Because she believes in me
There’s a lot being said about publishing these days. The industry has changed, and is still changing. Self-publishing has come into its own, and vanity publishers are finding ways to try and shake off the “vanity” cloak by going hybrid, inter alia.
Traditional publishers and agents are running pitch fests in search of the elusive new book that will feed all. Free/low-entry writing competitions are now rare. Administrative costs obligent. Author platforms and marketing are the bottom line, but still only a small percentage of writers can make a living from actually writing.
Don’t give up the day job, whether it’s as a night porter allowing you to write by day between naps, or after a civil service job that pays the rent, or even between workshops and paid readings, some editing, teaching, modelling, cooking, you name it. It’s all grist for the mill.
That being said, I’m glad I’m old. I’m glad I’m not hungry anymore. I still have a bit of a day job, but I’m learning to keep calm and carry on. Carry on with writing. It’s tough. It’s a craft that demands attention. But it also demands the approach of a child: curiosity, daring, a lot of what if? This is what I nurture. Every new page is blank. But it can be filled, massaged, tweaked, discarded, and started all over again.
I’m on the last minus nth revision of an opus I started in 1993 and have just nailed what I believe to be the right structure. I’ve been going through notes and comments, feedback from writers received on various takes over the years and seeing them in a new light. Are they still valid? Many are in their own way as a prompt, a little needle to revisit this and that. Others I’ve chucked as part of my de-cluttering exercise.
So what has all this got to do with publishing and finding an agent? For me, the publishing side is on the back burner until I’ve got the opus the way it wants to and needs to be. The agent side, I don’t have to worry about. I’ve had one since my first draft and she has been there all the time helping me to grow. She hasn’t been telling me what to do to sell. She’s been helping me find my way as a writer. She believes in me.
So my aim is not to sell a lot of books, nor is it to write a blockbuster, have lots of fans, be on TV. My aim is to write the best book I can. Why? Because the story deserves it. And because someone I respect believes in me. That’s what helps children grow, and this old kid intends to keep growing.