The Unglamorous Truth

I've had several friends go through the process of being published now, and each has had a similar experience.

It's exactly the same as mine - not in the least how aspiring writers tend to dream of it - but all the more worth sharing for that.

The fantasy is that the phone goes and it's a publisher enthralled and entranced with your wonderful work, busily bidding huge advances and promising you the world, plus the moon and all the planets adjacent.

The reality is somewhat different.

Sorry, but it's true. It goes this way - you get a call saying they're "interested" in your work, but...

Then come the negotiations. Some bits would have to change. Some parts of the plot must go, others come in. More action is required, several characters need rethinking. The structure requires attention. And as for the settings...

Would you be prepared to put all that work in? - bearing in mind, of course, all the work that you've already put in. And that you're in love with what you've written, and think it a most beautiful thing.

And if you do all that, and if it comes out satisfactorily, and if you then agree to work with the publishers on promotion and the cover and the blurb and the marketing and all the rest...

... then you might just get published.

It doesn't happen in a single second, as goes the standard fantasy. It's like so much in life. It's a process of negotiation and hard work.

A pause here for a visual interlude because I've found a photo of a young Hall at one of his first book signings, when Death Pictures - my opening novel - came out, more than five years ago.


Boy, do I look excited. And not surprising. I still have that feeling now, when anything I've written gets published. And I hope I never lose it. It's the most joyous of buzzes, the culmination of all that hard work.

Anyway, back to the point, which was the irritating nature of reality. I'm not much given to handing out advice, on the sensible basis that I seldom think I know enough to do so.

But on this occasion - if you should get a nibble from a publisher, please don't be put off by the process of back and forth bartering. It's perfectly normal.

Take a breath, fix your mind on the endgame - of your book being there, on the shelves, where it deserves to be - and play along.

It'll be worth it in the end, that I can guarantee you.