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Coming Up for Air
...Not the Orwell novel
Having discovered that many of the people who subscribe to my substack do not use Twitter, or use it only infrequently — ie, they find interesting substacks via Twitter but have no desire to spend more than ten minutes a day on it — I thought I’d best provide a bit of an update.
I’ve had two features published this month, one on state capacity — after some personal misadventures in the United States (for Law & Liberty), and an analysis of Australia’s Federal election result (for CapX).
The decline in output can be explained by two conferences back-to-back at the end of April/beginning of May, and an invitation from a publisher to submit a non-fiction book proposal.
As most of you know, while I produce commentary for newspapers and magazines, the three longest things I’ve written are novels. And I sold the novels after writing them.
Of course they were edited — all writers need editing — but the substantive work was complete. I’m sure there are novelists out there who can plot so skilfully they know what they’re going to write in advance such that publishers can rely on a set of written plot-points, but I am not among their number.
So the whole business of selling a book before writing it is very much a new experience (although apparently standard with non-fiction). It meant I spent much of May realising I did not know what I was doing. Fortunately my agent has a much better idea. With luck (and his assistance), what I sent off yesterday made sense. I think it would make a good book, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?
I will of course keep you all updated as things develop, and perhaps road-test some bits in here.
In the interim, have a Chilli.