I am delighted to host friend and fellow author Patti Abbott, whose first novel was just published. Writing clearly is in the family’s blood– Megan Abbott is her daughter and must have learned at her mother’s knee. Still, Patti has some questions about it all. I know what I’d say to her, but I’d rather have YOU tell her how you feel.
Is It Worth It?
And by that question I mean publishing a first novel at age 67. When I express doubts to nearly anyone they are likely to say, “Well, it’s better than death.” Or, “What would you rather be doing?” Something along those lines. But the truth is: is it really worth exerting all the energy it takes to write, find a publisher, and then publicize a book when I could be doing something far less exhausting? And even more than that, doing something where I am putting myself in a place where I am likely to be criticized or, even more likely, ignored.
These are some of my worries: I will be the cause of financial ruin for my publisher, I will embarrass my family, I will jeopardize my ability to publish short stories with the time it takes to write and publicize a novel, I will be a bore on social media sites, my self-worth will plummet–one of the reasons I have shrunk from doing this before now. The likelihood of my making any money from this venture is pretty slim. I don’t even care about that. See what I mean?
So why am I doing it? For my entire life, I have shrunk from taking on challenges. Or even more plainly-taking chances. I never pursued a job that required much of me or paid much. My birth family was one of low expectations: find a job with benefits and hang on to it. When I wrote more literary short stories, I never once tried to place them in the better journals. I gave up looking for an agent and then a publisher without much effort. Some people claim to have sent out hundreds of queries. I sent out about two dozen.
So finally at age 67, I was given a break by Polis Books, so I am taking a chance. Hoping that a few people will read and like my novel. Hoping that I may publish another. Hoping that I will make my family proud. It’s a big chance, but one I have to take now or never.