How many manuscripts do you suppose are tucked away in trunks in attics, moldering away? How many are stored in electronic files waiting to be deleted? How many were simply discarded by frustrated authors? We'll never know. Today, of course, every manuscript can be published without cost or risk. Hundreds of thousands of them are published and offered for sale, but no one buys them, not even for a dollar or two.
Self-published authors are generally regarded with scorn by traditionally published authors. Their contempt is aggravated when they imagine that the profusion of self-published books are getting in the way of their own sales. Things were pretty much the same in days of yore when a published author might meet someone who had been published on a vanity press. The professional regarded such people as dilettantes, unworthy of consideration.
The publisher who appeared in the CBS Sunday Morning presentation assured viewers that they carefully edit manuscripts. Interesting. Everyone I've read or listened to claims that editors now focus on selecting manuscripts for publication. The truth is that my respect for traditionally published books has been seriously compromised of late. I find in them the same lack of quality that I find in many self-published ebooks. Typos. Malaprops. Errant homonyms. Sentence fragments. Dangling participles. All abound.
One thing is certain. Patience remains writers' greatest asset. Whether they were writing in the last century or the current one, they must practice their craft in solitude with little prospect of commercial success. The only thing that is certain is that those who quit will never succeed.
Note: I'm sorry that this posting in off my normal schedule but it is time sensitive to a certain portion of my audience. I'll be back on track tomorrow.