I can count how many books I’ve published on one fingerless hand, yet I’ve not enough digits and protuberances to count all the stories I’ve written.
I’ve written one novel so far that failed to get picked up. I’m working on my second and plan to query it next year. Will an agent go for that one? I don’t know. I certainly hope so. My writing has evolved over the years, and so have I (figuratively speaking until I grow that third arm I’ve always wanted). So it certainly has a better chance, but if you’re half as aware as a random earthworm about the publishing biz, you know it’s a tough, hard, challenging, arduous, difficult, formidable (thank you, thesaurus) road to get a story to print.
Certainly, there are self-pubs and smaller, yet still selective, presses that could increase your chances, but going the traditional agent-to-big-four is an almost impossible task that tens if not hundreds of thousands of people try each year. The odds ain’t good.
But TIM Lord, you may say, writing and publishing are two different things. I love to write, tell stories, create worlds and characters, and don’t care about publishing. Writing is for me and my circle of writerly friends. I don’t care if the world sees it.
To you, dear reader, I envy your literary Nirvana. But I still seek that enlightenment, and crave publication. It does not drive me, but I cannot admit that I am not motivated by it at all.
Last week I turned the big 4-0. I’ve been writing seriously for maybe six or seven years. Prior to that, my efforts were little more than musings or confined to research papers and science articles. Fiction is a different animal, as one kind agent once reminded me.
Seriously, don’t I have better things to do with my time at this point? Shouldn’t I be planning my retirement or buying a boat or playing pinochle or something? Hasn’t Sisyphus taught us anything? Will this boulder of book writing squash me the second time too? Or the third? Or fourth?
Because I’ve got seven more novel length story ideas that I 100% plan to write over the next several years, I am apparently a glutton for punishment if none of them are published. And you know what, I don‘t care. Those stories are already alive inside of me. There’s no way I won’t write them.
As a writer, you know there’s no substitute for writing. TV, cooking, cards, stamp collecting, zen gardening, even comic book collecting can never suppress that urge to write, to create worlds and tell stories, to create life in characters and reality from dreams.
Publication is still a goal if for no other reason than, why not? I’d be happy with self-pubbing or a small, indy press, that’s fine. When the time comes next, I’ll figure it out. These books are going to be written; may as well see if I can get a nice cover wrapped around them, eh?
Some might say, why bother trying? I prefer to say, why bother giving up?