Procrastination should have been my middle name. As much as I love writing (and believe it or not I do!) I don’t have to look too hard to find another pull on my time. But a couple of years ago, I dropped off the face of the Earth, gave up the odd freelance assignment, writing forums, hibernated from friends, even stopped yoga, to concentrate on writing my novel.
Finally, last November I sat back in my chair, heaved a huge sigh of relief and put it to bed. I had actually written a book. Wow! Now I would land a publishing deal with a major house, tour the world, become famous… OK, so a girl can dream. This is when the real hard work started; the rollercoaster that takes you from pen to publication – if you are lucky.
I started with the usual dilemma: Agent or Publisher? A little bit of research very soon made up my mind for me. Try everyone! I quickly learned that, as a Newbie in this current climate of penny pinching, the first major hurdle to overcome is getting your work read. Your prose may be excellent, your plot amazing. You may be the next Jeffery Deaver, the new Dan Brown. But if nobody reads it, your book that you have lovingly laboured over will never reach print.
I also read that approaching the right people seems key. My book is a crime thriller, so I scoured the internet, bought a copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook, checked calls for submissions in writing magazines. It didn’t take long to realise that the world of publishing is a bit of a mine field.
Then I had my first piece of luck. A former Writers Bureau student, I asked my tutor to read a sample of my work and she suggested that I try a little known publishing house, aptly called ‘Crème de la Crime’. So I visited their website only to be told that they were no longer accepting submissions (doh!).
This is where the cheekiness comes in. As writers we are constantly told to follow guidelines when submitting work. The website said no submissions. But I thought I’d try them anyway. What did I have to loose, apart from another rejection to add to my pile? So I sent off my sample chapters, synopsis with covering letter and waited…
Jane Isaac is very much a Newbie, she doesn’t even have a website yet (one day…) and with a day job, a family and a very demanding black Labrador, she squeezes her writing into every spare moment she gets. Join her on the rocky road from pen to publication – hopefully!