Novel writing: dangerously futile?

Posted by Paul Samael on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 Under: Writing fiction

Hello and welcome to my first ever blog post.  My name is Paul Samael and I’ve written a novel.  Saying that, I feel as if I should be at some kind of self-help group called “Novelists Anonymous” where people with a similar affliction can unburden themselves with a view to preventing the recurrence of this dangerously futile activity.  Why do I regard it as dangerously futile?  Let’s look at some facts and figures:

Google estimates there are already about 130 million books in the world - actually 129,864,880 to be precise (in case you are wondering how they came up with such a nerdishly precise figure, they explain how they did it here).

What about new books?  Well, the number of English language titles published in 2010 was estimated to be about 4 million.  See Fig 3 of this document (that link doesn't work any more, but I've seen various more recent estimates which suggest the current figure is similar, if not higher - I'm adding this in 2023).

This leaves me (and any other budding author) with a bit of a problem.  Even assuming the novel is any good (which of course it may not be), how am I going to make it stand out?  The answer is – with great difficulty (warning: if you too are a budding author and the figures I have quoted above are already making you feel enormously depressed, don’t click on either of the links below, because it only gets worse):

The rational response to this would be to give up now.  But I am not rational.  Like I said, I have written a novel.  Worse still, it’s quite possibly unmarketable so far as any publisher is concerned.  At least, that’s what my agent tells me (yes, I have an agent but you shouldn’t read anything into that, as she only agreed to take me on based on my non-fiction work). 

So why don’t I just give up?  The trouble is, I’m quite attached to my novel.  Throwing in the towel now feels like deciding to have a much-loved pet put down because I’m not prepared to pay even a single vet’s bill.  So I am going to persevere with it.  This blog will either:

  1. [chronicle my heroic efforts]* OR 
  2. [demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of my novel-writing ambitions]*  
[*Delete as applicable].

In : Writing fiction 

Tags: "first novels"  publishing 
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About Me

Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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