Creative Integrity

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Guy Kawasaki describes the mainstream method of publishing as taking control from the individual author and putting it in the hands of a specialized team. This process mirrors Austin Kleon’s concept of a scenius. The best product is typically made at least somewhat collaboratively. APE takes this concept and explains what inevitably happens when the collaborators have opposing ideas of where the book should go in Kawasaki’s review of traditional publishing. Talking about collaboration is all well and good but it’s a different thing entirely to be confronted with a team of people whose ideas don’t match up with your own.


It’s a harsh reality to realize that the best option isn’t the way you would have done things and it’s not possible to be as anal about your work as before. The details about how you want the book to look, plot, copies made, etc. are at the mercy of editors and designers and publicists. So where do you draw the line to maintain your creative integrity ?
The benefit behind self-publishing seems to be the control you have over the final product of their book, of course you have the trade-off of not having a copyeditor or a team to help improve the holes in your book.


Kawasaki is teaching his reader the hard reality of creating and publishing a book. There is always a trade-off and the road could get bumpy.


jmalone's picture

Great post, Briana.

Great post, Briana.

I have to say that I am rather curious how things will go for large book publishers as self-publishing becomes more and more accessible to authors. On one hand, if you manage to score with a big-time publisher, your work doesn't even have to speak for itself and it will be liable to become successful. On the other, you get to avoid the notion of collaborated, or often times adulterated, works. The really scary part is looking at all of the famous wordsmiths and their most celebrated texts that were shot down by the guys behind the scene--although I guess that that is, in and of itself, plenty of reason to just keep trying if you think you've got something special.

ckozma's picture

I think you raised a great

I think you raised a great point here, "So where do you draw the line to maintain your creative integrity?" I think this is something that many artists and authors struggle with when they are told to change something it order to be successful. What can be said for the people that had works that were not very popular and had to overcome accepted philosophies and morals in order to be successful?

laurenew's picture

Great post

I agree with Joe, and I think there's a lot of pros and cons with self-publishing as well as traditional publishing. A pro is definitely being able to maintain your "creative integrity" by actually having a say in the final outcome of work. Sure, it might take a while for your book to be acknowledged but at least you get to stay true to your vision. I think the choice boils down to what you value, popularity or autonomy.