Realistic Dreams & Delusional Evidence – The Climb #252

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Realistic Dreams & Delusional Evidence – The Climb #252

Saturday 30th September 2017

So every writer dreams of their book being big.  You’ve invested so much time into it that it becomes like a child.  You love it unconditionally despite the flaws other people can see in it.  And as a result, it’s hard not to think it the most perfect book in the world and are surprised when everyone doesn’t agree.

You soon learn as a writer that not everyone will love your story, that what you considered a masterpiece is going to be considered trash by some.  So whilst you still dream of becoming this bestselling writer and getting massive advances and film deals, you know the reality will be a lot less magical.

So as you progress as a writer, whilst you can’t help still dreaming of the book making it big, you temper it with the realisation that it’s not going to be the next Harry Potter.

I’ve seen interviews with many greats who say they always knew that a work would be big.  I’ve always been amazed by what seemed like utter confidence (almost to the point of arrogance) in that dream.  I wonder if they were delusional and just lucky, or whether there was something more to it.

But the more I research the more I think luck plays less of a role in success.  It’s certainly a factor in when something happens – whether it’s on the first submission or the hundredth… but everything else, is the product of hard work.  I used to have doubts about this.  Surely an agent might have seen a story exactly like yours only moments before and rejected it as a result.  Maybe a publisher was having a bad day and wasn’t in the mood for your submission.

Yet, the more I read, the more I see highly successful people say that luck played only a minor role in their success, that what a lot of people attribute to luck was the product of hard work and perseverance.

I’ll be honest and say I do struggle with this.  I’ve seen enough very successful people say this to believe it, but I’ve not found ways to reconcile it in my own head.  I suspect that it relies on a slightly different outlook on the nature of luck.

But I suppose if anything, the thing I take away is their utter confidence in their success.  Is everything that works a product of foresight, and every failure merely a learning experience?  As they say, history is decided by the winners.

Yet, there is something very weird going on when I come to thinking about Black As Knight.  My feelings about it are backwards.

Emotionally, I worry that it’s not going to find an audience, that it’s not mainstream enough, that it’ll get pushed into a niche.  Emotionally, I’m very much a realist when it comes to the book’s successes.  Heck, I’m fully prepared for it not to find an audience at all.

And yet!  As I read about pop culture markets and better understand the publishing market,  I think it has potential to be special.  Keep in mind that when I was running Action-Figure I was famed for identifying trends.  I used to get called by the head of Forbidden Planet to be asked what I thought would be the hot collectible or license for the coming year.  And the reason for this was because I had a track record.

And as I watch the news, as I see deals and breakout successes, the logical person in me – the one who should be being the realist – is seeing Black As Knight as having the potential to be a very important book.

Now, I don’t know if by that I mean financially successful or just popular with critics.  And every time I see some article or bit of market data that validates that thought, it scares me.  Because emotionally, I’m keeping it real.  I’m steeling my heart for modest advances, for it having difficulty selling, for it not finding an audience.

And yet… there’s a huge audience that I think that will love this book.  Tumblr will go nuts for this.  They’ll be shipping characters and drawing fan art.  And it’ll find an audience in young adults just coming out of YA and wanting adult fantasy.  I’ve seen multiple, multiple people basically talk about the book they desperately want to read and describe Black As Knight.

And heck!  I’ll hold my hand up and be the first to say that I think I’m probably being a bit delusional.    I genuinely worry that it’ll be one of those books that has some great reviews but never ignites with the audience.  And yet, every bit of market data I can find seems to suggest otherwise.

But I’m not getting my hopes up.  I’m sure plenty of books felt like they could have a huge audience only for it never to materialise.

But if it does happen, I want to point back to this blog post and say I knew.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-10-01T17:20:16+00:00October 1st, 2017|Publishing, The Climb, Writing|0 Comments

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