A Tough Row to Hoe…

A couple quick links this afternoon.

The first concerns Kathryn Stockett, author of bestselling book The Help.  In this recent essay she talks about how her book was rejected sixty times before she found it a home.  We’ve heard this story before (i.e. Harry Potter, etc.)  A few questions or thoughts for discussion on this one: If you really believe in your book, how far are you willing to go to see it published?  How long will you stick it out?  And in this day and age of increasing media consolidation and hair-raising questions about Agent accountability and conflicts of interest, when such stories abound of the intermediaries inabilities to recognize a gem when they find one, dare we continue to put our faith in those intermediaries?  Would any of these books – the ones where we hear about the astounding number of rejections a book received before going on to fabulous bestsellerdom – still be bestsellers if the authors had not stuck it out with traditional publishing and instead opted to self-publish?

The second link is to a discussion on NPR with Terry Pratchett, author of the popular Discworld series, on the subject of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis and assisted suicide.  I hesitate even to post this link.  I’ve never read anything by Pratchett, and I’m sure I’m all the poorer for it.  But it disturbed me to consider the idea of a famous, respected, and well-loved pillar of the Fantasy literature community thinking about the possibility of ending his own life, or even on the possibility of losing his own mind.  I must admit that one of my greatest fears of old age is of losing my mind – because largely the internal world is the only world I really have… where things make sense and good always wins.  If I haven’t got that to retreat to… well… the alternative is too deressing to contemplate, isn’t it?  No guiding questions on this one.  I just wanted to point it out.