Reviving forgotten manuscripts

Although the market continues to be flooded with self-published books, I understand that the torrent is slowing down. Maybe this is because, having realised that indie authorship does not provide an easy path to best-seller status, many less committed writers are giving up. Another reason could be that the backlog of old manuscripts, which had been rejected for traditional publication but can now be published by authors themselves, is starting to clear. Having taught myself the basic ropes by self-publishing Persons not Diseases and my trilogy of Three Novellas I am now looking at reviving my own backlog.

The first adult novel I ever wrote is over thirty years old. I recently rescued its faded typescript from the drawer where it has been languishing all this time, and have been converting it to electronic format. It is a gently satirical mystery / romance set in an English mental asylum in the 1980s, and in many ways it describes a forgotten world, for so many aspects of life have changed. Today’s readers may find it hard to believe that, for example, staff used to smoke and drink on duty, did not have computers or mobile phones, or that orders from male doctors were so readily obeyed by nurses and patients alike. Parts of the text seem quite embarrassing or outrageous to my more sedate older self – should I defer to political correctness and tone them down? Should I publish the book at all?

Even after all these years it is difficult for me to look objectively at this first novel, remembering so clearly as I do the passionate enthusiasm with which I wrote it and my bitter disappointment when a series of rejection letters arrived in the post. I am hoping that a few trusted people will agree to read it and give me some kind but honest feedback.