Why Do We Do It To Ourselves?
In today’s literary marketplace, while a tiny minority of books become million sellers, most do not.
There comes a time when most of us who are committed to writing have to ask ourselves a fundamental question – why do we bother to do it?
We spend months, years even, agonising over, and getting a storyline out of our systems onto paper, or computer screen, sacrificing a normal existence and suffering sleepless nights. And then when we are relatively happy with it, we send it off to our publisher like a proud parent watching their offspring going to school for the first time.
Like all proud parents, we wish nothing but the very best for our ‘child’, and yet that moment of final separation is when doubt and extreme anxiety enter our souls. Will our ‘child’ be alright? Will it be treated in the best possible way once it is out of our hands?
Nothing within the world of books and publishing is an absolute given. As the doting parent of that literary ‘child’, deep down we want nothing less than a one hundred percent assurance that it will be nurtured by the publisher we send it to.
To write a book which grabs the reader’s attention is not an easy task. The whole thing is largely down to pure luck. Coming up with a concept that no other writer has used before is difficult in the extreme, especially these days when the market is being flooded by so much dross.
If you want your ‘child’ to be able to be seen bobbing around amongst the rest in the sea of rubbish currently available, it simply has to appeal to a wide audience. After all, the days of people having the time, or indeed the inclination, to want to sit down with a book and to hell with everything else, are sadly gone.
To put it another way, your ‘child’ has to compete in a marketplace designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator intelligence wise, which is saturated with endless numbers of mind numbing biographies, ghost written for shallow so called celebrities, or the plethora of cook books, Mills & Boon style romances, and the ever increasing number of poorly produced self-published works. Not an easy task when you take the time to think about it. Don’t get me wrong here; some self- published books are excellent. Most however are not.
And so I say – why do we bother to do it? Personally I believe it is simply because I have an overwhelming desire to write, and a tendency towards inflicting completely unnecessary mental torture upon myself. As for the rest of the writers in this world, you will have to ask them why it is they bother, bearing in mind the anxiety we all face when finally letting go of our cherished ‘child’.
Have a great year.