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20,000 leagues under the sea

You write a book. Then you rewrite it several times until you’re sick of the sight of it. Then you send it out to the gatekeepers, those shadowy creatures whose job it is to pick the nuggets from the literary dross.  Two things will most likely happen. One, your book will be rejected countless times. Two, you will become disillusioned with the whole process and consider giving up.

The next step in this desperate business is the decision to self publish. You take your mammoth opus, honed on the anvil of bitter experience, and upload it to Amazon, there to await the great reading public’s fickle attentions. Your book sells one copy, two copies, in the space of a month. You rejoice, inspired by visions of huge success.

Then nothing.

What could be wrong? Why the spectacular failure? The general public’s refusal to recognise your latent genius?

Remember this.

No-one cares about your book. It lies neglected on the ocean floor, many leagues beneath the sunlit surface where no-one can see it. And while the McEwans and the Grishams of this world bask in the glory of unimaginable sales figures … you have nothing.

But wait.

This isn’t the end. You can’t abandon your child now after all the hours you’ve laboured on its conception. You have a job to do. You must go forth and take up its cause like an evangelical preacher.  Sing its praises to all corners of the world. Convince people to read it, with bookmarks and postcards and threats of gentle coercion.

Believe in your book and things will start to happen. The plates on the ocean floor will shift. The water level will rise causing a subtle but noticeable shift in your Amazon sales ranking. Joy will once again pierce the nub of your weary bosom.

And if that doesn’t work, take the easiest option.

Give up.

Go back to your former occupation digging ditches.

But then, like the man who stopped digging, three feet short of gold, you’ll never know.

Will you?

Published inBlog