After you’ve written a novel there is a long period of waiting to see if it will be published. You wait to learn if an agent will represent it. You wait to see if a publisher will print it. And if it is published you then wait to see if an audience will read and enjoy it. And while you’re waiting, there is always the nagging doubt and frustration about whether the novel was good enough.
I’m still at that first waiting point, so I often take notice of other books that are just coming out, and wonder about the decisions made in the publishing process, such as: Who will read this? Is the audience big enough to justify a print run? Why did the publisher choose this one?
To be honest, there are some books* I see whose allure for readers escapes me. Really, how many people are going to rush out to pick up a copy of Whose Fair?, the history of the St. Louis Exposition of 1904? Whoever those folks are, they may have to wait in line behind people clamoring for The North American Porcupine—second edition. Second edition? Are you telling me the first edition sold out?
I begin to have serious doubts. If this is what the public wants to read, what chance do I have with a novel about three American entertainers stranded in Paris on the eve of World War I who become involved in romantic and political intrigues?
Better I should go back to the keyboard and write something like Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World. I can see it now—first you take a 500-year-old onion… Or maybe I should try sports. Spartak Moscow, A History of the People’s Team in the Workers’ State made it to print; how about I take a couple of weeks and bang out a sports tome on…I’ve got it…The History of Hackeysack.
I suppose these titles should give me hope. If these volumes got published, perhaps there’s room on a bookstore shelf somewhere for mine.