Thursday, September 27, 2012

Braving the Slush Pile & the Intoxication of Print

Well the time has come for me to be brave. My completed manuscript of The Goodwin Agenda sits snugly in the depths of microchip darkness. My query letter is formulated, my synopsis repeatedly revised and reduced, and my target list of agents at hand. After years of research and labor I am finally ready to mail the letters, to stick that stamp to the all-important SASE, and consign my novel to the depths of the slush pile. Hoping that some incandescent phrase, some witty turn of speech, might catch an agent's eye. Hoping that amidst the stacks of dreams mine might prove enduring. I have investigated e-publishing and am aware that there are increasingly sophisticated packages available for an aspiring author who wants to go that route.

 I have not gravitated towards e-books myself, and still literally lust after that moment when I first open the cover of a new book and run my fingers across the title page: there is something special...something exquisitely intoxicating about the anticipation of  words, phrases, and paragraphs waiting to be read. There are so many talented writers published today, each with their own unique style; I remain in awe of these finely-honed subtle skills, the deft literary sleight of hand evident in characters that leap off the page and plot lines that have you enthralled despite the call of routine and the necessity of sleep.

I have a stack beside my bed of recent purchases that I have not yet had an opportunity to read - from recent archaeological investigations of ancient Egypt, botanical insights into the whys and wherefores of plant growth, a comparative analysis of Spanish and English colonial policies in the New World, gravity's engines and the role of black holes in the formation of the universe, and lastly a new edition of American Short Stories. Quite simply I never have enough time to read. I have stacks upon stacks of books from floor to ceiling, sagging the planks of homemade bookshelves, crowded beside chairs and stretching across counters. I could quite willingly give up most or any of my possessions but would fight fiercely for retention of my books.

So when the choice comes I much prefer my novel to be a published book of the traditional variety. While I understand the often insurmountable difficulties associated with breaking into the industry as a first-time author, to be able to place The Goodwin Agenda beside my be able to run my fingers over the title page in anticipation of turning to that first paragraph...well, I have hope. And tenacity. And optimism. And come what may I will always write. Because that is what I do, and that is what makes me happier than anything else in this world.

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