In his essay in The New Yorker called The Custodian of Forgotten Books, Daniel A. Gross begins with the story of an obscure book called The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton. It would have been long forgotten if not for the nexus of a book blogger, curious archivist and small press publisher who took great pains to resuscitate the dead book to life.
Book memory is pretty bad. Most novels and novelists, even Nobel prize winning ones, are forgotten. Even the whole book culture is waning away. We saw how younger people think that books smell like old people, but then again there are older folks like Brad Bigelow, “fifty-eight, not a professional publisher, author, or critic.”He’s a self-appointed custodian of obscurity. Check out his website here: http://neglectedbooks.com/
Bigelow found enough literary ore to keep him prospecting. His quest for obscure books is an inspiration to those of us who read only popular books or go by Amazon reviews. Reading is also a responsibility, and one of the responsibilities is salvaging titles that could instruct a reader or maybe give her great joy. A good book is never dead.
While some readers salvage old books, what do writers do? In her essay called The Things we do to to promote the books we write, Summer Brennan talks about the many embarrassments a writer who aspires to reasonable popularity must endure. Of course. They trade pajamas for the semi-casual attire of the accomplished writer, even when they are all nerves.
“I also get the random things one must do to promote a book in tangential ways. I, for one, appeared on a style blog and made 19 little watercolor paintings of the gear I used most while conducting my research. I was asked to contribute an essay for a popular music blog about the music I listened to while writing.”
Brennan does not grudge the fact that a good writer should also be a good chef or a good comedian or even a singer if this is what the audience requires.
“The awkwardness of creation is ideally burned off, and what we serve to those around us is the thing on a plate; the beautiful morsel. I’m not saying a poem isn’t worth more. It is. But it is a difference of degrees, not of kind. All is curation.”
Instead of being taxed by unrealistic expectations, know that if you need to sell the book, you might end up crossing all the limits, translated as limitations that exist within you, and you might even enjoy it.