True Stories Often Make Us Want To Throw in The Towel (But Then We’d Be Without A Towel, and That’s Even Worse)

January 14th, 2005 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

Hard as it is to believe, sometimes we think being a published novelist is worse than being an unpublished novelist. After all, people sympathize with the downtrodden, and we’ve pretty much perfected hangdog expressions. Published authors face all sorts of trauma (which Jill has helpfully detailed…we’re waiting for her latest adventure and accompanying life lesson). It is assumed you are rich if you have published a book. It is assumed you are willing to share your agent with everyone you meet. It is assumed that your publisher is standing sturdily behind you, helping your career blossom like you’re the only author on the house’s list.
For some authors, the truth of the publishing industry is ugly. For others, well, life’s already supplied the lemons:

And yet our colleagues, more accustomed to academic publishing and its minuscule markets, think of us as great successes, conquering heroes of the trade world. When they ask us to divulge the secret of how books sell, we gaze off into the distance and speak in sage aphorisms. When people buy them.

File Under: Square Pegs

2 responses so far ↓

  • Paul Clayton // Jan 14, 2005 at 9:11 pm

    Ah! Getting published! I could write a book, or open a vein… When my book, Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam, was named a finalist at the 2001 Frankfurt eBook Awards, everyone at work thought I’d be walking in the boss’s office any day to turn in my resignation. I knew better, having published three books prior, which they knew nothing of. But, this was different, and so I broke my silence. After Frankfurt, it took another two years to find a publisher – St. Martin’s. But it’s still a long hard slog, and all up to me. It may all come to naught. But I don’t give a damn. I’ll write ’em until they cut my arms off or put me in an asylum. Keep on writing and reading. Smash your TV. Hit the streets and pass out copies of your book. Let them lock their car doors, what do you care? Say it loud, I’m a writer, damn it. Now you read… or else. Watch the skies…

  • booksquare // Jan 20, 2005 at 10:32 pm

    Paul, congratulations on the St. Martins contract. I’ve met several editors there (and partied in their offices…great, grea view!). I want to be there with you some day. Thanks for sharing your story — when I quit my day job, my polite excuse was that I wanted to write full time (what…tell people that you had to leave or bad things might happen, and they’d be on the news?). Now, as they’ve dragged me back on consulting basis, I deal with the “when can we read…?” questions. I’m starting to think they’re starting to think I’m not quite as good as they thought.

    Or something like that!