This post is reblogged from firstname.lastname@example.org.
A reader held the book to their chest, and smiled. Just a few more words left, and they savored them. They held the book in front of their face, and read those last two words.
Moments before, the reader had been on an adventure, falling in love, escaping the drudgery, or pain, in their real life, as the book rewrote bits of the reader's soul and changed their life.
Before they read it, the book waited for the reader, collecting dust on a library shelf, or ignored among a million of other digital titles. Sometimes it was picked up. Sometimes it was loved, sometimes it was hated, sometimes it wasn't even opened.
Earlier, the book was in the hands of a publisher, through the halls of a marketing team, and fitted for a cover. It waited as the author and the editor cleaned it, changed it. It waited while the publishers waited for a holiday, or a fad to change, or as another book from the same house launched.
For months, years even, it waited in a pile of papers until someone read it, liked it, and put it to Acquisitions, where...it waited.
Before the pile, it was just a file in some agent's hand, who lovingly pestered publishers to take a look at it. Most ignored it. Some read it, and liked it, but worried it wouldn't make enough money. Some read it and loved it, but were publishing something too similar, or it got lost in office politics. Some forgot about it, some never got around to reading it, and some just didn't get it.
Earlier, shrunk down into less than 500 words, it was paraded in front of hundreds of jaded or tired agents, who read it in an annoyed or halfhearted way. It was rejected. A lot.
Before that, the author gave up on it. This is the best it will possibly be, she thought. I've wasted too much time and effort into this story, to not try to get it published. She researched, prayed, closed her eyes, and then waited.
Before that, the author worked.
Weeks earlier, some song came on the radio, or some dream, comment, or blog post reminded the author about why they loved the story in the first place. They picked it back up.
The story was abandoned. There's no way the author could fix those glaring and obvious mistakes. It waited, for a long time, for it's only reader to notice it, and help it.
Because earlier, while it was separated into a million different files, cut up into chapters, or drafts, it was placed into the arms of beta readers who happened to point out the flaws in logic, and syntax. It waited as the author read the comments. It waited as the author tried to fix a few things.
Before that, it was perfect. The author had tweaked the original story,moved scenes, deleted characters, added steam into the make-out scenes, and fleshed out the descriptions. It had been pure joy discovering the story. The author knew that it was a brilliant, beautiful story, and just a few short weeks from publication.
Six weeks before that, the author and the story wait.
Finally, after months of painstaking and beautiful work, the author wrote the last few words.
This week I read this post, the-glacier, where the author, Andrea K. Host, tells about the TEN years her story waited on a publisher's desk before pulling her submission. That post is, in my opinion, the best argument for self publishing that I have ever read.
This is the thing, your story has been waiting since it first whispered into your ear. It waits as you play with it, it waits as you abandon it, it waits while you live life, and get up your courage to be enough for it. It is waiting for that one or two (times x) people who will read your book and say, "I feel that same way," or "I think that same way", or "My life sucks so much, only a good book can save me." The story is waiting for its audience.
There are a million things that will make your story wait to save someone's life.
What are you making it wait for?