Getting published: a writer’s desperation for validation

We say we want to publish our novel, but what we really mean is, we want a publisher to choose us.

Infinity by Nic De Carlo

It can be paralysing, that very-real fear that all artists face, that their work is no good. (See my last piece)

Despite the manuscript being finished, with edits done and even with some modest praise coming from your intrepid early readers, still, there’s doubt. And this is where the desperation comes in, a desire for the soothing validation from the gate-keepers on high — the major publishing houses.

Not unlike the school-yard we want to be picked for the football team, we want to sit at the Mean Girls table.

Self-publishing is an option, but it does little to quell that evil little voice that whispers abuse and confidence-crushing derision in your ear.

The dream of course is that once you type those final words, THE END, then like magic, with only the briefest of pauses, the phone will ring and the book deals will start rolling in.

Of course getting published was never going to be easy, but the situation seems only to be getting worse. Amazon and e-books are eating away at the major-publisher’s market share, they’re taking on fewer new writers than ever before and the six-figure advance is a thing of the past.

And it’s never been about the size of the advance, it’s all about validation, a tick of approval. Which is why authors are so poorly paid, the desperate never make good negotiators.

As an aside dear reader, should you be lucky enough to meet a fledgling author who is not yet published, please take the following advice — under no circumstances, and I mean NO circumstances should you suggest to a dejected and frustrated writer that ‘all is well because even JK Rowling was rejected by dozens of publishers before Harry Potter got picked up!’ Just don’t do it, I implore you, it helps no-one.

Amidst it all I have begun to have a change of heart. I feel the warm embrace of validation drifting away, and instead I’m coming to terms with the reality that maybe I’m alone in this. Maybe the structure and foundations of the big publishing houses are a thing of the past. And instead, it will be an Amazon Kindle account for me. I’m no stranger to marketing or social media, the tools are all there, but still, there’s doubts.

I should add that I’m mired in this murky swamp of indecision and personal doubt without having submitted my manuscript to any agents or publishers. That’s still to come, this is all part of the process.

If anybody out there has some advice then don’t be shy, please do reach out.

I’ll stop there, tomorrow I want to dig deeper and try to find some truth in the much debated statistics around traditional vs self-publishing.

If you like the sound of my novel, and you can’t wait for it to hit the shelves, send me your email address and I’ll send you a free excerpt. But only if you promise to send me some brutally honest feedback ;)