Monday, July 05, 2021

Schroedinger's Book

(Author's note - just noticed this falls into line with Thomas's post last week!)

The last time we were all together I mentioned that I had completed the final draft of my latest.

Obviously this is not the one coming out in the UK next month (which is called A RATTLE OF BONES, by the way, in case anyone from dear old blighty is reading this). No, that one was completed so long ago I've forgotten what it was about.

I joke, of course. I know there's a murder in there somewhere.

Here's a pic of the cover, just because I can and the site admin is off enjoying the July 4 celebrations as I write this:

Anyway, the one to which I have only recently appended the legend THE END won't hit shelves until some time next year and, as the authors among us will know, there is an entire process to go through before then. I may have typed those two little words but, sure as God made those little green things that grow on trees, it really ain't.

This is a nervous time for the traditionally published. As you read this, the manuscript will be with my publisher and sooner or later someone there will read it.

Will they like it?

Will they (gulp) hate it?

Will they contact their legal representative to begin proceedings to have the advance returned forthwith, henceforth and to wit the aforesaid?

(Fat chance - I've spent it.)

It is only the first point in the journey from imagination to printed page during which the author's undergarments begin to bunch as the imposter syndrome takes hold.

There's the reviewing portion of the process and then when it finally heads out into the wide world to the strains of Born Free. It will make its own way in the jungle of books. Survive or die. Sink or swim. 

Of course, between where the book is now - that strange netherworld between acceptance and publishers sending the boys round to have a word - and where it will be  comes the editing stage.

My approach to this is simple - we're all trying to make the create the best book we possibly can so it's best to get along. That doesn't mean I accept everything my various editors have suggested, sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully, only once drawing an edged weapon and threatening me with physical harm. (I made that last bit up, by the way. I have never enraged an editor so much that they go all Rambo on me. Well, not yet anyway.)

I will accept and compromise where I believe it is in the best interests of my book and my artistic integrity. Yes, even I burst out laughing at that last bit. However, I will also stand my ground if I believe something is necessary.

But that is a good way in my future. For now and for a short time, to paraphrase bestselling author Ian Rankin on his own work, I have written the best book in the world.

But my opinion matters little.

In reality, it is like Schroedinger's Book - neither good nor bad until that figurative box is opened.

I'm rooting for the former, though. 


Thomas Kies said...

I loved this post, Douglas!

Douglas Skelton said...

Thanks, Thomas. I enjoyed yours, too, but didn't catch it until after I'd posted!