Terresa asked a few days ago about my journey to publication, so I thought I'd reprint this little piece I wrote for Bookerazzi a little while ago. If you have any getting-published-related Qs feel free to ask away.
I was writing a daily journal during 2003, and one morning a character called Ruth 'turned up' and asked me to write her story. I thought I'd try writing it as a novel, as an experiment.
After writing poetry for years and years I wasn't sure that I could manage not the usual 20 or 100 words, but 80000 in a row. I set myself a modest target of words per day, and six months later I had a first draft.
I'd already had years of experience of having my poems rejected (alongside the odd acceptance) and so, along with what I'd heard about how difficult it was to get a publishing deal, I decided early on that getting published was a 'long term goal'.
My medium term goal was writing as good a book as I could manage. My short term goal was writing the next sentence rather than wandering off to have another cup of tea.
It was being clear about publication being a long term goal, and focussing on the pleasure of the process of writing, that helped me through the next five years. I got an agent, but she couldn't find me a publisher. We parted company. I wrote two more novels. I self-publised a self-help book and two books of poetry to keep me going. I continued looking for a new agent, and submitted my manuscripts all over the place.
And then in July I got an email from Snowbooks, out of the blue. They liked my novel. They'd like to see my other ones. They liked them too.
'The Letters' came out in March 2009, followed by 'The Blue Handbag', and 'Thaw' is next. I'm a very lucky person. But I still believe that if you write well, there isn't any reason why you shouldn't be published, eventually, if you keep trying.
It took me five years - it could have taken ten, or fifty. However long it took, I knew that I'd continue to write - because I love to write. I need to love it, because it's the most difficult part of my life. The most difficult, and the most important.
PPS Thank you for all your feedback about blogging Thaw - I'm definitely going to go for it. But you'll have to wait until March!
PPPS The kitten has no relation to anything in this post. I know I shouldn't approve of animals in jumper, but this is my favourite Rachel Hale photo - the little chap is called Snickers. Happy weekend!
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