You likely know the quote: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.”
The person to whom that quote is attributed, nineteenth American poet John Godfrey Saxe, could easily have extended that comparison to the process of publishing.
The strange thing is, I not only like sausages, I also like books. True, I've never worked on a farm or in a packing-house. But I have worked in and around publishing since 1976. And I still like books. I read them. For fun. In my spare time.
Even after a week spent sorting through queries and proposals. Even after myriad fiction first chapters burdened by exposition and excess adjectives. Even after an intense two weeks in a “virtual mentoring retreat,” working one-on-one with a relative neophyte to help her prepare her first book proposal.
This morning I hope to be standing outside my nearest bookstore, checking my watch, when they open the doors. For perhaps six months I've known this will be the novel's release date. I've discussed this with a friend who introduced me to this author's novels.
That was three books ago. Since then I've read the first three novels in this series, and perhaps another eighteen he's written (three under a pseudonym he's used to brand himself in a different sub-genre).
All going well, I'll have finished the book by Friday night, when I hope to attend one of this author's rare signings. That shouldn't be hard. It's easy to suspend your critical, editorial instincts when the author knows his craft. When the story, the characters, the conflict, and all those infinite details of the art of fiction fall into place and allow you as a reader to submerse yourself in the tale.
And then it doesn't seem anything at all like sausage.