If Wishes Were Horses

‘If Wishes Were Horses’ tends to float alone as a phrase these days, to describe something that we wish were true, though it derives from a 17th-century Scottish proverb-nursery rhyme:

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
If turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side.
If “if’s” and “and’s” were pots and pans,
There’d be no work for tinkers’ hands.
As unknown authors, seeking representation or wondering how to proceed with self-publishing, it’s nice to daydream about what form any success we may have would look like.
Personally, if my Cornish Detective novels ever take off, I definitely wouldn’t want them to reach the stratospheric heights of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, or even of any other phenomenally successful author who really can’t write very well…insert your own detested bestseller here. After all, who wants to be so successful that you become a target for kidnappers, terrorists and extortionists?
I’d be happy for my books to sell in quantities that allow me to live a comfortable low-key lifestyle, while writing more in the series, as well as publishing other forms—short stories, novellas, poetry and song lyrics—all of which I’ve written.
I’ve always had my eye on my stories being turned into a television series, and though I know I’d have little to no control over the finished product, that’s the best route to popularisation and steady earnings. Were my novels sold to an American film studio or television company, then I’m sure I’d be able to grit my teeth tight enough to tolerate their inevitable alterations to my characters. I’d hope that they keep the seaside and wilderness of my Cornish location, probably in Maine or Washington state.
Favourable reviews and the respect of my peers would be good too. It’d be great to meet some of my crime writing heroes, people like John Connolly, Michael Connelly, Lawrence Block, Andrea Camilleri and James Lee Burke.
I’d like to please the friends who’ve encouraged my writing, by being successfulNote that I’m listing the pleasant aspects of success, not the irksome obligations, such as interviews, book signings, festival appearances (might be OK) and any hoopla that I need to indulge in via social media to make me irresistible! 
As I wander with as much insouciance as I can muster through the final stage of living, it would be great to have the feelings that appear in this poem by Sir John Betjeman:
The Last Laugh
I made hay while the sun shone. 
My work sold. 
Now, if the harvest is over 
And the world cold, 
Give me the bonus of laughter 
As I lose hold.
If wishes were horses, how would your writing endeavours pan out?
Do you want to be adored?
Could you stand being despised, but wildly successful in terms of earnings?
Would your book make a decent television series or a movie?
How do you feel about being a public face, a household name, instantly recognisable and trotted out to give opinions on things that aren’t even to do with writing?
What about the reactions of your family and friends?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *