Well, Goal 1 achieved and the 20,000 word barrier broken. Currently 21,131 so no great leap forward but something. This one seems slow going but I know that whilst it may seem hard to write a book, especially at the beginning when all you have is a blank page, it is a hundred times harder to get it published. Traditional publishing that is, where you see your book in print on the bookshelves of popular retailers.
Let me say now that I have had no training, taken no courses nor earned a degree in creative writing. I only know what I have experienced in my long quest to acquire the Holy Grail – a publishing contract.
They say that everyone has a book inside them and that appears to be the case these days. Every man, woman and their gerbil seems to be writing a book. Watch any quiz programme and at least one contestant is writing a book in their spare time. Celebrity quiz shows are even worse because it is more like 3 out of 4 celebrities are writing books.
There is a sea of new stories out there then, probably more like an ocean, and only a few waves make it to shore. (The fact that there are loads of new stories out there but we see too many reboots of old shows and films is … well, another story.)
Generally, publishing houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts and any budding author needs to attract the attention of a literary agent. There are a finite number of these and each one can only handle so many clients. It is a commercial business and who is likely to make money, a famous celebrity or an unknown new author? Am I saying that because there are loads of celebrities writing books these days that the unknowns have even less chance of attracting attention? No, I cannot say that because I have no evidence – big CSI fan – but as a Vulcan might have said, logic dictates.
This was not the case when I first put pen to paper in 1981, just to see if I could actually write a book. You could send work to publishers then and in hindsight I did not push this enough. I did not know the procedure and I assumed if one publisher did not like it there was no point sending it to another.
It was then that I learned my first lesson. Never, ever, pay to see your book published. It was vanity publishing the first time I fell for it and an author’s contribution the second time.
I have 3 books on Amazon Kindle but have not succeeded as yet in obtaining a traditional publishing contract. I try every now and again to catch a literary agent’s eye but am still at the moment a slush puppy.
The thing is, I have to keep asking the same question. Do I deserve to be published? All I have to go off is one thing. Reviews, I have a few, but then again, too few to mention. No, scrap that, reviews may be the subject of the next post.