I am writing this tonight having just received my first shipment of the latest novel I have written. Three long hard years. And they were quite hard at times. Writing, getting published, and seeing the book for the first time, truly is a process. In some ways I think I have sweated over this story, fretted over the edits, and obsessed over whether or not we had gotten everything “just right” with the proofs, to the point of almost taking some of the fun out of it. But only some. I still wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
I have already started reading it again. I have read it at least twenty times. I have rewritten it three. (not that many for a commercially published novel, some authors have to rewrite as many as 20 times. That’s something I am proud of)
It doesn’t surprise me anymore. The first few times I read the later drafts, I would have moments where I would say, “Humm….that’s pretty good. I can’t believe I wrote that section.” or “Wow, I really like this passage.” I can honestly say that there are no spots that I just dont like. I had one or two passages like that in the book I wrote with Dan, The Rain: A Story of Noah and the Ark. That has nothing to do with Dan or The Rain and everything to do with where I am now as a writer as opposed to where I was then. I have done this once now. I got feedback from well over a hundred readers. I guess I retained some of it and improved a bit. My initial reviews from editors at publishing houses confirmed that.
Want to see my baby pics? – I could pratter on and on. I mean lets face it. This is my baby. I have ridden for miles, alone in my car, talking to the characters, asking them why they did this or that. And yes, by now, they are quite real to me. What was once just an idea I had during my morning coffee is now a finished novel and will be in bookstores. You cant help but get attached.
The work– I dont think anyone who has not published a novel can truly understand the sweat equity that I have poured into this. I dont say that in a self serving way, or at least I dont mean to, it just….IS.
This Aint no big deal– What I really started to blog about tonight is….SO WHAT? I wrote a book. Have I accomplished anything? Ten or fifteen years ago I would have said, “definitely yes”. But now, with so many blogs, so many tweets, so many people able to get their writing out there, I must say it feels a bit less “special”. Yet when I look at the statistics, so few people actually make it to this point. I think the numbers are something like:
- Ten per cent of the authors that set out to write a novel , actually ever complete the manuscript.
- Of that ten per cent, less than one per cent of those ever get published, (excluding self published works)
- Then of all books that ARE published, 80% sell less than 100 copies.
There are just such a HUGE number of books out there.
Still, getting published has not made me feel that I have succeeded.
Some would only consider it a success if Going Green becomes a big hit and I am suddenly a full time writer but that is highly unlikely. Writing is not that lucrative so I am not going to hold the definition of success to that high a standard.
If people read this story, (not just friends but even strangers…especially strangers) and say to themselves, “I was thoroughly drawn in by this story…and it really made me think as well”, if people tell me of laughing at parts I meant to be funny, of being scared during parts where I intended to induce fear, if they care about the characters and what happens to them, and most of all, if some give me the ultimate compliment, “I couldn’t put it down…” Then I will consider myself a success. THEN this will seem like a big deal.
I am about to get the verdict!!