A few times during the day I take a break from my work and sit in my quiet corner and daydream. I dream about stories I would love to tell and books that I would like to write; of course, the kind of stories that I personally like to read. Topics that I believe in and care about. To quote Orson Scott Card:
“Tell the stories you believe in and care about. Write them with truth and passion and clarity. If you write any other way, then what does it matter whether you sell it or not? No matter whose name is under the title, it will only be more of the same old thing.”
But then my censor kicks in and tells me to wake up and be real. That same censor asks:
Will an editor or publisher be interested enough in my ideas and (eventually my book) to want to buy it? Or do I need to look for an agent first? But then again in the digital world we live in do I still need a publisher let alone an agent for my book? Can’t I just publish it myself?
Well maybe I can. Despite the common belief that there is a decline in the novel or rather the readership, I personally think that at no time in the history of the novel has there been as many novels and stories published as today. Thanks to the advanced technology it is easy for us to publish and read digitally. People spend hours online reading. The internet, twitter, blogging and digital publishing have helped turn us global.
Of course I can, I convince myself, and with new hope I sit at my desk again and jot down all the different ideas I dreamt about. (Besides of all the books I read lately there were very few that I really liked. Some were so bad that after putting them down I was not only sorry that I wasted my time but felt kind of stupid to fail to see what was in those books that publishers saw and liked so much to even publish.)
What makes a book saleable? I wonder. Shall I write a book with the market in mind? Or shall I stick to my truth? That is, shall I write because I have my own themes, ideas, dreams, nightmares, characters and worldview, and give not one moment’s thought to what editors say they want? But then again:
“Authorship is only half of the process of publishing; being read is the other half. Write your story with the readers in mind.” Paul Burka writes.
Being a voracious reader myself the quality I look for in any story is originality. I look for the special way the author has told his/her story. To put it simply I look for the writer’s voice.
And as a writer I shall be looking for:
“A new tale to tell or a new way of telling an old one. No matter what genre you write in, it’s the writing voice that makes any one book stand apart from any other, and a new and different voice is a valuable thing.” Betsy Mitchell