Rejection!

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I feel I must warn you, if your not a writer maybe this blog post is not for you. You may get something from what Im going to write but writers will appreciate it that much more.

Rejection is a writers burden to bear. We all suffer rejection in our lives. We can go to work and feel a certain amount of rejection each and every day. Only it’s short lived and often we brush it off as wit or someone being funny at your expense. And I say, so what, I probably do it to others as much as others do it to me. Life goes on. Only as a writer I feel our rejection can go a little further.
In most professions of art there seems to be a tough road that we must follow. A road of loss and pain which all the greats have walked down. some of the most famous being Vincent van Gogh and Goya and a more modern day star Amy Winehouse this is to name just a few of many. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not alining myself up with the likes of the above, just showing that great art seem to come from people that have had great pain.
So rejection plays a part in creating the art, and my art is writing. I have lost much in my life. More than some and not as much as many. When I look round at my fellow man and woman I see people who don’t see the world as I do, they move through their life with eyes closed and hear nothing of its beautiful sounds.

When I receive a rejection letter from an agent or a publisher it hurts. If you say it didn’t then you are fooling yourself and if that’s how you cope with rejection, then fine fool away. Only it doesn’t stop there, it took me over five years to write my first novel. And the one I’m on now I have been writing for a year already. I work full time and have a young family so time is my enemy and I just don’t have enough of it.

People can without knowing it reject us sensitive writer types simply by being nice.
You know when you meet someone for the first time and tell them your a writer is goes something like this-

You tell them your a writer, they think it’s great and tell you how they have a good idea and begin to share it with you. Then you try to explain that good ideas are plentiful and its not the idea that makes a writer but the commitment. They look blanked at you and ask you what your book is about. You reply with a fumbled pitch that takes all credibility from you which leaves them thinking your a fraud.
Now weeks go by and they will eventually ask how the book is going you say it’s coming great and go it to a boring rant about the currant plot because you feel they are truly interested and not just being nice. Then when you notice there face you stop and it’s many months before that person ask about your book. After a year( or maybe two) they ask again and are surprised when you still have the excitement you had before. But still you will manage to bore them and they will walk away thinking how can someone commite so much time into something that will amount to nothing.
And that’s the difference between a want to be writer and a writer. What we do is hard, each and every time someone asks how the book is it’s a kind of small rejection in its self. (That’s unless you answer is it’s published! Here have a complimentary copy.) All they do is remind you how slow and bad you are, but and this is a but with a smile on my face. If you want to be good you have to go through all this rejection.
It builds good writing.
You will only find your style through writing many hundreds of thousands of words. Not till then will it be you and you will be good.
So when the next person asks you how’s the book coming, tell them it’s coming fine and thanks for asking. If they ask what’s it about? And this is the hard part that I fail to do so often. Tell them sorry but you have decided to not tell anyone about the book until you have finished. Then talk about the weather or there new house or the next new smart phone.
then when they hear about your book its the first time and its complete. You are free to talk about all the characters and plot turns because they have read it.

ps, This advice is manly directed at me, I am a failure when it come to following these simple rules. But I will make the extra effort and not keep going on about my books that is until I have finished then i will not shut up.
Please comment as Im always happy to receive them.

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Wow! Another Year Already

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Image from http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Wow September the 8th, I get to this part of the year and it brings to mind that the year is about to enter its fourth and final quarter.

My birthday is in just over a week on the seventeenth and although this once filled me with wishes and expectation when I was younger, it now makes me look back on the last twelve months and take account of what goals I have made. What I have accomplished and even more so, what I have not accomplished in the last year.
For one, I said I would have sent my manuscript out to an agent. And buy and large I suppose I did, only it keeps coming back complete with rejection letters. I wanted to start a new novel, Not a sci-fi but a crime thriller, and that is on its way. I’m at least a third of my way to finishing the first draft. I’m very excited about this one. Its fast and gritty, with honest characters that are filled with many conflicting values and principals. Its great to write about bad guy turned good and god guy turned bad. They say the secret to a good book is conflict, and inner conflict is even better it is also a great motivator.
Its no secret that I’m a great sci-fi fan but the crime thriller genre is a page turner for sure.
The novel’s called, “The Promise” it follows a father and a promise he made to his wife sixteen years earlier. He is bad guy turned good. The only thing is a bad life has a habit of coming back, wanting its flesh even when you have no more to give. The promise he makes is about his daughter who has just turned sixteen. She has no idea what her father once was, where he made the money they live by today. How will she cope with the idea of living off blood money?
I really do love this one, and I hope so will the agents and publishes when its finished.
In the mean time my other novel “Purple” is still out there awaiting representation so any up and coming agents fancy a read and I haven’t sent it you then please don’t be shy.
A friend of mine was on his annual holiday and by chance bumped into an agent at a hotel bar. The conversation moved on to my friend telling her that he knew someone who was trying to get published. (Thats me he is talking about, incase you were wondering.) She told my friend the same as every writer out there knows. They have many thousands of query letters and synopsis per month and it all starts with the query letter, if thats ok then its the synopsis and if their still reading then its the first fifty pages or so and if you are still in the running, then they request the full manuscript. And even then you are likely to be rejected. Its a numbers game, a mood game. For instance if the agent had a bad night and had had enough of sci-fi then the next sci-fi novel would not get past the query stage.
In the end you can have the best query in the world and a synopsis that would bring tears of joy to the eyes. A manuscript that any full time author would give his right eye for. Your query can still be binned at the first glance.
I try not to take this as a negative but to reassure myself that if I keep sending them out and keep writing more, then one day it will be my manuscript that the agent see’s, and that day they were looking for a manuscript just like mine.

I have made big improvements in my personal life, finically and emotionally.  I look forward to what I have to come in this next year, who knows what may come.

Self Publishing to Kindle

I’m thinking about publishing some short stores to Kindle. I have at least five that I could quickly polish up and they would be good to go except for the cover.

I have spent a bit of time on two covers using Pixelmator on my mac. The first one is below, its called Destiny’s Crossing. The story is about a woman who while leaving the supermarket has probably the most important event happen to her since her  birth. I would like some comments on the design of the cover. While I know I’m no professional graphic artist, I think I know my way round a computer.   I’m putting my self in the ‘what do you mean, its not good enough’ realms. So honesty is paramount, after all I don’t want to look like I don’t know what I’m doing now, do I.

I have learnt some really useful things recently about book covers. For instance Kindle covers generally are 600 pixels by 800 pixels and have a DPI of 300. If you follow this setup then you will find it fits the Kindle screen nicely. Also try to use some colour, its tempting to go black and white because the Kindle is black and white, only the Kindle has platforms on the iPhone, iPad, PC and more. All these show the colour cover versions. This is no rule, I do like the cover above and as you can see its black and white. ( In my mind it suits the story that way)

The Cover below is of the short story A Brave Man A Mugger Be. The story follows a man through a mugging, Where he begins to empathise with his mugger. Its a strange one, but I do like it.

My other dilemma is do I charge, you see looking on Kindle their are Full length novels going for $0.99 (thats about £0.77 to us in  the UK) up to $15 $20 mark and a Short story for me, is about 1500 – 3000 words, I have a couple of novella that need more work and theres always my novel Purple, which Im still working on. This one is  to be traditionally published. Its hard these days with all this Do I self Publish or not.

I think I’m taking the stance that I will throw my short and maybe my novella up to self publish for the £0.77 and see what happens. These are quick to write and only take a little while to polish to a good standard.

Comments are more than welcomed, they are positively encouraged. So please leave a comment and say Hi.