Friday, March 9, 2012

Keeping a Lid On It

It's not easy. I began my writing career in 1998 when I was gifted my first computer,(thanks again Darren)and I became familiar, very quickly, with the cycle of submit and be rejected. Editors say things like "we appreciate your interest in the magazine but your story is not quite right for us", "we appreciate the chance to read your story, unfortunately the piece is not for us", "after careful consideration we've decided we won't be able to use your story", and "we read your work but it wasn't a good fit for us at this time." Not all rejections are flat out rejections. Although adding fuel to the fire of frustration, some editors provide encouragement by praising what they liked about the story. They say things like, "Good idea", "well paced", "well written", "I loved the character", "I enjoyed it" etc, and then apologize that they won't be publishing it.I've written 71 short stories and had 11 of them published. That's 11 acceptances out of 252 submissions.

I've also written two novels. The first, Devolution was published as an e-book in 2009. I paid for that to happen and I did not recover my costs through sales. Nevertheless, it was an achievement. I had a product to sell and some supportive friends and family bought copies. Now Devolution is available in paperback and it cost me nothing to produce. It's called "print on demand" and I set it up with CreateSpace. When the proof copy arrived on my doorstep, I was stoked. The book was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. In a couple of weeks, I'll be appearing at the local bookstore to sell and sign copies of Devolution on the back of some publicity, including a feature article in the local newspaper. Like I said, it's not easy to keep on lid on my excitement. These small steps mean everything and nothing much at the same time. You can imagine my anxiety as I think of the in store appearance.

Will complete strangers buy my book? Why should they? Because they like the cover? The blurb? Because they want to support a local author? Will the appearance be a flop, leaving me to walk way with a box of unsold books? All writers have experienced rejection. All writers have had the fear that they are writing for themselves when what they desperately want is readers. Some writers become hugely successful, rich and famous...most writers have to keep their day jobs.I have to keep my day job which is okay because I actually love my day job...but I want to write and want people to read what I write. All I can do therefore, is try, struggle to contain my enthusiasm, keep writing and keep dreaming of eventual success.

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