As a writer, I have all sorts of goals and dreams, blended neatly with what I can only assume are powerful delusions of grandeur. I dream of becoming published. I dream of finding a decent-sized audience and having tremendously fun interactions with them. And so on. I could go the rest of my life without such luck, and I’d actually be perfectly content still writing. I have an established group of readers. Some of them may (definitely, most certainly) be biased, but they’re all wonderful to me.
However, there’s that one thing that will gnaw at me no matter how well or poorly I do as a writer. I, like many writers, have a dream home. I’m not talking about the sort of home you need a mortgage for, of course. Getting to the obvious point here (unless you bypassed the title): I’m talking about the publishing house I dream of calling home.
HarperCollins and its various imprints are responsible for publishing books (or, as far as I’m concerned, bringing readers treasures) by the likes of Sir Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Christopher Moore (who are three of my favorite writers). They are a huge publishing house, obviously, and for me to think I have any chance at ever getting a book published with them would be crazy. The odds aren’t exactly in my favor, and to make that into a proper Hunger Games joke/reference I should think I’d be the first tribute to bite the dust in much of this situation. My body of published works consists mostly of non-fiction pieces, leaning towards editorials. The essay I wrote on swords, currently being used as an example in Dr. Roger Solberg’s Advanced Nonfiction class at Edinboro University, isn’t easily accessible. The Glasmoor Beldam, a short story I wrote forever ago, is now available in a horror anthology I’m still not able to link to (we’re waiting for Amazon to make it free). Most importantly, I don’t have a novel credit to my name, and I certainly can’t afford the agent I’d need for HarperCollins to even look at my work.
That’s not stopping me from dreaming, however, even if there a slim to nonexistent chance of achieving this. There’s something about the thought of having a book I wrote, and I mean a proper physical copy of this hypothetical book, with the HarperCollins as the publisher. Such an achievement would make me feel like I’ve earned the right to have my writing among that of my heroes (though, veering back to the self-deprecating, not even my best humor could hold a candle to the wit and wisdom of Moore or Pratchett, and my world-building and prose could never quite compare to the command Gaiman has of language). It’s the sort of thing I would be proud to mention when people ask what I do for a living, and what kind of things I could do, or have done, with a degree in English.
It’s what I’m working towards. If it never happens, I can at least say I tried. If, through some fluke of good fortune, some act of God, or my own thick-headed perseverance that I manage to achieve this goal…I honestly don’t even know how I’d react. Safe money would be bet on me freaking out a good deal. A lot of people would get a lot of very repetitive messages about it.
But since I’m speaking from a place with a fair bit of wishful thinking anyway, I wouldn’t turn down a chance to be published by Random House or a Penguin imprint.
What publishing houses do you, dear writerly-readers, dream of calling home some day?
I’ve never throught about it. I’d be happy to go with whatever publisher is enthused about my work.
Just a note: Agents are free. They work on commission and get paid 15% when they sell your manuscript to a publisher. If you encountered an agent who asked for money up front, that person is not an agent but a scam artist.
Well, now I just feel stupid.
I’d jump at any chance to have my books published, but my dream publisher is HarperCollins. That certainly doesn’t mean I’d say no to other options, of course. I may be a touch delusional, but I’m not (that) stupid. Probably.
100% true story: I know a guy with the last name Collins who met, fell in love with, and married a woman named… you guessed it… Harper. What are the chances?
All writers are a touch delusional, methinks. How would we ever finish a novel if we had realistic expectations for it’s likely fate? I’m on my third one, and if it goes down in flames like the other two, I’ll probably write a fourth. I’m cracked!
I’m Hell-bent on making something of Joshua’s Nightmares, of course, even if it means going with self-publishing. We’ll see.
Also, you remain my favorite and most regular commenter. This is a statement of mostly obvious things.
Aw, thanks. We writers have to stick together. I hope Joshua’s Nightmares becomes a best seller.
You’re too kind, sir. I’d be content just getting it from draft to it being an actual, proper novel people can enjoy.
Best of luck with your latest novel. If the prose quality is nearly as good as your blog, I suspect at least I would enjoy it a good deal.