Friday, 27 June 2014

Writing is a Roller Coaster Ride.

Some You Win...

In the old days you used to get a stock rejection letter, printed on a slip of paper and sent in the post. All writers who've been writing for more than ten years will be familiar with the heart-sink moment of a slim, self-addressed envelope.

The History of My Early Publications.

My first ever acceptance was to an e-zine; a story about a star-ship captain who had lost his ship. I was paid ten dollars for this piece! So exciting! And then, quite shortly afterwards, another e-zine accepted me. This made a total of two! I was on a roll! And I was earning money - well, only ten dollars, because the second e-zine didn't pay, but still...

Then came the School Journal, which accepted two stories in quick succession and rejected two more, equally as quickly. USA based Stories for Kids accepted two more. I would be paid for all these pieces. I would be rich!

And then - nothing. For ages. I finished the novel I'd been working on for five years, and sent it off to a competition. And just for fun, I sent off another novel. Meanwhile, the School Journal stopped accepting submissions, Stories for Kids shut down and both e-zines closed.

I began to feel that I was cursed.

Getting Published

And then, one day, I got a call from Storylines saying that I'd been shortlisted for not one, but both novels. A month or so later I had another call - while I'd been unsuccessful with one story, I had actually won the competition with the other. I was flown to Auckland and harperCollins presented me with the Tessa Duder Award and a contract.

A year later my novel was published, and very quickly (and somewhat to my surprise) gained positive reviews! I was on a roll! I was shortlisted for some major awards...

And then...Yes. harperCollins didn't actually close. They down-sized. Restructured. Most of the people I'd been working with had their jobs disestablished. And they no longer wanted my sequel.

Fame and Glory?

This week I was flown up to Auckland again. This time for a glittering literary event - the New Zealand Post Book Awards.  It's the major award for New Zealand's children's writing. Held at the Town Hall, Ministers and Members of Parliament attend, as well as publishers, writers and various industry figures.

Somewhat to my surprise, I was awarded Best First Book for A Necklace of Souls. I received an actual financial prize!

Awards Do Not Mean Success.

However, harperCollins have confirmed they don't want the sequel. I've had contact from one agent who thinks 'I'm a wonderful writer' but she just don't have the demand for my sort of work right now. And nothing from the others.

But: Just Keep Swimming.

Last week, I got a call from an editor at the newly incarnated School Journal. It hadn't actually closed, it had just reincarnated under a different publisher. She was interested in a short story that I'd sent in nearly two years ago.

I signed the contract yesterday. I'm not sure when the piece will come out - sometimes it can be a year, sometimes it can be a month. I'll post a link to it on my website when it's published.

And I made contact with my wonderful, wonderful editor, who worked with me on Necklace. Together, we're working on a final draft of my new YA novel, which will be called Inner Fire. (More about this project later.)

What is the Point?

The point to this post is - Don't worry about rejections. Just keep writing.

Things happen in their own time.

Writing is like riding an uncertain roller coaster. Fun, exciting, terrifying and never, ever feeling certain about tomorrow.

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