Monday, 5 July 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of the Unpublished Author

This blog will henceforth be dedicated to my ongoing attempts to get my books published. Political rants, when I feel sufficiently irate (unusual, given that we've got the government I've been praying for for the last five years, even with the LibDems orbiting St David of Cameron) can be found over on marasunamusings, however, will be a daily (or thrice weekly, depending on how the mood takes me) chronicle of what it is to write - and to be rejected.
Writing is the easy part. Also a necessity. If I am prevented from scribbling down my thoughts, I descend into uncontrollable melancholy/rage. I can't sit and plan out what I'm going to write, as if I were trying to produce a 1st class Tripos essay. It is rather as though I'm watching a film, the salient details of which I must record before they are lost forever. But, at the same time, I am my characters: young and old, male and female, I become them. When I write them, I speak through their lips, descend into the darkest depths of their psyche and out of the abyss; yet, simultaneously, they are entirely distinct from me and the dearest of friends. I know them better than anyone on earth. If one of them dies, I am distraught.
Writing is an endless joy. I refuse to cease until I've used up all my words. But it is a process of immense betrayal also. One uses the interesting parts of friends' and loved ones' characters and discards the rest. Their innermost thoughts, secrets, pain, all becomes grist for the mill, translated by a traitorous pen into a gripping narrative in a world that would otherwise not take interest. One's moral compass is always pointed Due Self-Interest. It also offers a satisfactory vehicle for vengeance. If someone has irritated one for a long period of time, one can immortalise them. Exegi monumentum and all that.
Being published is an entirely different cup of tea. Learning to commodotize oneself is appallingly different, if not morally and philosophically suspect. Picking up the telephone with sweating hands to call an agent in order to see if they're interested in reading one's stuff, only to have them bang it down with a tart 'no', receiving rejections with such lines as 'your work isn't suited to the talents in our agency' (say what??? Anyone who can decipher what on earth that means wins a Prize) or 'this really isn't one for our list', the 'really' heavily underscored, is a tremendous blow to one's amour propre. It is difficult to ascertain whether the agents play Jenga with unread manuscripts and only flick through those which land at their feet, or whose title starts with 'A', or if they are even bothering to take on new works (but haven't bothered to say as much on their websites). Or is it merely a case of not What You Know but Whom You Know?

1 comment:

  1. Getting your books published can be quite difficult these days. It's true that many publishers will reject what you have written. But, I still think there are publishers who will risk, go for, and believe in your ideas. It's just that it takes time to find these kind of publishers. Anyway, there's the internet where you can get your random, meaningful ideas published and appreciated by people. Sooner or later, someone will be interested to publish your book.


Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat -Ralph Ellison