Publishing is a temperamental beast. Anyone who has tried to land a literary agent for their debut novel, or drum up enough interest in their self-published venture, can tell you that. It's a roller coaster in every sense of the word. You begin with a wisp of an idea and are full of enthusiasm, energy and hope. Then comes the hard slog of writing the beast that plagues your dreams. It plays with you, entices you to stick with it and taunts you when you cant. But with the beast finally conquered and a long sigh whispering "The End" escapes your lips, a whole new hill to climb presents itself.
"Is it good enough?"
That question follows every author, even those who have successfully published, as they eye yet another climb. But when a final check with editors reveal your flaws, the visceral plummet towards the ground begins. A sense of defeat tears at your mind and the beast you created taunts you once again. Its pages forming devilish smiles, its words twisting and reforming into truths that blast out your incompetence. Yet, from some small place inside a stir of something makes itself known. A belligerent seed of obstinacy pokes its head above the turmoil and refuses to die. It grows and, with it, so too does your resolve. You attack the beast, holding it's mocking jaws closed tight and begin to reshape it. You toil with the prose, you murder characters and you grieve the loss of what once was. But now it is tame and ready to be sent out to the world.
"Is it good enough?"
The question lingers long after your query letters flutter into the hands of seasoned literary masters. The deciders of many fates and, above everything else, the judge, jury and executioner of aspirations. They are the wall that stands between you and the eager eyes of readers. "Sorry I'm going to have to pass." The words crush the seedling inside of you, stomp on it until it's back is twisted. "Sorry I'm going to have to pass." Another boot and another blow. "Sorry I'm going to have to pass," comes the response again and again until the sapling's back is broken and its leaves have fallen. Somewhere admits the dappled cleat marks left on your resolve, a voice whispers at first. "They're wrong." Beaten, bruised and left for dead, you cling to that little voice, hoping above hope that it is right. Leaves of unpublished worlds try to drown you in their misery. Too many have been crushed by the boots of overworked masters, blinded to anything but the brightest light. Too many have let their dreams die, but you refuse. You drag yourself up, grab a firm hold of your beast and swear to yourself, "I will do it, even if it is on my own." You walk around the learned masters and hold your beast up high for all to behold.
"Is it good enough?" you ask aloud.
And here I hold up mine.