Monday, 8 July 2013

Ready for publication? by Paula

One thing that this novel-writing enterprise has taught me is that I don't handle rejection well! It's no good telling me that Black Beauty was rejected nine times and Harry Potter, seven. Or that Ian Rankin had to write eight books before he acquired a name for himself. And I just read in the Afterword to one of Simon Kernick's novels that he had three hundred standard rejections before he finally got a two-book deal. He was certainly determined! But good for him; he now has several best-sellers to his credit.On top of this there's all the waiting time. Waiting for this agent or that publisher to decide whether or not your precious manuscript is for them. Of course, what you should be doing during this time is writing the next one. Only it's hard to type while you're biting your nails down to the quick. 
    So after four rejections (I know,  I know, I'm a wimp, have no persistence, no backbone etc. etc....) I decided to go it alone and publish my debut novel, Hangman's Wood, on Amazon and various other e-publishing sites. 
    Now, I'm not so arrogant that I think every word I write is a pearl beyond price. In fact I know quite well it's not. And I'm not above taking advice and acting on it. Quite the reverse, I value candid feedback, even when it hurts. So if you're interested in how I got to the point where I felt ready for publication, I'd better tell you first that I spent quite a bit of money, as well as effort. It took a lot of soul searching. I'd attended a writers' conference where I met several other writers in my situation, many of whom were considering using a professional editing agency. And these agencies, if they're any good, aren't cheap. And when you've no experience of using a service, you don't really know what to expect, and you can't help worrying that you may be throwing good money after bad. It really does take a leap of faith to decide to spend that sort of cash, especially when you don't really know what you're going to get for it. But anyway, against the advice of all my non-writing friends, I did it. I paid the money (about £400) and sat back and waited anxiously for the feedback. Of course, what you really want to hear is: This novel is fabulous. It's completely ready for publication. Or even: All this work needs is a little tweaking here and there. Because you've already spent ages polishing it, haven't you? It isn't your first draft, after all. Well, in your dreams. 
    Next post I'll write about what really happens!

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