I wrote the other day about the possibility that I might serialize Twilight of the World Sea People, and I've decided to hold off on that a while, for a few important reasons. First, it would be much harder to build a readership entirely from self-publishing now than it would be later as a traditionally-published writer with one or two novels under my belt. This is a well-known downside to self-publishing; that no matter how good a book is, finding readers for it is harder for people without the reach of a traditional publisher. Second, the book I have outlined and ready to write now (Motherland I) might genuinely be a better first book in the series, and it would represent a second opportunity to introduce a traditional publisher to this universe. Third, I would have the opportunity to revise TWSP in light of further storytelling in the series and present it as a possible Book III (Motherland is a duology).
Yes, I'm frustrated about TWSP. It's tough to sit on a novel that someone both you and the industry respect thought well of. It's tough to have that external validation of a manuscript and not sell it. It's tough to spend five years on a book and then face the prospect of spending more time without knowing whether or not the next book will sell. It's tough to look at the industry as it is now and swallow the truth that it is not the industry which fostered the writers you grew up with, who themselves planted the seed of your own writing ambitions.
But I'm not going to jump the gun about this, give into my frustrations and plow forward down the self-publishing road prematurely. I'm excited about my little forays into that part of the business; my first collection, my forthcoming short story and perhaps more short fiction to come. That said, self-publishing a novel is a different thing altogether, and I don't feel I've exhausted my options in traditional publishing. Neither have I been presented with a traditional publishing contract, so while I've heard a lot about 'draconian novel contracts', I don't have one in front of me, so I can't make that determination for myself yet.
And while I'm at it, a note on the Gaelic thing. I think it's important to mention that I've been on this road since I was twenty-two. That's a long time to devote to anything, so while I've only been in Nova Scotia five years, I have a long history with Celtic languages and cultures. Sometimes you just need a break, and I'm here now, so I feel that I can take that break and still have Gaelic resources to draw upon when I'm ready. Another thing I should mention is that participating in a living and cohesive Gaelic culture is not the same as making an academic or spiritual study of the thing. I live in a part of the world where there are generational ties to Gaelic language and culture I can never have, ideas about the way to think and live in the world I do not entirely share, especially where it concerns contemporary Gaelic spirituality. I came to Celtic through Paganism, and while my current understanding and support of these languages and cultures is respectful as any educated person can make it, I believe in spiritual innovation, and I think it's all right to utilize pre-Christian and co-Christian Celtic resources as tools for understanding the numinous. Not everybody here understands that or supports that, and so my integration into this community is necessarily imperfect, at best. Having said that (and I hope it goes without saying), this community is a good place filled with good people trying to save a threatened language, and whether or not we ever mesh entirely, we are neighbors who love the same things.
That's it for now. I'm working on some thoughts about creativity and structure in writing and spirituality, and I'll hope to have a blog entry about that in a few days.