I'm thinking about traditionally publishing my work. I have a few uncertainties/questions regarding creative control. I'm fine with editors influencing my character's names, book titles, and book covers. About the plot and my character's nature? (like: "instead of X being shy, let's make her this overly confident girl" or "why not add sexual tension between the detective and the suspect?) Do I have to follow them completely or can I like take a pass on some of their suggestions? Or it could just be me overthinking stuff.

What I'm writing is a mystery series. I guess it's fine when they ask me to change some parts of the plot, but my biggest 'fear' is my character's nature. (Especially my detective, who's in an honest relationship with her husband, and the detective's assistant)

For the side characters like the suspects, I'm fine with their nature being changed. My biggest concern is my detective and her assistant.

P.S. I feel like this is a silly question, I overthink things, but hopefully, my doubts can be cleared.

Thanks in advance!

  • Assuming you make it through the filter and traditional publishing is an option, as long as you don’t spend your advance then you can walk away anytime you chose — cause if you don’t fulfill your side of the contract, you have to give the money back.
    – EDL
    May 18 at 5:19

High Class Problems:

While this is not a trivial concern, I think you're worried too much about it. Publishers and Literary agents, for the most part, don't WANT stories they have to go into this much detail to fix. They want ready product to tweak a bit and ship out. This kind of intervention cuts into the creative process and they aren't the creative types. You are.

If you're an established author, and are churning out books in a highly successful series, then you may have some legitimate concerns. But these will focus on things like keeping your character likeable and sticking to a formula that works. You may be tired of your MC in book 32 once again facing a world-destroying crisis and having a tawdry affair with the most beautiful/handsome insert-gender-here character available while maintaining sexual tension with their long-time companion. Why aren't there THREE sex scenes? There are ALWAYS three. But series books will be like this.

If your publisher feels you need to change something, then you may ask WHY they want it changed. For the most part, you're either too unimportant to bother with or too powerful as a successful author to mess with (why kill the goose with the golden eggs?). Think of this as like feedback from a beta reader.

Ultimately, if you don't care too much about the money, you can simply refuse to publish the work in any form other than what you want. But most authors are persuaded by the money. So it's a high-class problem to have people interfering with your work. If it happens, take it as a compliment.

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