2018 has been a rollercoaster!
Just a little over a year ago, I sat where I’m sitting now having penned my first novel. It still needed a lot of work, but after an exhausting few months, I had done the impossible. The story that bubbled and boiled for so long was finally here and I had no plans on resting until I shared it with the world.
I submitted it to various publishers and literary agents, but after three months and dozens of template rejection emails, I decided to self-publish. I read every blog and article I could find and after putting together a marketing plan, I unleashed my story into the world. It did surprisingly well for the first few weeks, before ultimately crashing and burning.
At the time, I remember feeling discouraged and questioned if I had it in me to write something that people would be interested in reading. It would have been easy to give up, but deep down, I knew writing was something that I wanted to do.
After going through my campaign with a fine-tooth comb and looking at my book as objectively as possible, I identified several key mistakes and vowed not to repeat them again. I dusted myself off, knuckled down and continued on my then current project – a Sci-Fi novel called Big Red.
Undeterred, I sacrificed sleep, TV and social nights out all to pull Big Red from my brain and onto a Word document. It took months of re-writes, edits and various drafts before once again, I was ready to hit the query trenches.
And once again I got hit with template rejection emails.
Like most things in life, I tried not to take it personally. Something like one thousand books are launched a day and with such fierce competition out there, it’s hard to get noticed. I worked on my pitches, tweaked my marketing plan and kept at it. Learning from the experience gained throughout my first project, I prepared to self-publish again, even going so far as to have some mock-ups of my book cover and promo graphics done up. Then it happened.
The writing community on Twitter has long been a useful source of information to me. From tips by industry professionals and even just casual conversations with writers at various stages, it’s been a wealth of information. One day, while casually browsing, I found out about a pitch day where writers all use a tag and tweet their books' pitches. With publishers and agents all watching, I dived straight in and got some great expressions of interest for Big Red. That was a mind-blowing experience – the idea that people could actually get excited by my story!
I submitted Big Red for consideration the next day. As optimistic as I was, I had gotten so used to rejection (and grown an extra layer of skin because of it) that I continued my preparations to self-publish. Until the email arrived requesting the first three chapters of Big Red.
I couldn’t believe it – I had hooked the interest of an actual publisher! I waited with bated breath, refreshing my emails every five minutes, ignoring that little voice that told me not to get my hopes up. Then it happened again – another email from the publisher requesting the FULL manuscript.
To say I had a miniature meltdown of excitement would be an understatement. That meltdown paled in comparison to when I received an email with those magic words: “We’d like to offer you a publishing contract.”
It’s all been a blur since then. I’m so grateful for the opportunity of being able to share my story and for everything I’ve learned over the last few months.
If 2018 was a rollercoaster, then 2019 will be a rocket ship!