I have this number in my head that keeps going up. Three more edits… five… seven. This after reading my book for the umpteenth time, and after having beta readers edit it for me. It makes me wonder how the hell books ever manage to get published in the first place. I imagine some grammar robots spinning through the book the way Christopher Reeve did as Superman (what was he reading?), catching mistakes that somehow always sneak past me. It makes me wonder what happens to our brains when we write that allows for such complete and utter negligence. Does being in the zone suck up so much focus that grammar falls by the wayside? I imagine that for any time other than our own this would have been perfectly acceptable. It was enough for writers to keep their writing organized – let alone coherent – that the mundane was forced on others out of sheer necessity. Now that we have the tools to do so ourselves the burden falls on us. This wouldn’t be entirely troublesome if I wasn’t so damned neurotically inclined to execute every widow and orphan (words that dangle from paragraphs, laughing at me behind hideous stretches of open space) from my book.
Speaking of unfortunate technological baggage, what’s with this whole author platform trend?
[Literary Agent] : Yeah, we’re going to need a platform to demonstrate whether or not you’re marketable.
[Me] : I’m sorry, what?
[Literary Agent]: A platform. A base of people interested in your work. You can go about this using [insert latest tech craze here].
[Me]: You want me to market myself? I thought that was your job.
[Literary Agent]: The truth is marketing budgets aren’t what they used to be. Authors are expected to shoulder the costs.
[Me]: Okay, so let me get this straight. I spend three years writing a book while working as a waiter (refuse to freelance – see Be Kind to Your Muse for reasons why), risking my entire career in the process, and you’re telling me that before you even look at it I have to spend god knows how much time trolling the internet in an attempt to seduce people to follow/friend/like me???
[Literary Agent]: I’m afraid so. Everyone’s doing it.
[Me]: Fuck you.
That’s how the conversation would have gone if my balls weren’t chopped off every time I speak to someone ‘in the biz.’ Still, here I am, whoring my creativity for all to see. Funny thing is, I may have over reacted. There is something substantially fulfilling about meeting so many interesting and like-minded people. On the flip side, I should be editing…
Oh right. I should be editing. Peace.