The mecca of any newbie writer’s wildest dream. (Second only to being a New York Times bestseller)
But THIS newbie writer, still wet behind the ears? Yikes!
Look, I’ll be honest. To harbor thoughts of publishing? It’s THE scariest thing I can think of right now.
In many ways, I’m even putting the proverbial cart before the horse when I speak of publication! After all, my manuscript’s barely scraped past a second or third draft as of now. And absolutely NO literary agent, editor or publisher has yet laid eyes on it (to offer advice).
No one at all.
Nor would I let anyone see it yet, given its current disheveled state! After all, I didn’t previously call it my “first vomit draft” for nothing!
And as far as the world’s concerned, any talk I have about writing and publishing a book so far is just that.
Even if this so-called book actually materializes and I take it to the printing press, I doubt I could bear it if no one buys it.
And given my naïveté of the complexities of the write-to-publish world, made more complex now by digital disruption, I’m gonna need more than a compass and a map to navigate this leaky boat to my mecca!
It’s quite literally (pun fully intended)…
Many times when I write, I feel like Ethan Hunt, the character mega Hollywood star Tom Cruise plays in that still-ongoing blockbuster franchise Mission Impossible (“MI 7” hits the big screens next year).
Remember that iconic scene you see above? Where Ethan’s suspended for dear life over a computer to retrieve top-secret information?
Gosh! I feel like that so often when I’m writing.
Suspended in mid-air, I mean, mid-sentence or paragraph.
Sweat, not creative juice, beating down my brow.
Straining to type even as my fingers and wrists are aching like crazy.
Suspense-filled because I often don’t know how my writing’s gonna end.
Suspecting Ethan, I mean me, will ultimately come up empty!
Pity procession to publication
Oh, what the heck!
Since I’m already on this pity procession, let’s just throw in all the confetti, I mean cliches for a guy about to embark on a seemingly impossible project – the road to “publication mecca”!
Biting off more than I can chew.
Spreading myself too thin.
Running myself to the ground.
Burning the candle at both ends.
Wearing myself to a shadow.
Having too many irons in the fire.
Working myself to the bones.
Juggling too many balls in the air.
It’s how I feel each time I stare blankly at my manuscript in all its original mess. I just can’t help but wonder what possessed me to think I can publish this when I can’t even get to the second or third draft?
What’s worse is I actually met a local publisher this week and had that all-important first conversation — the kind newbie writers like me dream of but never dared believe would happen.
The kind that gave me the low-down realities of today’s publishing world (it’s bleak!), but also the unbelievable hope that my book idea might “have legs” (traction).
Yeah, I almost missed that too!
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
You see I should first tell you what transpired. The meeting with that publisher was brokered by a friend of mine (bless her heart). Having read an excellent book made possible by this publisher, I was so glad we had a mutual friend who could link me up. (My friend was also the one who first introduced me to the book)
The meeting started off well enough, with me sharing my book idea and this patient publisher laying bare the stark reality of how challenging publication is today.
Nothing earth-shatteringly surprising. Still, to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth (aren’t I on a roll today with my liberally-sprinkled metaphors?!) just feels like someone’s rung the death knell on my pity procession louder than the bells of St Paul’s!
So whatever notion I had of being the next Hemingway or Rowling (good golly did I just align myself unabashedly to legends?!) can pretty much go out the window, never to return.
Yet despite the harsh truth, there was another truth this publisher shared that helped to restore in me a much-needed sense of…
In the end, regardless if a publication sells, it’s all about the raw and authentically lived story that’s found in it; that needs to be told.
Because the human race has always been drawn to stories of transcendence. The kind with a pull of the “universal theme”; one that speaks to the challenges of our times.
We all have such stories, possibly many more than we think. If only we knew where and how to dig it up.
And as far as this publisher goes, I’ve apparently managed to dig up mine quite successfully!
To top it off, there was even an open invitation for me to (gulp) share one or more of my existing draft chapters if I desire to.
Is that the sound of a publication window slowly opening? Dare I hope it is?
Again, I’m probably getting way ahead of myself.
Whether it is or not is beside the point.
What’s really important now is: Do I have the desire to pursue this book idea, this passion project, to its logical end?
Like all book ideas, there is also the question of shelf life to consider. Not everything stays forever popular like the Bible (still the most popular publication sold and distributed worldwide).
So what to this publisher may seem a timely tome of a book now, might prove in less than, say two years, pretty much run-of-the-mill!
Meaning if I don’t wanna miss this write-to-publish bandwagon, I best hop on to it now!