Monday, 20 December 2010

Don't tell me the moon is shining...

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  ~Anton Chekhov

I will not bore you with a detailed description of everyday of my writing experience as I would like to get up to speed pronto. So ultimately through some struggle and occasionally leaving my writing for several months at a time I completed my manuscript. That was some time last year. I printed my meagre 55000 words and thought that I should feel elated but no that feeling never came, for one it was too short despite it being the skeleton of the book, it obviously didn’t feel like it was complete and therefore no feeling of gratification arrive and secondly, I was not happy with it entirely, the characters I felt needed more depth.  But even though it was only a first draft I gave it to my nearest and dearest to read. Surprisingly they loved it and my family are VERY critical. They said it kept them entertained that it was a page turner but they also pointed out the flaws, they wanted more description, the characters needed depth and the most difficult was that it needed a sub plot. So I attacked it again. I read the whole manuscript and wrote all over it, typed up the changes (old school I know- but this method really works for me). I did this about three to four times until I printed a copy and beamed with delight at my work. Finally two years later my debut novel was born. 

It was then that I realised that the easy part was over. Where did I go from here?! I did a million writers workshops on-line to perfect my query letter, synopsis and find the perfect title for my book and this took a couple of weeks. I then looked at my work and although by now a few non family members had read it and equally loved it, I lost all confidence. “I am going to self publish” I declared one evening to my boyfriend. “You haven’t even tried sending it off to publishers” he said. I was so annoyed, I wanted him to say, yep pay all that money and do it- To me that would be less hassle and less rejection. Who likes rejection? But my boyfriends words resonated in my mind. I had to try the traditional route before committing to self publishing so that’s what I did. 

I bought the Writers handbook and spent a day marking all the writers agents that I thought would take my work, I researched their websites, I noted their submission requirements. I sent 20 submissions out. I was excited but a little part of me was just waiting for the rejection. I queried just how many would actually respond. Well let me tell you because that was about three months ago now. I got 14 rejections, which in hindsight was good as I read somewhere that if you get over 15 there is something wrong with your book. No real feedback, someone liked the plot, another didn’t. All this told me was that this traditional route (and these were writers agencies not even publishing houses) was very subjective.  So when that 14th rejection came in (the other 6 did not even reply), I decided then and there to self publish and I suppose that is where I am right now. Leaping into the world of self publishing, and I will make it work, I am determined! 

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