I watched Oprah interview J.K. Rowling the other day – in fact the day before I finished writing the first book I’ve completed that I think is publishable. I’ve written 5 others, 4 of which are truly embarrassing – thank God nobody would publish them – and one which had potential. So fine, I’ll work on that one. But this one? This one I’m very happy with. My mind is a much more organized animal now than it used to be. Good thing too.
Well the writing was challenging and fun and rewarding and a pain in the arse sometimes. But overall, it moved along nicely and I never lost sight of where it was going for longer than a day or two, when my inner critic would kick in and yell at me – you think anybody’s going to want to read this? Why would they? It’s crap!!! Yes, those days happened, but somehow I got beyond them. What the hell, every writer worries about that at some point. I just decided that even if it was true I might as well finish the book and see for myself.
So the book is done. I typed that tiny word “END” with a smirk and a whoopedy doo-dah, and felt a rush of energy which kept me awake until 3 in the morning. Today I started on my quest to find appropriate publishers and possibly agents. Well, I only want one of each, of course. I asked in a book shop whether I should send my manuscript to lots of publishers all at once, and the person said no, because the publishing world is a small one and you don’t want everybody to think of you as being desperate. So send it to a few select publishers.
I thought what a load of bollocks. As if all the publishers who receive my manuscript are in the habit of calling each other up and finding out if Jennifer Stewart also sent them this damn book she’s written. So, I’m making my list and my letter of enquiry is going to as many appropriate publishers as I can find. I think it’s a fine book with a big potential market and will make some lucky publisher a fortune. Me too. None of this cap in hand crap for me.
So, I’m on my way with this. But enough about me, and back to Oprah and J.K. Rowling. I was so inspired to hear her talk about how she was on the dole, and at one point got so poor she was nearly on the street. Then she wrote her book. Oprah asked her if she knew somehow that it would be successful. J.K. said she knew it might be difficult to find a publisher, but that once she did, her book would take off. Well, 12 really dumb publishers (who must all be kicking themselves now) turned her down. Now she’s the wealthiest author in history.
It’s impossible for me to have invested so much energy and brain power and heart stuff into a book without believing it will touch people’s hearts and be successful. I’m going to let myself have that dream and the enormous pleasure of it while I go about the practical business of getting published, and I won’t let the challenges of that stop me. I’m going to carry on imagining Oprah phoning me one day and saying “this book – I couldn’t put it down”, and being on the New York Times best seller list.