Recently I read a fascinating book about the history of London, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and subsequently reviewed online.
Upon reading this book I saw that it was not only about the history of London from before the Roman invasion, but also included the author's spiritual journey. And it was a journey I identified with. He described his involvement with the numerous spiritual and occult and mystical groups with which London abounds - and I have been that way myself, when I lived in the capital from 1975 to 1982. And his epiphany was described with a disarming simplicity that was truly moving.
So here was this delightful book; I reviewed it online, and I received this comment from the author on Goodreads. "Thank you for the lovely review! This book has rather died a death, so it's a great pleasure to hear from someone who actually read it. Thank you again."
I was of course pleased to have gladdened a fellow-author's heart. But I also felt sad. Why had this lovely book "died a death"? And what in fact does "dying a death" mean for an author?
I know I have felt like this about my own books. I have thought, at what point do you bravely and honestly face the fact that "this book has had its chance in the marketplace (albeit probably not with the promotion or advertising or exposure it truly deserved), and now I need to move on and just concentrate on writing more books."
I'm aware that in the tough world of commercial publishing it used to be the case that if your book didn't meet its sales target, off it went to the remainder shop or indeed the pulping machine. And the equivalent happens today, too, after the prescribed length of time that it's given its chance in the marketplace.
Self-published authors of course can keep their books up there as long as they want. It's a different world. But what about hard economics? Are we floating along in a beautiful dream?
This lovely book by our Lion author (who has in fact got a number of other books 'up there' and can probably afford to sit lightly to the fact that this particular book has 'died a death') is capable of giving a great reading experience to many, besides myself. But, thinks the author, who has 'actually read it?'
So what do you think about all this? A certain great statesman said "Never, never, never give up." But what does that actually mean? And how does it differ from "Gracefully letting go"? Or is there such a thing in the world of creative writing and publishing?
Over to you and I'd love to hear your comments!