Monday, March 7, 2011

One big jar of fickle....

On Sunday evening as I was reading my SO said "whatcha doin?" and I said "study". My diploma in children's lit course has started and I am trying not to let it get away on me because the required reading is prodigious. He said, "don't you already have enough on your plate?" and I said "yes". Um, I think I have taken on too much.

But I am going to keep on blogging because it helps me gather my thoughts and warm up for writing. A gathered thought can be a very handy thing and flexing your writing muscles should be regular - its so easy to get out of shape.

So here goes. It is very easy to say something is broken when it doesn't work for you. If only 'A' happened than 'B' would follow. Well folks the book industry is just one big jar of fickle. As much as everyone wants a constant stream of winners on their hands and we want to be part of that stream, nothing is 'sure-fire'. No one is 'sure' what they want, publishers and readers alike, until they have it in their hands. It isn't broken - this is just how it works. If 'A' then 'B', 'C' or even 'F' is possible. Most likely 'F'. Yes publishing is a business but for most writing is not - there will always be a mismatch between the intentions and needs of these two. Yes good readers read fine writing but commercial books will always sell more. Yes the local shops are awash with imported books but they are still only a fraction of all books published overseas and it probably is more a two way street than I care to imagine. Yes some books are dreck but some readers love dreck with a passion and why shouldn't they. This is part of the beauty of the system - tastes and opinions vary. And what really sells books? Word of mouth and viral marketing, but these are out of our control. Luck is an undeniable element in the success or failure of our writing and publishing endeavours. Does it do my head in? Every week. Sometimes twice a week. Every day if its a bad week. Then I wake up the next morning and get right back in the saddle. It is not surprising that people who don't write don't always get why other people slave over something which might never see the light of day. Maybe its a disease. Having a disease is a good excuse for all my irrational behaviours so, for now, I choose not to be cured.

1 comment:

Old Kitty said...

I'm privileged to be witness to a few friends who are just published but I have to say I'm completely aghast at what these same friends have to do with the marketing/publicity side of selling their books.

I don't think I have the thick skin or the stomach for what these fab people have to do. I hurt when I read hurtful reviews of their work (knowing how they've slaved over their book for years and years!), I despair when bookshop after bookshop don't stock their novels because they don't fall into the "celebrity" writers category. I cringe when I see them attend signings, talks, workshops and having to court as much publicity by any means necessary... only to find "the public" could be so cruel either by their indifference or their vitriol.

I realise now more than ever that being published is only the start of a long, arduous haul - I don;t think I have the stomach for it. So to those in it for the whole journey, I salute you!

Take care