I’ll be the first to admit it. My experience with actual icebergs is severely lacking. Practically everything I know about these humongous chunks of ice comes from Titanic (one of my all-time favorite love stories). But. . . if that movie taught us anything, it’s that we should pay a lot more attention to the bottom of the iceberg. You know, the part hiding underwater.
This is the part I know a little more about. Well, the metaphorical bottom of the iceberg, anyway.
The metaphorical iceberg applies to success at many things in life, but it’s an especially good representation of traditional book publishing. Most people only see the finished product–the shiny, new novel sitting on the bookstore shelf (aka the top of the iceberg). They never see the much bigger part beneath the water’s surface–the incredible amount of time and effort, not to mention, tears, self-doubt, temporary highs, lows, and failures that occur before that polished, published book finally claws its way into existence.
But make no doubt about it, every traditionally published book (and many a self-pubbed book) is a complete iceberg. You can’t have the top without the bottom.
Like many writers, I’m still building the foundation of my iceberg. It started nearly seven years ago, deep under the water. I often get asked, “When will my book(s) be published?” That’s a great question, but unfortunately, one I don’t know the answer to. Some of them may never make it to print. But that’s because I’m going the traditional route. I don’t want to publish a book for the sake of publishing a book. I want to write books full-time for a living (lofty dream, I realize!).
But molecule by molecule, my iceberg’s been growing skyward. It hasn’t reached the water’s surface yet, but I have no doubt that it will. You see, while doing yet more revisions on book #4 in preparation for querying, making plans to start revisions on book #5, and mentally molding ideas for book #6 (which will take place partly underwater, appropriately enough!), I can feel myself creeping ever closer to that threshold. If I keep working at it, I know I’ll have an entire iceberg eventually. One that’s actually visible above water for others to see.
Some day, people may see my book on a shelf and never have any idea how much work it took to get it there. They’ll never see my entire iceberg. But I guess that’s okay.
I’ll know it’s there.
And I’ll be able to admire just how beautiful the bottom of my iceberg is.