A writer’s journey

If there is a major pothole a writer should avoid falling into, it’s the fear of rejection. I fell into it, and am just about getting out of it. Now that I look back, maybe (partly at least) it was because I revered authors. Whether it was Charles Dickens or Minette Walters, it didn’t matter. How could I even dream of walking amongst them?

The fear of not being good enough paralysed me for years. I had wanted to write a novel since I was ten actually, and I wrote several, starting from the time I was a teenager. Not just novels and novellas, but short stories, fan fiction, and screenplays. I would read these out to friends and family off and on, but never sent anything for publication. I threw almost all of my early writings away, except for the poetry.

I turned into a journalist –  a fairly good one at that. I liked to see my byline out there in mainstream newspapers and I liked the paychecks. Often, I would submit a humour piece or a short story, and my editors liked it and published it. But writing a whole novel? That was a different ballgame. The project fell by the wayside. When I did draft a novel one day, it was in a tentative fashion. Then I kept it away and concentrated on my “real” work.

Last year, my daughter told me it was time I published it. So what if it was rejected she said. I was an experienced writer by now and should not feel insecure. She was right. The years of writing had done me well. My words flowed better. I felt more confident and decided that I was ready.  So I re-wrote my crime novel and was happy with the result.

But when I sent in the book proposals, I realised no one even wanted to read my novel, leave alone give it a shot.

I read up on self-publishing. Most of what I read was discouraging. Besides the obvious challenges that were underlined, the message was that if the holy grail of traditional publishers did not want even want to read it, something must be wrong with the book. I did not let it get me down. I sent my novel out to beta readers, and now it’s just come back from a professional edit. I will continue to search for a traditional publisher and if I am not successful in finding one, it does not mean that I will give up on my book.

(This post was originally written for a writer’s group which I am no longer a part of and therefore all references to it have been removed)

11 thoughts on “A writer’s journey

  1. Jemima Pett

    I love that you trusted your instincts. The sad fact is that publishers can’t afford to go with a book that may not be commercial, which is a long way from it being good. I think luck is a huge part of it getting picked up by a tradional publisher. Look forward to reading your book!

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      1. Nita

        I think that luck does play a part. There are slush piles and slush piles and I know I must have got crushed underneath. And then maybe there are too many novelists in my genre. Brick and mortar bookshops aren’t making money. No one wants to take a chance on an unknown author. I don’t blame them. It’s hard to sell books today. If anyone has to take a chance on me, it’s me!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebecca Douglass

    Good advice! It is hard to get all those rejections and not lose faith in yourself. I did it. Eventually, I re-wrote the novel that had been getting rejected, with the help of an editor, and then I published it myself. I’m pretty comfortable with how that turned out, and with the quality of my work, even if I don’t get validated by a publisher. I get validated by every person who buys the 2nd and 3rd in the series 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. J.Q. Rose

    Good for you Nita. I like your attitude and thank goodness your daughter encouraged you to go for it. Be sure and shout about it when your novel is released! You’re welcome to be my guest on my blog if you want to share about the book with my readers.
    JQ Rose

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