The long 14 year road to publish a novel
The Journey Begins
First things first. The first novel I wrote was Borders of Bordavia, a children’s fantasy, I finished late in 2005. I immediately began looking for a publisher or agent. Thus began the journey. Meanwhile, I kept writing. Over the next seven years I wrote another six novels, seven in total. The one that is being published in 2020 is the last one I wrote, Lone Wolf World.
However, none of my novels, (in a variety of genres and age ranges), were ever accepted. This despite having had stories and poetry published in numerous countries. Despite having been nominated for the US Pushcart Prize in 2014. I’ve had short films screened in film festivals. Not big ones but an author who has made short films is an achievement in itself. I’ve had short plays produced too. And produced dozens of artistic short videos from my poetry.
Hundreds of rejections
I’ve had hundreds of rejections. I used to document every place I ever emailed or sent work to. I would also note if they replied or not. As the years went back and email became the preference for publishers and agents, the amount of replies became less and less. It became too easy and no doubt they were swamped with submissions. Soon, many just closed their doors to submissions, including agents.
Writing a novel in 2010. (I handwrite everything, then type it up).
I stopped documenting after approximately 600 rejections/non answers. I lost track. As we know, the digital age has seen the decline of the traditional publishing model. And the rise of independent authors who can now sell their own books online with sexy looking websites.
I said I would give it a decade to get published. I gave it 14 years. I believe I’m further away now than ever before. I went via Atrilla Press and decided to do it Frank Sinatra style, My Way.
There’s a lot more to it of course. But rest assured, there were countless times when I fell into a dark depression over the amount of rejections I was getting. Especially when I was getting work published and excellent feedback. I just couldn't understand it. I’d even managed to find a small independent press, Ginninderra Press who eventually published four small books. I just couldn’t get anybody else to look at the novels, let alone read them. And let me say, that every single one of those rejections stung. I am not tough. I’m sensitive. I think a good writer has to be. If you're interested in emotions that is. There would be months where I did not send out work, or even write, as I was too down and defeated to go on.
The pen is mightier than the sword. (In more positive days.)
Go your own way
So here I am today, publishing through Atrilla and doing most of the leg work myself. I can't compete with the big boys. I won't get the media and advertising but it’s about getting the work out there. It deserves to be read. And if it doesn’t find many people, so be it. Better to keep putting it out there than have the cover not to my liking or content removed because I don't have the final say. Or be dropped after one book because it didn’t sell enough.
It’s about making it available now. For you and whomever may come next. I personally believe that they have too much merit to never be read. Now I just want to leave something behind for my daughter to be proud of when she grows up. I know I’m proud of those books. I also want to honour that teenage boy in the country who used to stay in his room and pound away on an old second hand typewriter. He had big dreams. It’s for him.
Lone Wolf World is out now. (Without you, this book will go nowhere. Please share.)