Publish and be Damned

I wrote a book when I was a youngster.

Actually, I wrote many books when I was a youngster, but there was one that stayed with me, long after the original, physical book was no longer.

Over thirty-something years later, I decided to remember what I could and write the novel anew. Six months later, it has been through four drafts, half a beta reader and countless revisions, edits, tweaks and goodness knows what else, and now I sit here with a document that I feel has had more than its fair share of gestating.

So now I look out upon the ghastly, intimidating, despair-inducing landscape of publishing.

There are – of course – a number of options.

One could submit a manuscript to a literary agent, then be made to wait while they go through it, tear it to shreds and eventually reply with a form rejection notice.

One could self-publish, and then spend one’s life savings and all waking hours advocating, distributing hard copies, cold-turkey contacting bookshops, social media promoting and all the other myriad aspects of hustling that one seems doomed to be required instead of actually writing.

Imagine how much more would get done if creators weren’t having to spend so much of their time peddling what they create. Actually, I don’t have to imagine – it’s how most of industry manages, with specialist creators and designated specialist peddlers.

Such peddlers for individual creators however seem a bit scarcer.

There’s a lot of self-help advice for writers out there, but wading through all the stuff that’s good for one genre/age/gender/politic might not always right for the genre/age/gender/politic that one has written, so sifting through all of that can not only take a long time, but for some can be fatiguing to say the least, sucking away any enthusiasm or joy that might have been had for the process of attempting to earn coin from one’s labours.

I was hoping to be an expert writer, rather than an expert salesman. I was also hoping to be a writer with a published work before the end of this decade, but I’m starting to feel a more realistic goal is to be published – perhaps – before the end of this century.

This novel has waited over thirty-something years already. What’s another eighty-four?


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