The Balanced Muse: Honor Your Truth


Vision 71


The Balanced Muse:

Honor Your Truth


Mary Caelsto

The Muse Charmer

Copyright © 2012, Mary Caelsto, All Rights Reserved


There's a truism that's rampant in the publishing industry: Don't speak out. There's talk of black lists where bad authors go, never to have their works accepted by a publisher again. I've heard of them, and while I don't agree with them, I know that there's one thing that will not land you on such a list at a good, respectable publisher.


Honoring your truth.


When an author honors his or her truth, then the author speaks the truth about what happens to him or her in the industry. The good and the bad. And yes, this means that the author may be up front about issues with a publisher – royalty payments, contractual obligations, or others – and it means that the author may make requests of his or her readers, for example not to purchase a book if the author isn't sure about receiving royalties.


Authors understandably have fears about speaking the truth. What if a publisher doesn't accept their book and brands them a "troublemaker"? The thing is, most reputable publishers won't "blacklist" an author for speaking the truth and honoring his or her own truth. However, honoring your truth also comes with responsibilities.


First, there is the responsibility of ensuring your truth is the truth. Our work comes with contractual and legal obligations to which we agree when we sign over our work with a publisher. It's important that every letter, every dotted I and crossed T, is followed, before we start crying foul. That's part of the responsibility.


Secondly, there's the responsibility to actually honor our truth. What some people call "honoring their truth" in reality is something different completely. Writers who honor their own truth won't put down other writers. They won't share information they don't have a right to, and they won't make demands without very good cause. They'll understand their contractual obligations, and they'll act accordingly. Never confuse being spoiled, or being a "diva", with honoring your truth. They are not the same.


Third, honoring your truth means taking action when necessary. Knowing a publisher, agent, editor, or other professional is not acting within the confines of a contract and not doing anything when you can and have the ability to is not "honoring your truth". As authors, we need to stand for ourselves, as well as stand for each other. An "us vs. them" mentality isn't true, except when people and companies choose to do wrong to authors. Then it is, and must be honored, and told.


The thing is, honoring your truth can be difficult, but no more so than operating according to a moral compass. Life comes with tough decisions. Maybe as writers we thought the hardest decision we'd have would be to kill off a beloved character. Choosing a publisher or an agent ranks up there with difficult dilemmas author face. But so, too, can be the decision to speak out.


Those that honor their truth, whether that's through their blogs, sending information to industry watchdogs or in other ways, need to understand that they may not be taking the easy way out. It is not an easy question, nor does it have easy answers, especially when royalty checks might be on the line.


The good news is that honoring your truth as a writer doesn't necessarily have to be negative. Since I spoke about publisher change in my last column (The Balanced Muse: Surviving Publisher Change, Issue 69), I wanted to discuss that here, but a writer who honors his or her truth might simply mean deciding to write in a certain genre. For example, though I love nonfiction and also science fiction and fantasy, but really I'm a romance writer. There may be those who choose to put down or speak ill about a writer's chosen genre. Sometimes honoring your truth means standing up and saying "I write this. I like writing this! Deal with it."


As writers we share our worlds, fictional and nonfictional with the world. We need to stand up and acknowledge that fact, be at peace with it, and be prepared to shout it from the rooftops. It's what those words mean—honoring your truth—and as writers, it's something we can do that helps us achieve balance in our career and our creative life.






Bio: Mary has charmed the muse her entire life. As a published author of both fiction and non-fiction, she knows the balanced muse can handle the business, creative, and marketing sides of publishing. She launched The Muse Charmer ( to help enable authors charm their own muses to greater productivity and passion. Get her free report on Newsletters Your Readers Can't Ignore: Three Easy Steps To Supercharge Your Newsletter and Leave Your Readers Wanting More. (Link)