Wednesday, 22 August 2012

There is a joke in my family that should my sister offer to make you a cup of tea it is best to decline.  First of all she can't bear to wait for the kettle to boil and secondly she can not wait for the tea to draw so what you end up with is a mug of pale beige, lukewarm water.  Patience is not one of her many virtues.

Ten years ago, publishing would have been a horrible world for her to join because it involved so much waiting*.  Waiting for an agent to reply, waiting for feedback, waiting for a publisher to offer that elusive deal.  Then, should it happen, waiting for the book to go through the publishing process - it took nearly two years from the original offer for my first book to come out in print.

But now anyone can publish anything, whenever they want to.  Just download the files and in an hour or so your book is available for the whole world to read.

I don't have a problem with this as such.  But I do know that when I wrote my first book I was convinced it was brilliant and was distinctly miffed that the publishing world didn't agree with me.  'What do they know?' I stomped around saying as yet another rejection letter turned up.

Then, after a good six months of sulking, I knuckled down and re-wrote it.  In the end I changed 90% of the first "brilliant" draft and the second version was snapped up (with the publisher giving me sackfuls of money for the privilege) and went on to be published around the world.

There's nothing wrong with being impatient and going for it, bypassing the whole waiting process.  But just be aware that you may end up with lukewarm beige water.

*Actually, Annie is a published non-fiction author.  She's still impatient though.

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