June 29, 2010


I’ve edited 40 pages of my novel so far. The work has been slow, painstaking and I’d love to believe it will be my last rewrite; but I know it isn’t. I’ll rewrite it again before I send it off to my personal editor. She’ll go over it, find errors I have missed and I’ll be surprised, as always. But that’s what an editor does. She perfects my work, not my ego. I am grateful for every jab of her pen for I prefer that she find the flaws and not an agent or publisher.

I have a friend who’s decided to do away with publishers. He’ll produce his books himself. Several writers I know are considering self-publishing. One is an award winning author. “Why pay a company that does nothing for me yet expects to retain most of the profits. If I have to write and promote my work, why shouldn’t I print it too and keep the whole purse?”

I hear the irritation in her voice and know her analysis is correct. Neither small nor mid-list authors get much support from their publishers. Care is reserved for the big names in the business. But in defense of these stars, I remind myself that their success provides publishers with sufficient profit to give new writers a chance. The same is true for the small publisher. When one of my books sell, I imagine a letter of acceptance goes out to some new author, the way a bell rings every time an angel gets its wings.

So, I stick with the system — courting it, reviling it and suffering the sting of its rejection. I’ll never get rich from writing. I won’t even get back my costs. Assuredly, I’ll never be famous. As a local politician I had a little taste of fame and didn’t much care for it. The truth is, I write for the joy of it. I write to explore ideas and aspects of character. I write because I’m fascinated by life in all its manifestation. If staying in the system makes it possible for someone else to do the same, then I’ll have lived a wonderful life.