Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

It’s the first day of the year, so I would imagine that many people have made or are making New Year’s resolutions. As in years past, I figure there is a large number of people who have decided that this is the year that they will write that novel they keep saying they will write. Books are a status symbol. There are many people who want to have written a book.

I think people like the idea of writing a book because it is difficult enough that it seems like a big accomplishment, but there’s nothing to keep anyone from trying. With four books behind me, writing a book doesn’t seem like as much of an accomplishment as it once did, though it hasn’t gotten any easier.

Once someone writes a book, it doesn’t take long to discover that there are even more status symbols in publishing. In the publishing industry, a person with an agent has a higher status than someone who has only finished a manuscript. A person with a publishing contract has a higher status than people with no more than an agent. A book isn’t deemed good unless a publisher decides to publish the book

I don’t have advice for people who want to write a book this year. The only thing I would suggest is for writers to consider their motives. The simple truth is that writing a book isn’t all that hard and writers who are looking at their book as a status symbol will fight hard to make what they have accomplished seem more important than what others have accomplished. It also doesn’t pay very well. If your goal is to write a book this year then by all means do so, but don’t expect other people to be as impressed with your accomplishments.