My debut fantasy novel, The Archguardians of Laceria, is now available in paperback, and in all ebookstores!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Pressure is Mounting


   I've been feeling a little tense about my writing lately. I'm sure I've mentioned all of this before, but it's a very real worry - probably the biggest worry I really have at the moment.
   I've put about 3 years worth of work into my trilogy so far. I bought the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2012 around the beginning of this year and filtered through every single page of literary agencies, crossing off those who only took fact-based writings like reference or history books, and agencies who only accepted general fiction. Then, I visited the websites of all of the agencies who never stated whether they took fantasy writing or not, and once I'd filtered those out, I ended up with five agencies.
   Five.
   Like I've said, I've put a lot of time into this first book - it's not the first piece of work I've ever done; I've been writing since I was 12, and as you can imagine, the writing at that point wasn't exactly readable, but over the past 9 years I've grown more adept, and I've found and corrected a lot of my weaknesses. That's not to say that I don't have any weaknesses anymore, but I've corrected a few of them. I've written many things, and tried my hand at general fiction for a while, but stopped when I found myself uninterested and returned to fantasy. Unfortunately, if there's no magic, dragons, other races or different terrain, then I'm just unable to keep focused.


     


   I finally had a great idea for a trilogy (I personally prefer trilogies, there's more time to get to know characters and their backgrounds - both the good guys and the baddies) and got to work on that in about 2009. I finished in March 2011 and then spent the next year proofing it, rewriting bits and spell checking over and over and over again. At the beginning of this year I felt ready to get it out there. I emailed all of the agencies who never did specify in the book or their website if they accepted fantasy, and received rejections from them all. Some took only a week (making me wonder if they'd even read it) while others took a month.
   On average it takes between 6 to 8 weeks to hear back from agencies. I narrowed the agency list down to 5 agencies who specifically said they do accept fantasy. That was where my specially written cover letters came in. I heard back from each agency I sent these letters to, some after a few days, one a few weeks, and another about a month later. 4 out of the 5 requested my material (the one who didn't simply stated they only take about 2 new clients a year, so I'm going to try again in a few months and send them my material right off the bat).
   So, to save paper and ink, I only printed my first three chapters once, and sent them to the first agency who had responded, while I emailed my work to another who requested it in that format. They responded with a rejection, which worried me a little because it was one of the only 5 I actually believe I may have some slight shot with.



   I sent the physical material out on the 10th of June - 4 weeks and 2 days ago. I've not yet heard back, and I know I'm just being impatient, but over the course of this time it's began to hit home just how uncertain this whole career choice is. Actors and singers can wait years for their big break (which is just insulting when a certain "Beeber" creature hits big when it's so young), but if they're physically sellable it's easier for them to get noticed. They perform in public spaces. Writers don't write in public spaces and get cheered for when they finish a page.
     I have put a lot of work into writing - not just into this book, but into progressing my skill and hammering out my weaknesses to a point where I finally feel confident enough to spread around what I've done and try to build a career out of it.
   But there's no certainty in any of it. I could spend my whole life writing, but there's no guarantee that anyone will be willing to take a chance on me. I know that choosing to write a trilogy was perhaps the wrong way to go, but after speaking with different sources, I was advised not to tell agencies that I was submitting the first book of a trilogy, but to let them read it and form their own opinions on the story as they went, rather than being clouded by the possibility of offering a three-book contract as opposed to one, which I completely understand is a much bigger risk. If the first book doesn't pay out, then the next two certainly won't.
   I'm not happy about not letting them know it's a trilogy, because in a way I believe I'm deceiving them, a lie of omission, but at the same time I know full well why people have advised me to do so.
   Unfortunately, no one has yet asked me for my full work. On one hand that's a good thing, because it means I've been rejected based on my work, rather than the prospect of taking a massive risk. It might not seem like the sort of thing to boost my confidence, but it means they read my first three chapters and gave me their decision based on just that.

   I'm hoping agencies interested in fantasy will want to see more, but even if they do they could say "no" at the end, especially when they realise after 450 pages, it ends at a cliffhanger.

   After all this rambling, I really am just trying to say I'm scared. Very scared. On one hand I have plenty of other ideas - this trilogy is far from my only chance. But I want to get on with my life. I have no job and my shop only brings in so much. I want this dream to happen, and I can work and work and work away at it, but if no one wants to take a risk on me, there's really nothing I can do. I will work and work and work, however, but it really brings me down while I lie in bed trying to sleep, fretting about whether my future will happen or not. Some people don't have dreams. That's fine, but I do, and I intend to make it happen, but when that dream relies on so many other people to make it happen, it can be really demotivational.
   I have no intention of stopping, not by a long shot, but it makes waiting difficult.
   When I hear any news, I'll update here. If it's bad news, I'll go ahead and post to the next agency, but as time passes, my doubts for this particular book are growing. I'm wondering if, instead of going ahead and writing the second book of the trilogy, as I have been, I should turn my mind to something else, something new to grab their attention sooner. All I can think is if this first book gets nowhere then the second book is kind of obsolete, and the longer I spend on that right now, the longer it'll take whatever other piece I could be writing to get finished and become presentable.

   I'll stop my rambling because I feel like I'm about to come full-circle.





3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I appreciate it. I have everything crossed! I can hardly walk!

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  2. I will keep my fingers crossed too. I can totally empathise with the list of rejection emails coming in.Just try to keep on keeping on.

    Sarah
    http://acatlikecuriosity.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete

I do read every single comment, and I will try to respond where I can. If you have an important question about my blog or my shop, however, then you might be better off contacting me directly by email. Thanks so much for reading my blog!