There has been a good amount of discussion going on over at another writer-friend’s cavern on the subject of getting published. This friend* of mine entertains dreams of such worthy aspirations, as do many of us that huddle around the home fire he keeps going there. The ambiance he provides is warm and friendly, and interspersed among the sharp wit and humorous banter that often occurs after any one of his articles or stories hits the airways of Blogdom*, one is left with some serious points to consider, well after departing. He is an intelligent man, and for many years has given this notion lots of thought.
It is a perplexing and elusive journey to be on, getting published, and I know this after spending a few days browsing through a 2005 copy of Writers Market, a thick and comprehensive tome that claims to be “The #1 resource for writers since 1921”. My volume now sits and gathers dust on a bookshelf in the communal area of my own cave.
But I learned of this informative book years ago (working as a paste-up monkey in another crazed field of magazine layout, infested with ego-driven editors and prima donna art directors). The new copy, along with its wise advice, has in its current version some personal interviews with noted journalists, among them the humorist, Dave Barry. For his part, he offers some thoughtful and sobering insights into the puzzle of how to succeed in this confusing market. In other areas, the news can be almost disheartening with its harsh realities of the publishing world exposed. The field is not for the faint-hearted, nor the thin-skinned.
The business is strictly dollar-oriented, and cares little for the artist or feelings or beliefs held dear. This is where the balance is set, and with the torrential amount of books that hit the stands every month, this is a good and sensible thing to be so harsh. We will never agree that all books that do get published are worthy, but who has time to read every new offering to begin with?
So here I sit in my cave, pecking out letters one at a time, stringing words together into some sort of order, fancying this one or disdaining that one, and where does it get me in the final end?
All I can say is that the challenge of making the white screen go grayer with some amount of electronic ink is something else to behold, and it sure beats watching pixels dance on the other light box, the television. At least the fun I am having gets a few responses from others whom must certainly feel the same way.
*You will be able to identify him by the comments he leaves here.
*Appropriate Word substitute for hopeful writers: Bludgeon