Writing takes work and time, but eventually words flow from our pens and they bring us joy.
But for many of us, this isn’t enough.
We want somebody besides the cat to read our words. We want what we write to make a difference in people’s lives.
Yet the world of publishing seems to get harder to break into day by day.
It’s easy to believe that it’s your own work that’s the problem. That your novel is too long, too short, not romantic enough, not literary enough, too much action, too much description, not enough characterisation, a weak voice etc.
It’s possible that your manuscript is none of those things. It’s possible that it’s a fabulous story, but the timing just isn’t right. The publisher might already be committed to publishing a manuscript in a similar vein and they don’t want to produce two ‘similar’ books.
The marketing department may have a plan that you don’t know about, but unfortunately your book doesn’t fit into it. For example, they might be committed to publishing series at the moment, but your manuscript is a stand-alone. Or romance might be what’s ‘selling’ but yours is more action.
It doesn’t mean that your manuscript is wrong or bad, it just means that the timing isn’t right.
So what do you do in this instance?
Try something new. Use this opportunity to become a more diverse writer, to hone your craft in other areas. Learn to have fun with your writing again.
I have a number of completed YA novels that I’ve had the most amazing rejection letters on, but they’re simply not being taken up.
So I’ve put them aside for now.
I will revisit them at another time, revise them again and resubmit – but at the moment, the timing just doesn’t seem to be right.
So I’ve been turning my attention to other forms of writing – shorter forms where it doesn’t take me at least twelve months to complete something.
Not only has this brought me a lot of joy and stretched my writing skills, but it has brought me some success.
My short story for children, “Enter at Own Risk” is coming out in a November edition of one of the School Magazines.
I’ve entered the Scarlett Stiletto Awards this year and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and I’m writing poetry again.
I’ve also applied to upgrade my writing qualifications – doing my degree in creative writing followed by my Masters. If nothing else, I figure this will develop my skills, keep me inspired and allow me to meet new writers.
Yes, novels are my first love and No, I haven’t stopped working on them, (in fact I’m working on one I’m very excited about right now), but I’m spreading my wings and trying new things, and it has given my writing life new vigour.
I hope this works for you too.
If you have other tips and suggestions on how to navigate your way through the difficult world of writing and publishing, please feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.
Happy writing 🙂