If She Floats…

A small row boat floats on calm water with a colorful sunset in the background
Photo by Nuno Obey

Please indulge me in some personal blogging.

A friend once told me writing a book is like building a boat, and sometimes, you just have to put it on water and see if it floats.

I’m reflecting on that today. For almost four years, I’ve been working on a boat, and I know every wooden plank, every nut and bolt, every ounce of sealant, every length of canvas. I’ve plugged every hole, smoothed every edge, finished every surface. I’ve obsessed over the details that will never matter in its sea-worthiness, that no one will ever care about, but I will. I’ve neglected my relationships, my career, my well-being. I’ve learned and grown through my dedication to the craft alongside others who were similarly consumed by the idea that they had to make something because there was a voice within them screaming that this thing, this vessel, has to exist. I’ve watched other ships set sail and wept with joy for their buoyancy, and I’ve hoped that one day, the tide might come in, raise my ship from its stand, and carry her out to sea where she just might mingle with all of the others.

My next novel, currently titled American Spirits, is going out to agents now, and if this one sinks, I’ll at least know I did everything I could so that she might sail on the glittering calm waters and ride the swelling waves.

But, oh, if she floats…

Traditional publishing is an intricate apparatus, some processes resembling a Rube Goldberg machine, others reminiscent of a grotesque Clive Barker nightmare, chains and hooks, but alas the gatekeepers are there and serve many purposes. I could digress into a discussion of the values of traditional, indie, and self publishing, but my aim with this one is deliberate. Spend four years on anything, and no one should suggest you’re being frivolous.

Anyway, it’s likely to be a long time before I hear any news regarding an interested agent and then an interested publishing company, if ever. Even if this book gets to that stage, traditional publishing companies have a very long pipeline, so I’m expecting years before knowing if this one floats or sinks. It seems strange to ask anyone to stay tuned because I’m likely to be quiet for a while yet.

In the meantime, there are other stories to tell. I’ll be around. Keep in touch.