Hubris – the struggling writer’s addition

Hubris describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence, often in combination with (or synonymous with) arrogance.

Maybe I do have the foolish pride and arrogance to think I am a very capable author and deserve to have at least one of my works published as a best-seller. So I must ask myself, ‘Why don’t publishers immediately delight in my submissions? Is it because in some works I don’t conform to the genre rules in swapping first person with third person? Is it because my diction and punctuation is old-worldly? Is it because my stories are too tame and boring? Is it because my characters are not well developed at the expense of my passion for describing the settings and the environment? Is it because I wish to teach more than tell a story?’ 

Perhaps a combination of these and more.

When Austin Macauley offered me a contact out of the blue on my latest work, The Meaning of Streuth, I was mystified and still wonder if it is a genuine offer. They are an expanding publishing firm and are growing in market share, but do they have the machinery to market an Australian story since they are based only in New York and London? Do they understand I can’t help with the marketing?

My doctors tell me I have less than a year to live and my hubris is daunted thinking about how I can handle the on-going negotiations to bring the novel into production. I want to know why they like the draft and how they will want to “massage” it before they go to finalising the text? I want to feel that the conviction, not just opportunity is there — that they believe the manuscript has real merit. So my pride in the work has its emotional costs, and time is running out given my health prognosis.

Do any of my readers believe I should go ahead? Well how can you if you haven’t been able to read the draft? You can only judge by your knowledge of my published writing and your understanding of the book publishing industry.

But last week I had the joy of local publisher, Boolarong Press, being excited about my work, The Osprey’s Dolls, and I have signed a contract to self-publish with them. Here I know I am on safer ground — a local Australian publisher, two suburbs away, with whom it is easy for me to negotiate and who in turn will give my book a priority. I know I will be here to see it in print and that gives me a hell of a boost. knowing there will be copies at the commemorative service arranged by my family when I die from the effects of prostate bone cancer. 

My hubris might yet be partially justified with some of it wafting off like fairy dust onto my descendants.

About rpsimson1936

Retired geography and outdoor education teacher who loves orienteering and writes novels.
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