Filling the Tin of Beans

Much rot is talked about this writing lark.  I know, because I produce a fair bit of it myself.

However, I once (perhaps foolishly) promised to be honest in these meandering journeys of thoughts and feelings.  So here we go again with a truth that many authors find uncomfortable, but needs facing anyhow.

It's this - we writers like to think of ourselves in romantic ways.  As somehow set apart from the rest of humanity, struggling with our souls to define the world and all its ways with the power of words. 

Which is, in a way, an arguable case.  But what is incontestible is that we are, in essence, simply fillers of a tin of beans. 

I've been asked by quite a few people how I really feel about my new book being re-titled by the publishers. 

(If you missed it, tvdetective novel number six is now The Shadows of Justice, not The Justice Mirror.)

The truth is that I'm fine with it.  Partly because it was my own suggestion, and I actually like it, but also because I've come to accept the reality of my part in the publication process.

I'm no expert in marketing and publicity, how to interest a potential reader in a book.  I'm merely the writer, doing my best to create a passably decent product. 

And that's the truth of it.  We authors fill the can with beans. 

We might be consulted on how the can is presented, we might have a few ideas what it should look like, but it's not our department. 

All that is for the commercial people, and they're usually a world away and more from authors in what they do and know, and how they work. 

It's the harsh truth about writing.  You're just producing a product, like any other; beans, TV sets, mobile phones. 

It'll be judged by whether a publisher thinks they can sell it and make money from it.  We may not like that - it hardly fits with the dreamy view that writers tend to have of themselves - but that's the way it is. 

There is one final thing all this stark reality won't change - the joy and excitement of actually having your work published.  And that, I can assure you, is in no way diminished.

I remain, as the great Charles Causley put it - "A child in the land of Christmas."