I read an excellent post by John McNally at Emerging Writers Network via Tania Hershman's blog about why anyone would want to write short stories. He makes many very interesting points, but one thing stuck out for me. He talked about excellent short story writers who stopped writing. They were everywhere and highly successful, at least from writers' points of view, and suddenly they were gone. He mourned their loss.
In my relatively short time of writing, just over six years now, I have slowly seen myself change. Against my nature, I have accepted the status quo, in some instances I no longer fight it. I no longer have hope that I might change things. I feel sad about this and I wonder if perhaps these short story writers who have disappeared with their talent decided that perhaps they didn't want to adapt, they would rather do nothing if they couldn't do things as they wanted.
Publishers in Botswana publish for the school market. When I got my first Detective Kate Gomolemo book published, the publisher assured me that they would market it to a mainstream market as even I knew it was not suitable for schools. They didn't do that.
So I moved on to publisher number two and explained what I wanted with the second book. Print it dirt cheap, sell it everywhere newspapers are sold, and build that book buying public in the country. They also reeled me in with all sorts of yes words and then did what they'd always done before- marketed it, primarily, to the schools.
There are four books in the series. All long written. But I'll write no more and I'll not see another one published. I suppose in this sense I'm a bit like those MIA short story writers- if I can't have my way I won't do it.
But too, now I accept if I'm going to write books in Botswana, I must write for the school market. That's it. There will be nothing else until everyone gets in the boat and starts rowing together. I'm sad about giving in to this but, at least for the time being, those are the rules of the game. Survival of the fittest -no sentimentality allowed, no dreams out of the box- the conditions of the environment will make all decisions- and that's quite sad.