It’s wonderful to read such insightful commentary about the book business. Aspiring writers who aren’t already in the business should definitely read this post, and the comments and offshoots as well.
I am both a writer and a chain buyer. Why, being the one, would I want to be the other? Well, I was a writer first. It’s natural for writers to seek employment in the book business, since writers (if they’re any good) are also readers, and reading, of course, is one of the prerequisites for being a book buyer.
If I’d become a chain buyer first, though, I doubt I would want to become a writer at this point. I see the numbers. I see the number of titles a store can carry, versus the number published in a year. The odds are against any given writer at every level, numerically: finding an agent, finding a publisher, getting your book into the stores, getting your book to actually sell.
But I’m different, of course. I’m brilliant. My books are going to be bought, loved, discussed, read, reprinted, reviewed. I don’t need to worry about the odds. Statistics are meaningless when you’re this good.
I’m joking, of course; and also, I’m not. We all–we who write, submit and publish–we all must believe the odds don’t matter. We must believe we are good enough to triumph. And if it doesn’t happen this time, it will happen next time, or the time after that.
I cannot imagine a more optimistic position.
Whether it is a correct position–well, time will tell.