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Avery of Savage, Maryland asks, “Have you ever written a book you have never published?”

The Scream by Edvard Munch. In the public domain in the US.

If memory serves, there are about eleven or twelve novels that I wrote which were never published. As to why, the short answer is they were not good enough. In a couple of cases, I tried to write science fiction, but proved to myself that I did not know the genre well enough. Then there were books, which were accepted by publishers only to be subsequently turned down, as editors changed, the rewriting bogged down, or in which I lost interest for something that excited me more. One book that I wrote was deemed by my editor as too scary for my readers—and my agent concurred. I put that one aside, too. Another book failed to interest a number of publishers, which, over time, told me it was not going to interest anyone.

All that said, I like to think I learned something from these books. Moreover, some of the ideas, even characters, reemerged in other books that were published.

However, that editor, the one who said the scary book I wrote was too much for my readers, recently said, “I’ve never forgotten that book. Maybe we should do it now.”


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