Thursday, 13 July 2017

If you're not ready for rejection, you're not ready to submit...

...has become a personal motto this year. I am so ready for rejection, I can even share it with you.

I get lots of nice feedback, usually along the lines of "it stood out but...". There's always a but. What follows that seems most often to be a variation on either "this isn't quite right for our list" or "this isn't something we feel we could get behind" and that is, of course, all fine. Other feedback seems to suggest that my work is not commercial enough, and that the story in question doesn't make the reader care passionately enough. Not so fine.

A common thing to say to struggling writers in submission purgatory is "well, Carrie was rejected 30 times before things took off for Stephen King" and that's true. The accepted response to such well-meaning platitudes is to nod and force a smile. The real response should be to point out that most struggling writers are not Stephen King (and whatever you think of him, he undeniably knows how to craft a page-turner), and that the publishing landscape has changed immeasurably since the early '70s. But on we go, regardless: nod and smile.

Since the 19th of December last year, I have so far made 36 submissions of which 58% have been rejected and 31% have elapsed, that is to say the "if your haven't heard from within n weeks you're not going to" category. A precious 11% - four submissions - can still be considered "live" but only because those agents don't have a "haven't heard" category...

But onwards - I gave myself a timescale for Drawn To The Deep End, and have a self-publication fallback plan if that timescale elapses without success. And for the novella in progress, working title Nudge (a title which will change, by the way), I have novella competitions that I want to enter.

Better get writing then.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Song Books - a recommendation

I have nothing new to post about my own writing, but I am very happy to recommend having a listen to this: my good friend and supremely talented writer, Deborah Arnander, talking about short stories on the radio. With bonus Velvet Underground and Nico content! Here you go:

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A definite trend is emerging...

...and it's downwards.

I know I gave myself until September to find an agent and/or publisher, but self-publishing Drawn To The Deep End is starting to look inevitable.

And in other news, my submission to the Escalator programme was also knocked back.

Onwards though, right?

Friday, 5 May 2017

Blogger's Lament (or, proof that it's a good job I don't often write poems)

I don't know why I write this blog,
I'm really at a loss.
The hit count's low, the comments few;
The Web don't give a toss.

A guest post here, a retweet there,
But not much to delight in.
Maybe I should bin the lot
And do some proper writing.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Another update

Because I don't want to type the words "sit-rep" again, here's a graph, as of last night:

To console myself on the emerging trend, I did at least manage to apply to the Norwich Writers' Centre Escalator programme, so there's something else I can update you on, in the fullness of time. In their words, Escalator is an annual talent development programme in which ten successful applicants get a period of mentoring, a series of development opportunities, talks and workshops as part of a residential retreat, and to take part in a final showcase, in which they read and pitch their work to agents and publishers. It's quite competitive, but you've got to be in it to win it, I suppose. Fingers crossed anyway.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sit-rep

Sorry, I know sit-rep makes me sound like Jeremy Clarkson but this is a situation report, so what can I do?

In my last post, I said that I was starting to submit my novel-length manuscript. Between then and mid-February, I submitted to 28 agents and 7 publishers that accept unagented work. That's the situation. Now here's the report.

  • Of the 28 agents:
    • 13 (46.4%) have sent me rejections
    • 4 (14.3%) have passed their own deadline for response without responding, i.e. elapsed
    • 11 (39.3%) have sent no response but have no deadline for doing so, i.e. are still "live"
  • Of the 7 publishers:
    • 2 (28.6%) have sent me rejections
    • 1 (14.3%) has passed their own deadline for response without responding, i.e. elapsed
    • 4 (57.1%) have sent no response but have no deadline for doing so, i.e. are still "live"

Bottom line: 20 of the 35 submissions have been unsuccessful thus far. Most of the rejections had kind things, positives, in their emails, and I tell myself they're not just boilerplate messages, even though they probably are. And there are still 15 irons in the fire. Besides, if you're a writer who's not ready for some rejection, well, you're probably not really ready to start submitting either...