Having taken a year’s sabbatical and written eight books – two literary fiction, two popular fiction and three children’s – it is time to start getting them out there. And, true to popular report, they are returning like homing pigeons, rather battered from the journey if they went out in hard copy. The submissions that went out by email are in better shape physically when they return, bearing the usual delightful ideas – terribly interesting – extremely evocative writing labels. But even these kindly form comments can’t hide the fact that they only exist to mask the inevitable next word – ‘unfortunately.’
Would I prefer the rejections to contain the words, deeply unappealing pile of garbage? Probably not. But the pleasant, meaningless words don’t manage to fulfil their function, which is to inform me that, yet again, a professional in the field doesn’t find my work acceptable, enjoyable or marketable enough for them to take a chance on hiking it round to the publishers.
So, while I polish and perfect the manuscripts I have already written and work on the next three, I’m going to put some of the existing work out into the ether and see what reaction it gets from real readers. The people who know what they want to read as a pose to being told that the publishers know what readers want. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. I suspect they mostly do but there may be readers out there looking for something that the agents and publishers aren’t.
And if my suspicion turns out to be wrong, then the sooner I return to the day job, the better.