Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Saturday, 3 June 2017

IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL by Gill Stewart



Some people write a book, submit it, and get published. That is very, very rare! Other people write a book, submit it a few times, get rejected – and give up. The real writers (in my opinion!) are the ones who are in it for the long haul.

They are the ones who write, submit, write, submit, get a small publishing contract, write, submit, indie-publish … and keep going because they have enough reinforcement from critique partners, agents, readers, etc, to believe it’s worth carrying on. And that is really all you can do as a writer – carry on. You are as good as your latest book, so you need to keep writing and make sure your work is as good as it can be.

A colleague recently said: what do you do when your book is out on submission and has been rejected three times? Another colleague replied: go and write the sequel so that when it is accepted you have more to offer. Note the when, not if! I know it takes guts to do that. Sometimes our self-belief is a little low and we wonder if it’s worthwhile. My advice is to plough on through those self-doubts and keep going. If you are a true writer you need to be in this for the long haul. There will be small triumphs, major set-backs, larger triumphs, and then more setbacks. It’s no use pretending that writing is an easy business. It’s not. Writing a good book is hard. Getting it published is harder still. And getting lots of sales is the most difficult of all. But the only failure is when you give up.

My own publishing history stretches back to 2009, although I have been writing for far longer than that. It’s hard to believe I’ve now been published for 8 years; I still feel like a newbie. My first success was to have a romantic novella, Rachel’s Coming Home, accepted by D C Thomson. How exciting that was! Since then I have had 3 further novellas published, and they have all gone on to be republished in Large Print and then e-published. In 2015, I had 2 full-length women’s contemporary fiction novels published by the lovely Accent Press. And I have self-published 3 Young Adult novels, the complete George-and-Finn trilogy having come out in 2017.

And along the way there have still been times of thinking, am I a real writer? We all have our doubts, but there are also the occasional lovely things that happen to give that little bit of reassurance and send us back to the keyboard reinvigorated. My latest bit of good news was that a German publisher has taken my novel Sunshine Through The Rain and it will be coming out in German later this year!
Sunshine Through The Rain - the British cover
Writing isn’t easy, but I love it. I would encourage anyone else who loves writing – or creating in any sphere – to gird their loins and keep going. If you don’t write the book, it won’t exist. If you don’t send it out on submission, it won’t get accepted. The only way to get your books out there is to write the damn books. I know it sounds obvious but sometimes it needs saying!

6 comments:

  1. Great post, Gill. Everyone thinks that getting your first publishing contract is the end of the journey, but your post shows that it is only the end of the beginning. :)

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    1. It is indeed. But the journey itself is (mostly) fun!

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  2. A wonderful, encouraging post Gill and one that arrived at just the right time for me. I'm going through the - can I keep going? should I keep going? how do I keep going? - right now! But now I know that to be a real writer I need to KEEP GOING! And congratulations on having Sunshine Through the Rain accepted by a German publisher - fantastic news. : )

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    1. Thanks Rae. And yes, keep on keeping on. Remember you won the Elizabeth Goudge. Remember the good stuff. You'll get there!

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  3. The comment about writing a sequel is so, so true - well, in my case it is. I wrote six or seven contemporary, unconnected,novels (all of which were rejected although some have been published since) before changing genre and writing an historical. While I waited to hear its fate I wrote a sequel - both were taken up and I then finished the trilogy. 'If at first you don't succeed, love,' my old dad used to say, 'try, try, and try again.' Good advice. Keep on trucking, you writers!

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    1. That's so interesting Linda. Great that it worked for you. This post seems to have hit a chord with a lot of people. I think we know we're in this together - for the long haul :)

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