For an impatient person (like me), the process of establishing yourself as an author is an agonisingly slow and torturous one. Ironically, it’s often the writing of a book that’s the quick and easy part, not to mention the most enjoyable; it’s what comes after that drags like an old smoker.
The other ‘arts’ have it so easy. It takes mere moments to pass judgement on a piece of music, a photograph, or a painting. So, provided the artist/e can get their work in front of the right person, they should get a yea or nay in a matter of hours. Us writers, on the other hand, get to twiddle our writing implements for what can sometimes amount to years (yes, really!) – a few months ago I received an email from an agent saying: “I’m sorry it’s taken me a few weeks to get to your book, things do get rather stacked up...” I couldn’t remember sending that particular agent anything recently, and when I looked back through my emails I discovered I had sent her my submission back in May 2011! I dutifully ignored her tardiness and winged over the requested manuscript and, four months on, I have heard nothing.
In an ideal world, the fortunate recipient of your masterpiece would snuggle down in a quiet room and devote several uninterrupted hours to devouring it in all its splendour, before delivering a fair and hopefully favourable verdict. In reality, it can be weeks before it’s read, and then it’s likely to be whilst the reader juggles a million other commitments. Meanwhile, you’re at home, or work, or play, trying not to think about how long it’s been since they would have received your manuscript, and how much you’d like to garrotte an effigy of them just so they might have some idea of the torture you’re going through.
I was always baffled when reading articles about authors and their road to success; how so many of them said it took years to get their book/s published. I used to think, blimey, what the hell have you been doing with your time? Clearly you’re not as dedicated and determined as me! Now I realise it was because of their determination and dedication that they were able to say, publically, it took a long time but I finally did it, as opposed to, it took too long so I gave up.