Friday, October 16, 2020

Writing: Climbing The Mountain


 When you pick up a book, do you ever picture the writer? I don't mean looking at the picture on the book jacket. I mean, do you ever think of them as a flesh and blood entity who has hopes and dreams, needs and wants, the same as you? Do you ever wonder whether they write full-time (few have achieved this status) or steal a few minutes from their "day job" to put the words together? Are they self-published or is there a publishing house behind them? For that matter, do you ever even look at the book jacket to see who publishes them?

Most authors have a dream of having their name on a book jacket. Few attain it. Think of the stories behind the next book you read. I'm reading a series of novels right now by a woman who starts the first book with an author's note thanking the small publisher who "took a chance on an unknown author" and gave her a start. Then, there's the story (although it may be apocryphal) of the man who indie-published a novel and sold it out of the trunk of his car, but who is now a best-selling writer. I think it helps to know the background of the author. 

My own story involves a publisher who was getting a fiction line started, an agent to whom I just happened to send the first few chapters of a novel, and some luck. Whatever the circumstances, with few exceptions we have a mountain to climb before acceptance of our book comes along. Some never achieve the heights of which they dream, some do. But one thing marks the successful author. We keep on climbing. Even after we get to the first level, we keep on climbing. Because you're only as good as your last book, and none of us know when the book we're writing will be our last.

Think about all this when you next pick up a book. It will enhance your reading experience. I guarantee it.

5 comments:

Priscilla Bettis said...

I do think about the author's life when I read a book. Actually, not WHEN I read a book because hopefully I'm engrossed in the story, but afterwards. I just finished a book by Rayne Hall. She lives in Bulgaria, and the setting, food, the type of life she lives, and names of her area were sprinkled throughout the book. It was pretty cool.

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla, good for you. I think you're in the minority, but doing as we do definitely adds to enjoyment of the book.

Patricia Bradley said...

I do think of the authors, maybe because I am one and know what it's like to put your baby out there for people to criticize. Every book represents a hope and dream of the person who penned it. And that author you're talking about selling books from the trunk of his car...he lived near me once...and I personally think it's the best book he ever wrote. I just wished I'd bought one of those first editions...I've heard they're worth about $5000 now. lol

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I would have expected no less from you, including living near "author X" (whose work is excellent--except he hates to do research). Maybe a first edition of our books will be worth something someday.






Patricia Bradley said...

Richard, that author's mother taught my grandsons in Sunday School...he loved his mama, didn't much care for his daddy...