Why publishing is horrible

Well, of course it isn't! To be a writer, and know that there's a chance that you can bring people into the crazy world that's in your head...and to take things you find beautiful or strange or poignant and explore them and record them on paper...that is a true privilege.

But here are some other things that happen:

1. The books you love the most don't sell, and the ones you care about less do because they are more marketable.

2. You are thrilled one day because you think you finally have your manuscript where you want it, and then you read it again 24 hours later and your heart drops because it's awful.

3. You can't read anything you've written anymore because you've read it so many times.

4. You bring stuff to your writers' group and they say nothing helpful.

5. You bring stuff to your writers' group and they say, "Who's the audience?"

6. You are deciding between two directions to go in your story, and you're alone, and are not sure which one to take, and you don't want to do the hours of work until you know, but there is not a soul you can ask who will have the "right" answer, except maybe your agent, who has to market the thing, but you can't keep e-mailing your busy agent just because your toe hurts. Besides, you remember the other 9,000 times you were at this crossroads and you overcame it on your own. But it still feels sucky and you need to put in eight hours to figure it out. You might even need to write out and explore both ways...

7. You are a young writer in your early 20s (this is not my experience, don't worry) who gets 'discovered' and told all kinds of great things by your publishing company about how they will market you, and you just can't stand waiting until your book comes out because you will become famous. You are sure they will send you on tour and readers love you and quote you...and then the book comes out and it's just really really quiet. And you find out you have to do a lot of publicity yourself. And this thing you worked so hard for, that's nearly a miracle to happen, still means you're one of two million authors on Amazon.

8. You give a friend your writing and he tells you to go see some movie or read some book to make yours more like that one.

9. You hear about some kid who sold a novel just on a proposal, when meanwhile the rest of the world actually has to write the book first, and you just don't get it.
10. There is no number 10.
I'm sure this list makes you think I feel really bitter tonight or something, but I assure you that I'm NOT. I just figured it'd be interested to look at the downside.

Oh, I have a # 10 now...

10. You might get a cover that doesn't look like what you want to evoke with the book (note to my publisher if you are reading this: This is just a generic list, not a personal complaint. I promise - it's a common writerly complaint.)

Oh. #11

11. You have to worry every day that something will happen in the world that makes your manuscript irrelevant or unmarketable, or someone will do something too similar and make yours unsalable.


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