Despite its undoubted temptations I’m more convinced than ever that conventional publication is not for me.
What could publication offer me?
1. More readers
How many is enough? 10? 100? 1000? 10,000? But then, what about reader no. 10,001?
A numbers game which I refuse to play.
You must be joking. I’d earn more as a cleaner.
Which substance are you abusing?
Well, yes, that would be nice. But since my primary satisfaction derives from the work itself, from the heady, terrifying, frustrating, and utterly daft grappling with words, validation could only confirm that someone else (or rather, a publisher’s hierarchy of someone elses) thinks I’m doing OK. But in fact, it’s me who needs to think I’m not doing OK and to find a better way of doing it.
5. An editor
Now here I really part company with conventional wisdom. I prefer to do my own editing, thank you very much. I quite like my flaws. They’re mine. And only by taking full responsibility for them will I be able to improve. A lifelong process, ideally.
Read the critics. Read the reviewers. Read the bloggers. Everyone has something different to say about a text. In the end, there is only you – the writer – and the words.
And best of all: I get to use every fuck and cunt I think appropriate. I get to write all the sex scenes I like. My former agent (yes, I actually had one in the bad old days) wanted all my sex to take place off-scene: ‘it’s impossibly hard to write well about sex’. Which is exactly why I love doing it.