Manuscripts get lost. Hard copies get lost – flood, fire, confiscation have all happened to writers I know. Soft copies get lost. I once had a mechanical failure of my hard drive that destroyed beyond recovery everything I had on it including a book I was making good progress on. Don’t ask what happened to my backup.
I wonder how often they get found again? I love the story of RaggleTaggleFleet. The author, Ladislaw Reday, kept a WWII diary but lost it in 1943 ‘when it was left in a suitcase on a plywood landing craft which broke down on the Morobe River in New Guinea.’
The story continues thus:
Some time later a Mick Morris from the Australian Army Water Transport Unit, came sailing up the Morobe River and saw the abandoned landing craft, and being a bit of a scrounger, (his words not mine) went onboard and found a suitcase containing the diary and a pewter mug engraved Ladislaw Reday.
In 1975 Mick Morris who was living in Sydney at this time saw in the paper that a Mr & Mrs Reday were house guests at the wedding of a Mr Jack Savage’s daughter, Mick Morris before the war had sailed with Jack Savage, so he rang Jack and confirmed that the Ladislaw Reday was the same person who served in New Guinea with the US Army Small Ships, Mick made an appointment to meet with Laddie Reday later at an hotel in William Street Sydney where the Case containing the diary and the mug were handed over.
This wasn’t the end of it, the book that resulted from the diary didn’t get published until after the author’s death. You can read the story in full here.
It makes the average string of publishers’ rejections pale into insignificance, does it not?