Things change. It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that I was writing this merry little blog-post, filled with optimism, sunshine and metaphorical puppies. Now rejection is my only friend. I have exhausted the few connections I have. I am running out of options.

Writing is a funny game. There are so many slips ‘twixt cup and lip that it’s almost impossible to feel confident; even a critically-admired trilogy is no guarantee of book four reaching the shelves. There’s so much competition that we have to measure success in little ways: a personalised rejection; a request for a full manuscript, even if then rejected; ‘another agent might feel differently’. Small mercies. Cold comforts.

I want to be published. I want to make a career, even if it’s alongside Paid Employment, proofreading and all the rest. I believe I’m good enough. I’m certainly battered and ugly enough. So I find myself looking once again to self-publishing.

I have product: Night Shift is ready for press, its sequels drafted and requiring only another run-through or three. Oneiromancer is also ready to go, a simpler matter as the subject is deeper within my comfort zone. I’m planning a sequel to that – but herein, really, lies the rub: what’s the point of writing a sequel if the first book stands no chance (a premature statement, but still) of getting published?

The book will be written because the book needs to be written. When you have visions and wonders inside you have to find a way to let them out, regardless of the sense of it. This is what a writer is – a conduit between dreams and the wider world, and one that has only limited powers over what they emit.

But it’s frustrating and dispiriting. I understand the business; I understand that agents are overwhelmed with wannabees and they can only endorse the works they truly fall in love with.

But I’m getting old. I’ve given over a decade to writing and I believe that I’m good (for a given value of good) and will get better. What do I do? What do any of us do? Shall we organise a revolution and overthrow these guardians of respectability and set up our own empire of fools?

Or shall we just get back to the keyboard and keep going, keep going, keep going until we smash the walls with the sheer weight of our words?

3 thoughts on “Downshift

  1. I’ll admit, my personality does contain a bit of ‘screw it, I’m gonna do it anyway because Eff You’ when it comes to my writing career. Self-publishing my trilogy was a hell of a lot of fun (more so that I expected, actually), even though my sales are close to nil. The response of those who *did* read the books have been positive, at least to me. Maybe not ‘why isn’t this a bestseller’ but ‘damn that was a fun read’. I’ll take the latter over the former every time.

    That said…I’ve come to terms that I won’t be a globally known (or even nationally known) author and that I’m pretty much releasing my stuff as if I was a US punk band in the 80s, pushing my books DIY any way I can. The important part is that I’m writing the damn things anyway. Why? Because I LOVE doing it. Giving up now — especially after a 20+ year slog of trying to get good at it — would probably destroy me otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a wonderful attitude and I really admire you. I’m just not sure if I’m really set up for self-publishing – mentally, I guess I mean, rather than practically. Maybe that’s just fear or ignorance and I’m sure I’ll revisit the idea in the near(ish) future.

      I guess until you do something you don’t know that you’ll love it. Maybe that’s all it’ll take: that step into the (for me) unknown and I’ll be forever converted.


      • Totally understandable. I had no idea if I’d enjoy self-pubbing before I did it either. More to the point, I was worried that I’d detest all the self-promotion needed. [I also possess a ‘can’t be arsed’ gene that I’m constantly fighting.] My drive to do it anyway was purely on the fact that I’d been working on this damn trilogy for so long and getting no submission bites that that seemed the only route. Trunking them now was not an option for me.

        It’s definitely a viable avenue, especially nowadays with outlets like CreateSpace and Smashwords that are essentially printing presses for your own DIY work.

        Good luck! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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