Giving up on finding publication for a book project is a difficult but nearly universal experience in the writing life. It’s often referred to as putting a manuscript “in the drawer.”
The first novel I wrote crashed and burned before I eventually found publication with Jacob Wonderbar. Some now-published writers I know have about as many manuscripts in the drawer as they have fingers and toes.
So. How many manuscripts do you have in the drawer?
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Art: A vanitas still life with a candle, an inkwell, a quill pen, a skull and books by Michael Conrad Hirt
Bryan Fagan says
I just dusted one off that crashed a few years ago. Having completed a novel since I’m a lot better and I feel pretty good about it. I was looking over my mistakes recently and I cringe at the thought that others had read it.
I hope writers hang on to their past work. Lots of treasures to be found.
To-date, I’ve two manuscripts sitting in the drawer, but I’ve not forsaken them. Just having trouble getting time and energy to get them polished and fully fleshed out. Always taken ages to complete a novel. But I always wanted to do a screeenplay and stageplay version. And then the fun of trying to orchestrate and illustrate was tempting, too. And so the work seemed to go on forever. But focusing on these things helped cut down on the barrage of negativity without the harmful effects of addictions. I’ve had 3 children’s multimedia novels accepted for publication over the years by an indie publisher who seemed to do little more than post them on her website and on Amazon in DVD formats. These days, I could self-publish with the same results while receiving a higher royalty. Still, it was a thrill to find acceptance by someone at the time.
Carolynn Pianta says
Women’s Fiction two.
I have had hundreds of articles, essays and op-eds published and because I have been a columnist for years I’ve lost count of bylines, and yet, I feel as if I have accomplished little. A book is where it’s at.
Rachel Capps says
1 in the drawer. My current one I’ve written at least 3 times, deleted and started again. I really want to read my main character’s story. As a side project, I’ve also written and self published my memoir. It was snapped up by an agent within a week and publishers all loved it but alias, they didn’t think it’d make enough money because it’s a niche market. So my agent recommended self publishing.
I think I have 8 or so finished novels in the drawer, and probably the same number of half or three quarter written ones. I love writing, but revising not so much… yeah. It’s a problem.
I’ve dedicated this year to trying to get at least two of those trunked books out of the drawer.
OMG – DOZENS of picture book manuscript and dummies, three novels (two with completed first drafts), and more ideas than I can tackle in a lifetime! Would love to see this question addressed as a survey! 🙂 e
Marcus Lopés says
I have about five manuscripts in the drawer. I’m working on them one at a time. Just finished the changes to one manuscript after it had gone through the proofreading process. It’s getting closer to publication, then I can go back to the one I had to shelve and finish it.
The one thing I’ve learned is that writing a novel always takes longer than I think, so I’m taking it day by day.
I have 6 manuscripts in the drawer. I’ve published 4 on Amazon Kindle and I’d like to do the same for the others. They just need a ton of work at this point.
Jack Erickson says
Rummaging around in boxes in storage recently, I found three manuscripts, “The Last Casualty,” about the Vietnam memorial in DC, an untitled mystery, and remnants of my first attempt writing fiction when I lived in DC. My wife later surprised me when she handed me another manuscript I’d forgotten about.
Writers need ‘forgotten’ manuscripts on their journey to publishing. They’re like training wheels we need to navigate before venturing into the world with something we want readers to enjoy.
I am so happy to read I am not the only one – thank you for asking this question!
SK Figler says
Have four “finished” (are they ever when you look through them again?) novel manuscripts and one book of linked short stories. Currently “almost finished” with another novel and its sequel. This does not include my “practice novel,” which will remain in the dark. I keep telling myself to send them out, let them fly, or crash and burn. Yeah, I should, I should.