Getting your book published.
People often ask me how to set about getting a book published. Readers in general do not have any idea how difficult it is. Most publishers will only look at a suggested manuscript if it has come via an agent, and most agents are inundated with would-be writers.
I got zillions of rejection letters. Zillions. At one time I kept them all just so that one day I’d be able to say ya-boo. But they piled up so quickly and I am a very tidy person – so they got burnt.
Rejections come in all shapes and sizes, all forms and formats, from a small pre-printed card to a nice letter explaining why your m/s has been rejected. Most agents do not have time to go in to details. They are – especially nowadays – short of funds and manpower. Some of what the agents told me was rubbish “the story is too improbable ….” or “this will not appeal to the modern reader ….” that sort of thing. Sometimes I could tell that my m/s had barely even been glanced at.
More encouragingly, though, my m/s usually got read. Several times the agent asked to see the rest of the book. Now, this told me one important thing, and that was that my book was readable, enjoyable, not rubbish and PUBLISHABLE. So I kept trying.
The years went by and there came a point when I decided to move on to other things. I had given writing books a lot of my time, and I felt that I had given it a good shot. Time to try something new. Forget being a writer.
Oddly enough, however, I came across a short heartbroken poem I had written in Africa few years earlier “Shadows – for my Father”. I don’t know why, but for some reason I sent it to a publisher – and it was accepted. They say to never bother sending poems because they are nigh-on impossible to get published … far FAR more difficult than getting a book published.
This gave me the spurt of energy and enthusiasm I needed. That was a year ago and I now have four books published and some twenty poems. I have sold (always for a charity) over 400 of my paintings.
So – two things: if you stop trying, remember that you are not giving up, you are just moving on to something else – and every writer in the world will understand why. If you do occasionally get an agent who seems to have taken a bit of interest, know that this means you have probably got what it takes. Persevere, even self-publish. Last, but not least, know that once you are published that is not the end – it is the start of a long hard slog of a different nature – but an enjoyable slog at that!
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites. Her sketches are on her web site http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk . Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.