OK, so before I get into this article, I wanted to do a teeny-tiny little disclaimer. I do have a novel that I’ve been trying to find a home for, so posting something titled “In Praise of the Unpublished Drawer Novel” probably sounds like a cry for help. It’s not! I’ll have more to say about that novel in a few months, but no. No one needs to grab me and shake me and tell me No, it’s not worth it! Don’t give in! I’m still truckin’.
So, with that out of the way, I quite liked this article, and not just because their trunked novel sounds amazing:
In the age of self-publication, it’s tempting to publish everything. Because you can! (Almost) no story is off-limits! If you can’t sell something, you can still get your word-baby out there and into readers’ hands!
And that makes me… nervous. I remember how desperately I wanted to be published when I was younger, and oh my goodness gracious, I am so lucky that self-publishing wasn’t a thing then. Because I know I would have been tempted, and I know it would have been a disaster.
Let’s be honest: not all books deserve to be published. My first novels taught me an immense amount about what I wanted to write, what I was good at, and what I needed to work on. I thought my first series was decent when I wrote it, but I never seriously tried to sell it. And looking back on it now, I’m glad–the whole darn thing is clumsy, overwritten, confusing, and nowhere near the level of skill I’m at now.
And that’s okay. It takes a lot of strength to know when something should be shelved in an era where nothing really has to be. But sometimes, keeping “our ugly, unfit child locked in the basement” is the absolute best thing we can do.