Would you blog your novel?
Obviously Mr McCall Smith has done just that with Corduroy Mansions, and has doubtless been suitably rewarded, so let me rephrase it. Would you blog your unpublished novel? Because that’s the idea behind the Telegraph’s latest creative writing competition and if you have a novel languishing in a drawer (or even on a number of slush-piles) why not chop it into ten parts and stick it into the competition? It might be read, it might be liked, it might win. What exactly do you have to lose?
I must admit I was momentarily tempted, but the question then became – what exactly would you win? The answer is lunch with AMS – I’m sure a pleasurable experience, but no mention of a publishing contract or even a date with an agent. Then there’s the whole medium thing. If Corduroy Mansions was written with the serial form in mind – New History was not, nor did I ever envisage it (pace my conversion to an e-reader) being read in chunks from a screen. My ambition was to write, in that instance, a novel rather than a blog.
But my main sticking point is something that occurred to me while reading Corncrake – the novel Catherine Czerkawska began to publish on her Wordarts blog and then withdrew. I can only put it like this. My novel may not have any monetary value to a publisher right now (or maybe ever) but it’s worth something to me, and I don’t particularly wish to release it, even to a limited readership, without any recompense. So there.