In George Eliots’s The Mill on the Floss (1860), Mr Tulliver uses the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” in discussing Daniel Defoe’s The History of the Devil, saying how it was beautifully bound. As it was then it is now, it is a metaphor to be applied to a great many things: a person, many a inanimate object, a group of people, a situation, a book…
I beseech you to find anyone who hasn’t heard the phrase before. It is up there with sliced bread and Taylor Swift. (Probably after Taylor Swift.) Where am I going with this? Too often in our busy lives we rush. Rush through work, rush through play and rush to judgement.
Life doesn’t slow down, but you can.Promise.
In doing so, you not only stop and smell the roses (yet another timeless metaphor), but you take the time to dig a little deeper, see what lies beneath the crust of life. When that happens all of our snap judgments melt away by default. Choices in life become clearer, reasoning less cumbersome. Most decisions in life don’t have to be made in seconds; take your time. Consequently, those books covers will get more than a passing glance. Those people, those situations, will become clearer; you can start to see all that you missed.
What does this have to do with writing? Peter, you always find a way to tie life back to writing. Right. I almost forgot. In the hustle and bustle of today’s literary world I truly believe authors such as myself are getting passed over and not really looked at simply because it is a numbers game, too many inquiries and too little time.
So I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. After hearing my novel is “too long” or “simply not what we are looking for right now”, I’ve decided to self-publish. If others won’t take stock in what I’ve written, then I will. My hardcover creation may never make the NY Times Bestseller list, but it WILL make my coffee table at home.
Maybe, just maybe, through word of mouth, the right person will hear about it and scoop up a story I believe could stand up against 99% of all new fiction sold on today’s bookshelves. If literary agents won’t slow down to get past the cover(letter), I will make my dream come true on my own. It goes against the grain. People may see me waving my novel from a local street corner or find me peddling it via social media and think I’ve finally lost it. If you do, do me a favor: slow down, give it a read – don’t just a book by its cover.
T-Swift. Just because I can.