Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Part Where You Deal With It

Most of my life has gone into seeking validation.

From the moment the thought formed that in order to attain validation for my writing, and by no simple extension myself, I have invested all of my energy in doing so. Decades now. Every hour and minute you can break down in those years, lost. I thought I had finally found it in 2007. I had sold my novel, The Book of Elizabeth, to a publisher. I had sold some short stories, and I thought - I knew - I had made it. All those years and frustrations, those bloody failures and false starts; justified. Redeemed. Validated.

Then the last three years went by without the book coming out. Without getting paid. Without any account for the delay. I never got a clear answer as to why - there was always a different reason, or easy deflection - so I don't know if it was that the book wasn't what they thought it would be. Or they just had no idea what to do with it. Or they found something new and shiny and like other authors, I was forgotten in the endless procession of acquisition. Whatever the real reason, it became clear this winter the book would never come out, I would never get paid, and with nothing to show for it, I was out the last three years of my life.

I was not going to let it be four.

I took the book back. I had three choices. 1) Do nothing. Cave in. Easy and attractive. 2) Try to sell it to a different publisher. Difficult and time intensive, but - validation! 3) Do it myself. Do what now?!?

Self-publishing - the use of the world self says everything you need to know about the perspective of the literary world on rogue writers - has come very far recently, thanks to the explosion of digital publishing. I sometimes wonder if I haven't found myself in this situation at the right moment. The option at least is there. The chance to guide my own work and my own art witbout interference, without prejudice, and without validation. Part of me still wants it. I suppose I always will. I exhausted the majority of my life seeking it, and there is nothing wrong in affrimation of your work - communication without acknowledgement, one way or the other, is just noise - but my life is my life, and my voice is my voice.

It's my voice to use how I see fit. If there is an answer or not, then at least I have spoken and I did not have to raise my hand for permission to do so.

I see this blog as a journal of this adventure in rogue writing. I will be presenting the progress of The Book of Elizabeth as it develops and finally - FINALLY - comes out this year, on a e-reader near you (and in print, too).

Wish me luck!