A Novel Idea

Archive for April 2011

When I started this blog, I set myself the challenge of becoming a published author by midnight 13 April, 2011. At the time of writing, that’s just over 24 hours away.

Today is an important day for me. Not only because I’m about to draw the curtains on a year of (almost) full time writing. These last twelve months have witnessed me progress through my postgraduate degree, write my first first (and second) novel drafts, and make a handful of writing friends along the way.

I know so much more about publishing than I did a year ago. I realize now that the goal I set was unachievable given that I didn’t have a manuscript or a network of contacts. It can take a year just to edit a book once the contract’s signed!

While I haven’t published my novel yet, I have been published. To date I have had short prose and poetry and a handful of reviews in publications.

To have a book published, you must send it to a publisher. I have taken the soft approach and flung my manuscript (back when it was an incomplete first draft) into two unpublished author competitions with no outcome other than a lighter purse. I was mildly horrified to discover the winners had multiple books published (in another genre).  Either way it was beginner’s enthusiasm to thrust an unripe work upon an audience. We live and learn…

I do feel my manuscript needs 2-3 more drafts before it is ready for a publisher. I also have time pressure though. I quit my job to write my novel and finish my degree. If I don’t generate some money (through an advance or other windfall) soon, well, let’s just say I’ve already cut back on everything I could.

Eternally the optimist, I have created an opportunity for myself. Today is important because this morning I have coffee with a respected author in the field who has read the first few chapters of my novel. For free. I think I must remind them of their younger self in some way. Why else would they be so kind?

I’ve just got back from a walk in the crisp Autumn air. I needed to clear my mind. Be receptive to their jewels of wisdom. That’s when I walked into a giant spider web.

It was at knee height: I wasn’t completely daydreaming.

So I may not have a novel in the bookstores yet, but I’m about to receive honest professional feedback that will help make my book stronger.

That’s worth celebrating.

How do you measure success?

Write well. Write often.

© the author. 2011.