Contrary to what some might lead you to believe, the publishing world is already reacting to the recessionary times we are currently experiencing by — how shall I put it? — approaching the prospect of a new writer with even more caution than they previously did. I know because I’ve already started receiving rejections that talk about the “current publishing climate” etc.
But that was expected, really. Anyone with any sense has to realise that — generally speaking — anyone in any kind of business is going to be far less willing to take chances. To do so would not do anyone any favours.
So where does this leave the struggling/aspiring/perspiring novelist? Or, more to the point, where does it leave me?
I’m no Pollyanna. Yes, wherever possible, I will try to make a positive out of a negative — but however good manure may be for the roses, it’s still shit, it smells bad and I wouldn’t want it trailing through the house. So let’s make no bones about it, from the point of view of the aspiring novelist (and for many other people, of course), a recession is pure, unadulterated, steaming-in-the-sun shit. There’s just no getting away from the fact.
But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t associated opportunities. Granted, they take some finding, but if you look hard enough…
I’m at the beginning of a project. As Morning Shows the Day. So far, I have twenty-five pages of outline — not as detailed as you might expect, simply packed with incident — and I expect to have another ten to fifteen before it’s completed. Had I already written the novel, I very much doubt that, in the “current publishing climate”, anyone would take a chance on it. But a year down the line? Eighteen months from now? Well, naturally, there are still no guarantees but I would certainly expect the climate to be heading back towards more favourable conditions by then.
And this is where I see the associated opportunity I’ve already mentioned. As Morning Shows the Day is clearly going to be a long project — a project that would normally take me somewhere in the region of eight to ten months. But producing a novel that quickly right now is fairly pointless. The earliest I want to think about submitting is 2010 and so I plan on taking my time, on allowing the novel to be everything it wants to be no matter how long it takes. I’m always fairly meticulous but this time I’m going to wallow in detail, listen repeatedly to every word and sentence until it sounds exactly the way I want to.
I’m going to allow myself the space I never have in the past… and submit only when the time is right.