There are too many visitors from the Vale of Despond hanging about the place at the moment. To be honest, I find their company tolerable at times (everyone enjoys a good weep), but I don’t like them to stay too long, if you understand me? I don’t like them snacking on my little yoghurt-pots of hope, or sleeping in my dream-space. I value my nice, happy dreams!
The currency they’re thriving on at the moment is the apparently cosmic numbers of books in publication (by one means or another) and the utter despair this should induce in those of us who hope to have our work read one day. Well, it doesn’t.
He whose words I quote and whose name I entirely forget suggested that there were ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics’. And by God sir, he was right!
Statistics which quote blandly from number totals are largely meaningless: in the case of published works, for example, they cover both fiction and non-fiction, long and short pieces – anything in the literary world which warrants an ISBN number. And ISBN numbers are often batched, taken up by publishers in advance to be used over a period, rather than issued individually.
Then there is the quality of the work. In any branch of the arts there are millions of wannabes, a lot of never-will-bes and a few – a precious few – who are. This is not exclusive to writing. It is true, also, of fine art, of dance, of theatre, of music….any endeavour you care to name. That’s the thrill of being an artist – one day someone will recognise your talent and bring it to the market place. No-one said it would be easy, no-one said it would be quick, but if it were either of those things it would not be worthy of the sheer joy and pride in accomplishment that recognition brings.
I have hit out in previous blogs at the system, and how it works. How rich is the field the literary agent reaps, and the need for some regimentation in the ebook market to help the reader to be more discriminatory and, more importantly, better informed. But it doesn’t stop me writing, and it won’t stop me trying. Not until at least a hundred thousand of that massy figure of published books are mine!