The novel is by far the most popular and therefore the most lucrative medium for the written word. People like a good story, a substantial story, something they can lose themselves in for several days, something they can take on holiday with them. When I’m picking a novel myself I go for the writers I’ve enjoyed and engaged with in the past, but also I’m perhaps ashamed to admit, I also feel the thickness of the book.
There’s no sense paying £6.99 for a thin novel that’s only going to last you an evening, when for the same money you can get a thick wedge of a book that’ll keep you going for a long time. But it’s hard producing novels. And when they’re finally written, they leave the muse gasping for breath.
Write too many of them and the block sets in. Suddenly your favourite author’s gone quiet for a bit and then out pops a collection of short stories - after that the poetical sketches, and you know things have gone sour.
I’m perhaps being a little cynical here. You can make a bit of money with poetry – publishing it, criticising it, teaching people how to do it, even reading it aloud at public gatherings, but the one thing you cannot do is make any money by the soul baring, gut wrenching business of actually writing it.
Self publishing at least allows you to get the things out of your system. These are my poems, self published on Lulu.com - a sort of poetical sketchbook, a view on the world through my window. They’ve been available on Lulu.com for a while now and to all those who have taken the time to download them, I say thank you.
The need to write is a mystery.
The need to write poetry the biggest mystery of them all.