be a good thing. They are meant to keep out impurities by most standards which is why some people question my reasoning for not hiring an objective editor to give my book a read. What people often fail to recall is that filters can also be used to recover solids. Think of a river back in the 1800’s and take into account that people used filters to sift out something that is far from an impurity.
Am I comparing ideas to gold? Well not all of them. Some are right up there on the poop stack. Then again, due to the nature of most of my dayjobs, I’ve been subject to countless bouts of revisions and recommendations. This means that for the most part, what has ended up going out with my name on it is not what I did or what I believed in, even if in the end I was held accountable for the impact said materials had. Does that sound like a poor deal? Well that’s because it is. It is a very shoddy, unfair deal and millions of people go through that every day.
That’s why I insisted on as unabridged version of Only Human as possible. I made the decisions of what goes and what does not go and was honest enough with myself to take tough decisions and eliminate entire pages at a time. Was it easy OR pleasant? For heaven’s sake no. It was brutal because I had to recognize that not all of what I wrote worked. But it helped me infinitely. It was a self imposed trial by fire and I think it’s helped me become a better writer for it.
I’ve actually helped edit two books, have proofread thousands of pages and have edited countless communications (from letters to full site maps). As an editor, I clarify what the writer is expecting from our collaboration and stick to the rules agreed upon… and above all else, I focus on two things: that the content flows and on format. What they want to say is their decision and if they want suggestions, I’m all for giving them the suggestions but as a writer, I know what I wouldn’t want done to my work.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are editors out there that probably could have made my book a whole lot better. I have no doubt in that… then again, I have no doubt in my own vision of what I want to achieve in a story arc and the places I want to go and some people might have issues with what I think is a worthwhile place to visit. Having read my book a few times, I’m quite clear that a lot of people might think it’s too long, or visits too many places or whatever… the reality is that the response from people up to now has been quite positive and I’ve been able to see a very interesting thing happen… different people like different things. Imagine that.
So what some people saw as a highlight, was cumbersome to others while other people gravitated to a specific chapter and another person loved the little hidden Easter eggs and tributes to some of my favorite musical artists, movies and writers. That also means that for the time being, the blog, the tweets and the books that come forth with my name on it are completely unabridged and the only filter set in place is me. So if I don’t like it, it won’t have my name on it.
Some people measure success by webhits, profits, or books sold… for those who hold a sense of satisfaction as the greatest tribute to success… I salute you.
Peace, love and maki rolls.