If you occasionally check out my author website, you might get the impression, based on the lack of updated blog posts, that I’ve thrown in the writing towel and dropped off the face of the earth.
Au contraire! I have been writing on a semi-regular basis, just offline. And what are the results of my efforts? The completion of my second novel!
I wish I was writing to inform my multitudes of followers (humor me for a minute) that my second novel will soon be released. The instant gratification part of me is twitching it’s fingers and wants to hire someone to design an eye catching cover and then upload my manuscript and self-publish. After all, I’ve spent over a year writing and rewriting, having it edited and rewriting again. As soon as it comes back from the proofreader, wouldn’t it be logical to publish it online?
I listened to that voice when I published my debut novel Green in October of 2013. In fact, I didn’t even consider the traditional route of attempting to get an agent or starting the arduous process of submitting to publishers. I read enough books about publishing and novel writing to know the chances of getting an agent and getting published are both slim. Take this quote for example:
“A literary agent may get 5,000 query letters a year. Only a fraction of these will lead to the agent requesting the manuscript. If you think about it, an agent reading one out of a hundred submissions must read 50 books every year!” Source: Mark O’Bannon’s article on Betterstorytelling.net.
I could find a hundred more quotes that would justify a second round of self-publishing as the most logical route. But there is another voice within me that has been gaining ground over the last six months, and she has been saying something rather wise: Why not try? Do the research; do it right; put in the time. If it doesn’t work out, who cares? You can self-publish.
But my ego cares. I’m sure on some level my id and superego also care. Because really; who wants to set themselves up in an almost statistically guaranteed position of rejection? And who wants to admit failure? Despite all of this logic, that steady voice within keeps telling me to defer the excitement of sharing my latest novel with the world and invest the time and energy into getting it published–despite the odds. After all, if I fail in being selected out of those thousands of manuscripts, I will have at least tried. This is almost as big an accomplishment as writing the darned book in the first place! wouldn’t you agree?
Now that I’ve made that decision, it’s almost like the universe is providing me with the framework to take the first step.
This past Monday I attended the first Connecting Women gathering of the year in The Hague. The topic? Failing: A gift in Disguise, presented by psychologist Vassia Sarantopoulou. (And yes, with a name like that she is Greek).
In less than an hour, she took the word failure and transformed it into a positive concept. Everybody in this world must experience failure to get to know themselves, gain clarity in their lives and to learn how to succeed; even if that success comes in another form than you originally intended, she explained.
During the presentation, she asked the audience to come up with an imaginary person who was struggling with a failure in their lives. The group came up with a woman named Lilly who was both a writer and hair stylist. I was not the one to suggest she was a writer! This imaginary Lilly became a case study for our group. The advice that poured forth, the strategies for addressing her passion to write and her frustrations around her failure to publish seemed to be speaking to the future me. If Lilly takes up the gauntlet and gives it a try, why can’t I? Because if you view failure and success as strange synonyms, you have changed the way you view the world.