Saturday, December 29, 2007

Moving On

I had written quite a detailed analysis of where things stand with my efforts to get marketing recognition for my novel 'Okraalom', and the whole thing vanished before I had finished - something we have all experienced with the 'cussed' side of computer behaviour, but I've not idea why it should have happened, except that I pressed a wrong key and tried to correct the overwriting of stuff written ahead when modifying what I had already written.

Anyway, this is a summery of why I have given up on Okraalom and on my attempt to become in any 'public' sense a recognized writer. That doesn't mean I'm not going to do some more writing, and even in a very small way some more self-publishing. But in any event this is a "moving on" notice.

1. 'Okraalom' had a bad start, by my silliness and inexperience not getting it re-edited.
2. The domination of the literary scene by women as authors, but also as librarians and agents and publishing-house readers, and magazine and newspaper reviewers. They're not always biased against a male writer, and for a young male writer with talent and writing according to the fashion or 'female' ideas of acceptability, there is still possibilities. I think if the males had dominance, they would also be biased, but in a rather different way. Established male novel writers tend to make their heros too 'tough', too 'vigilante-like' (-'bad' but in a good cause)' and almost always too conventionally sexual (- 'sexy' but in a conformist, purist manner). The women writers sometimes go a bit the same way with male protagonists, but tend to idealize them, making them rather bloodlessly 'heroic' (like Harry Potter).
3. I'm not a recognized male writer, and I'm old, without a literary profile - trying to 'come in' as an outsider.
4. 'Okraalom' is not the fashion of the time, which is to concentrate on the private circles of life - love-relationships, family relationships, divorced from much of a concern for the bigger pictures of public life and where civilization is heading. This tendency - 'retreat from public life into the bosom of the in-group and family' was noted in the 70s by the New York Review of Books.
5. If one has any novel-writing talent at all, the fierce competition to become a recognized writer and the volume of stuff offered for publication in ratio to a falling proportion of regular readers and rising publication costs, all mitigates against success. It's a bottleneck, and coming through it depends only partly having talent. A lot of rubbish is published, and a lot of good stuff remains on the slush-pile, so that the measure of success seems to depend a lot on conformity to the fashion, having contacts, a background that has already aroused notice, age, and luck!