I have friends and acquaintances who have declared that they have to get a book published. They are doggedly, energetically determined...a nice way of saying obsessed in a few cases. Of course, I hope I get published, but my stated goal is to write a book to publishable standard (in my own head) and the best way to test that is to actually put it out there. So, I hope I get published.
But I'm astonished at some comments I've heard from a few other writers - they seem to be saying they have to get published, it has to be a best seller and they have to get rich. Which is absurd. The average advance for a two book deal for new novelists, according to Kate Kellaway in the Guardian, was £12,000 five years ago. For two books. So, according to the usual idea that a two book deal pays out over three years in small chunks, minus the agents percentage that makes - about £3,400 a year. Hardly riches, especially with today's financial climate. Yes, some people do better, maybe lots better, but on the MA we were warned that between £3k and £8k was reasonable for a first novel. Ouch.
My hopes are smaller. I hope for someone to read my book and enjoy it (maybe lots of people). I hope to keep enjoying writing, and learning about writing as much as I do now. I hope that writing leads to other things I enjoy, like more success with my poetry and teaching in my own community. I hope to build a career from this early base. I would still like to be writing in twenty years time. So, yes, publication would be nice, but I'm not going to get sour over it.