Sunday, March 23, 2014

"The Rainy Day Murders" Spring Status Report

Writing has come a long way since its beginnings as cuneiform messages pressed into soft clay tablets over five thousand years ago. Once the tablets dried, they were permanent records of business transactions and simple messages primarily. A notable exception being the oldest known literature ever found, The Epic of Gilgamesh, discovered in 1853 buried in the desert of what is now Iraq.

Ancient scribes wrote their important messages on vellum, which was made of scraped and tanned sheep or goat hide. Charcoal was ground and mixed with oils to create crude ink and applied with crude reed brushes or sticks. Vellum was much more portable than clay tablets, but it was much more perishable also. 

It was the Egyptians who developed papyrus which led to the eventual development of paper. Papyrus could be rolled into scrolls for easy storage and portability. 

The ancient Egyptians also inscribed their writing on the walls and columns of their important civic buildings, as did the Greek, Roman, and other notable empires. Much of what we know of ancient history comes from the ruins of these monuments.

The printing press with moveable type was invented in 1436 by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany. Now, ideas could be mass produced and public opinion shaped. This invention helped change the political landscape of Europe. Bound paper books and libraries have been the repositories of the world's knowledge for close to seven hundred years of human history. 

In our own time, books have lost favor to digital methods of recording our thoughts and ideas in ways we couldn't have imagined possible, even twenty years ago. The digital computer age has revolutionized how we work and how we live.

What humans have used to write with has also evolved over the ages. The reed stylus created the wedge shaped notations in moist clay used by the Sumerians and Babylonians. The Greeks and the Romans used bone or ivory styluses to imprint notes and messages on wax tablets, not to mention metal chisels to immortalize their empire's achievements in stone and marble.

Quill pens were developed around 700 A.D. which was an advancement that lasted until the development of the first pencils and fountain pens in the 1800s. Then, in the late1860s, the modern typewriter was invented to mechanize how we write. Sometime in the late 1980s, word processing and personal computers took over from the mechanical typewriter.

Today, most humans tap out their messages digitally on a keyboard or a touch screen. Instantaneous messaging can reach a global audience, with far reaching implications for the future. Ironically, humans are once again writing on tablets, only digital ones this time around.

So that brings me to the subject of this post. With all the advancements in writing technology over the millenniums and today's high-speed computing, why does it take so long for a book to be published?
  1. First, the writer needs a solid idea to develop and write about. That can take years.
  2. Next, the book needs to be researched and checked for facts, corrected, rewritten, and revised.
  3. Then, the writer must hire a qualified editor to help bring the writing up to current publishing industry expectations.
  4. Finally, the writer needs to find an agent interested enough in the project to pitch the book to a publisher who is willing to invest time and money promoting it in the marketplace.
Interested readers of this blog have been asking me with increasing frequency, "When will The Rainy Day Murders be available?

Currently, I'm in the rewriting stage and have lined up an editor to help me over the summer. When I feel I have a quality, professional manuscript, I will solicit an agent. Then, it is anybody's guess when I can attract a trade publisher.

Despite the high-speed internet age we live in, the publishing business is notoriously slow. The only thing I can say about when The Rainy Day Murders will be available is "Stay tuned."

Check out this link for five charts showing the current trends in the publishing business. I have my work cut out for me.

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