Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Perils of Publishing

by Anna Jones Buttimore

I just had a Eureka moment on my latest novel. Well, maybe "latest" is stretching it a bit and "current" would be more appropriate. I wrote it several years ago, and am reworking it to resubmit it and try to get accepted by my lovely shiny new publishers, Leatherwood Press. On rereading it when it was initially suggested that I dust it off, I realised why Covenant rejected it. It's dull. It's probably the least thrilling thriller ever penned - or tonered, or whatever we should say these days. The bad guys are caught by page 100, and the hero and heroine engage in a predictable and plodding romance for the next fifty pages or so until the wholly predictable proposal on the final page. I was relieved to get to the end and quite certain that nothing I could do to it would ever make it worth the time I spent on it.

Then, quite out of the blue on Sunday afternoon, a plot twist popped into my head which would completely change the whole dynamic, and suddenly I am loving writing again and seeing my dreary manuscript slowly mutate into what I hope will be an edge-of-the-seat keep-'em-guessing fast-paced truly thrilling thriller. I'll let you know. Or, hopefully, you'll let me know when you'v read it.

What I'm getting at is that writing is actually really hard work, and not terribly well paid when the hours spent are factored in. I'm convinced no one would do it if not for the actual love of the creative process itself, especially those wonderful "Eureka" moments.

A recent article in the Law Society Gazette (which is possibly even less thrilling than the first draft of Kept in Trust) about solicitors who are also authors raised two points that made me start nodding furiously to myself and mentally muttering “Amen”. First, a quote by Sean Longley, a London lawyer and author, who said, “You are built up to the idea that [getting a book published] is great and magical and life-changing, and it’s not. It just becomes something that you have done.”I have rarely read anything so true (with acknowledgements and apologies to Holy Scripture). Holding your book in your hands is a wonderful moment, but people don’t bow and scrape as I walk past, and I still have to trudge though the rain to collect the children from school. Once the “Oh, you wrote a book, how clever!” comments have run their course, everyone politely forgets that they have a genius in their midst, and no one really wants to hear about what I’m working on at the moment.

Another author mentioned in the piece commented “Staying published is as hard, if not harder, than getting published in the first place.” Further nodding and muttering on my part. Covenant just turned down my latest masterpiece, the once I designed specifically to appeal to their audience (exotic location, romance, comedy and intrigue) and before that it took me six years to get a publisher for Easterfield.

Anyway, I have had something else published very recently. A Letter to the Editor of the Law Society Gazette, congratulating him on such a pertinent and excellent article.


Annette Lyon said...

Painfully, painfully true!

Best of luck reworking that thriller!

Jennie said...

Anna, you are so right. By the way, I've tried a couple of times to comment on your personal blog, but couldn't get it to work.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Great blog entry, Anna. And so very true. ;)

Jeri Gilchrist said...

LOL. I loved your line, "Everyone politely forgets that they have a genius in their midst"

This was such a great post, Anna! You always write such great posts. They're funny and thoughtful, but so, so, true. And for what it's worth, I haven't forgotten, I think you're a genius.
:) Good luck with that thriller. Can't wait to get my hands on it.