So, you want to write a book? Or you have written a book. Maybe you even have a small, shredded tree in your desk drawer and a few hundred agent rejections stacked up. Confidence is down. Will you ever get there? Should you just self-publish? It looks like the easy answer, right?
Self-publishing is most definitely a valid way to get your book in print in today’s modern world. But it isn’t an easy ride. What I find most disappointing about the plethora of ‘cheap’ books available on Amazon Kindle or Bookbub bargains is the lack of quality. Authors who didn’t take the time, or spend the money (and this doesn’t have to be expensive) to edit their books properly. When I see a book riddled with typos, I put it down. It’s not just about the typos. But a wider sign the author might not have had advice on the plot and structure and character of their book. And while self-publishing can be very lucrative for those who do put in the time and hire that editor and push their book all over social media etc, it’s not where I feel my strengths lie. But I’m not ruling it out!
Whether you chose to self-publish or present your book on a platform such as WattPad or seek traditionally representation, there is one vital factor you need: PERSEVERANCE. When I look at my submission history, I’ve been through two agents and I am back in the querying trenches yet again, I can’t count the number of rejections I’ve had from both agents and editors (while I had been on submission with publishers).
Does it get me down? Of course. I’m human. Rejection stings. What helps me is to talk it out with my writing friends, have a cuddle from my family, drink a glass of wine, send out another impulse query, just to have it ‘out there.’ But I carry on. Why? Because I want to see my book in print. That’s my dream. I won’t ever give up.
I’m lucky enough that I do have a book coming out next summer. My first. A YA sci-fi entitled The Unadjusteds. But the perseverance doesn’t stop there. I had to completely re-write the whole thing. And it was the right thing to do, but aw, man, that was hard. And there will be more edits coming. And I’m still querying. Still putting myself out there, trying to find the right agent to represent all the other books I’ve written. I don’t want to stop at just one. I want more. I want it all. Why shouldn’t I? But I can’t do it if I don’t try, if I don’t pick myself up after every rejection and push it out there again.
So for those of you who are also in the writing and querying trenches with me, I can recommend a few things to help.
• Celebrate your rejections. That’s right. Celebrate them. Every rejection you receive is one closer to that YES!
• If you’re lucky enough to get feedback from an agent, think on it. Does it chime? Can you make your book stronger before you send it out again?
• Don’t get overly precious about your first book that you’ve been writing for three years. If it doesn’t get picked up by an agent or a publisher, you must move on to the next project. It’s rare that it is an author’s first book that is published.
• Find your tribe. Find those other writerly people who can commiserate with you and share in your successes. It makes the journey so much less lonely. Now, I actually feel I have colleagues and a very good support system.
• Use social media. Yes, this can me a big time waster, but Twitter especially is a great way to find like-minded souls, beta readers, CP partners or people to just talk to about your journey. There are also regularly scheduled chats such as #UkTeenChat or #WritersWise or #StoryCrafter where you can engage with other writers about particular topics. Places to hang out and talk to other authors any time include: #peerpitch #writementor #ontheporch #writerslife #amwriting #writerspatch and many more!
GOOD LUCK! And I hope to see some of you out there in the trenches. If you want to connect with me on twitter, here I am: @MarisaNoelle77
A motivational thought/tip: Write a book you’d like to read. If you wouldn’t read it, why would anyone else? – Hilary Mantel
I’ll leave you with a riddle – answers next time!: What starts with an ‘e’ but only has a single letter in it?