On Writing

     I’ve been thinking about why writers want to tell stories, and why people want to read stories. Every once in a while, I come across a quote that makes this issue clear to me. Alan Rickman, the great English actor, has summed it up very nicely, I think.
     The great rush of independent authors in any number of genres is emblematic of this need. As the great Toni Morrison said, ““If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  The big publishing houses, and even many of the small houses, have acted as gatekeepers to the written word. If they found you or your genre out of favor, you had no entry to the world of print. There were occasional imprints in the bigs that offered genre fiction, but even that did not open up the floodgates for writers who had written the book they would want to read. The powers that be hung their hats on what would produce the most profit, not what would excite and inspire a smaller number of readers.
     The arrival of ebooks and self-publishing, as opposed to the old form of vanity books or making it with the traditional publishers, have allowed many undiscovered or undiscoverable authors to get that book out before the public, to sink or swim as was its destiny. This shows the sense of Rickman’s statement, that we need to tell stories, and there are those who want and need to hear the stories we tell. We are living in an age when everybody can write a book, and those that are worthy may find their way to the top. If only one hundred people read my book, it is one hundred people I reached that I might not have done otherwise. Is this a bad thing?
     On a more somber note, my editor has had some personal difficulties, and it is unlikely my manuscript will be ready for revision until sometime in January. I fear the earliest it can be published is February. I hope you can wait.

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