I fully recognize and understand there is an “industry standard” (insert Dr. Evil with air quotes) that writers are expected to work towards. However, in my experience, this standard begins to, at times, limit the writers in their ability.
I’ve seen fellow writers limit their capabilities to ensure they are complying to the industry standards so they might one day get their book accepted and published. Don’t get me wrong, because I have also seen writers who blow the industry standards out of the water- almost as if it is a challenge- and end with a finished piece that is meh.
Where do I stand? I’m not the industry. If you want their standards to work by there are some really great blogs that will provide you with their rules and regulations to work toward.
For me, and for any author that I work with, I will always encourage imagination over limitations. Story outweighs standard one thousand percent! Books don’t sell, they sit on shelves and collect dust. Stories are what sell. Stories are what people want. They are not picky either. They will take them short; they will take them long. They take them on a screen; or even in a song. They will take them here or there…you get the point. And you probably recognize the reference of that last sentence because great stories are retold again and again.
A person is always, ALWAYS, going to seek a good story. They are not going to pull up a word count and say, “Oh, that’s not quite as long as I’d like it to be.” And they certainly won’t wonder about margins or double spacing.
So, whether you are just beginning or have been submitting to publishers endlessly with no luck- let’s pause on all that “industry standard” mumbo jumbo and talk about the skills it takes to tell a story.
Tip of the Day: Practice driving in the parking lot before venturing into the world of traffic laws. Learn how to tell a story before you start worrying about industry standards.