What would you do to be published? Ethics is a heavy word to use, but it fits for this post’s purpose. Every single one of my paralegal professors, most were attorneys, loosely defined (and I’m paraphrasing badly) unethical behavior as questionable actions. Most unethical behavior wasn’t illegal, but it damn sure was something a reasonable person would feel the niggle of guilt, shame, or unease over.
Do we writers have ethics we should adhere to?
Here are some questions that came to mind:
Would you completely re-write an ms in order to get that contract?
Would you sign with a publisher you weren’t sure of?
Would you write in a genre you hated because you knew you could sell it easier? Note I didn’t say easy.
Hell, have you ever sold a book you ended up hating and still put on the happy writer face when hocking it to readers?
Would you turn in a book that’s undercooked but under deadline?
All but the second question assumes that all writers hold their novels in a certain regard. Also, that somehow by writing a book, not of your heart, the book will automatically be sub par.
Apparently, even though I believe myself to be business-minded more than artistic-minded, my own Jiminy Cricket is rubbing his legs together. And, yes he’s playing the world’s smallest violin to the tune of It’s art and it’s sacred. So, I don’t have an answer to whether or not we as writers have an unwritten code of ethics.
Do you think we should have ethics? Do you think there are ethics but they’re the unspoken kind? If not the word ethics, what word(s) would you use? *
* I’m keen on ‘personal standards’, but I think it loses something in the translation. It doesn’t feel all encompassing, but maybe that’s what it comes down to for writers. The choice one makes IS personal and no wide brush exists nor should it.