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Journal of a novel: Sept. 7, 2016. The market

September 7, 2016

In a series of posts, I’ll share both Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel and what I learn from it, and I’ll show you what the writing life is like for me.

I’ve been absent from this Dee-Scoveries blog for a few days. It’s not that I haven’t been writing. Like John Steinbeck, who worked on his novel every weekday and even on some weekends, I have been writing. I’m taking a class in Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing. We’re instructed to write a page a day and I do have a short story in progress as a result. In fact, in the last day or two, the engine finally kicked over and it’s hard to stop at a single page.

In his April 10, Journal of a Novel entry, John Steinbeck warns his editor that

this is a different kind of book.

Steinbeck reports that in a phone conversation, his editor

…said this morning that you had to sell x thousands of copies. I am sure, after all of our years together, you will not ask me to make one single change for the sake of sales …

Steinbeck goes on to write

I am not writing for money … if money comes that is fine but [if] I knew right now that his book would not sell a thousand copies, I would still write it.

Perhaps. Although I’m guessing his editor and publisher would have something to say about it. I don’t believe that I know too many authors who are willing to work a year or more on a book that wouldn’t sell. Most of us are still trying to figure out what we need to do so that we can make a living from our writing.

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