Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let's Talk Frustrations as a Writer

When it all becomes a little bit too much...

I'm willing to bet a lot of you reading this are writers yourselves, so you may be able to relate to what I'm about to write. I usually don't get personal on this blog, but I'm about to, so brace yourselves!

If you're a born writer, you write simply because you have stories inside of you that want to be told. This doesn't always make you successful, or even guarantee that you'll turn a profit with your words, which is deeply frustrating. 

As a child, I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I spent hours filling notebooks with juvenile journals that were embellishments on my own mundane, suburban life. I tried my hand at historical fiction, crafting narratives about children my age going across the Oregon Trail with their family. I wrote a series about ballet, which was my favorite thing to do until I got boobs (boobs=no future in ballet, sadly enough). I even had a picture collection I drew about a group of sisters, the kind I wished I had (I grew up with only one sibling--a brother at that). 

In high school, I wrote for my school newspaper and won a city-wide high school competition as a freshman with a basic story my mom still thinks is the best I ever wrote (of course she does). Oh, and my English teacher didn't even give me the same extra credit she was giving everyone else for entering because I didn't make her deadline. RUDE. 

As an adult, I knew I wanted to write. I tried my hand as a playwright, but discovered quickly that it wasn't really my forte. I stuck with what I knew--novel writing.

After securing an agent in 2009, I went on a 4 year journey and relationship I should have severed a long time before. We weren't a good match for one another and as a result, I never had anything published through her, nor did she like anything I ever wrote after my initial rejections from publishing houses. Although we did come extremely close to a deal, it fell through and nothing I wrote afterward was ever really what she wanted. I had four and a half years of chasing my tail, working with editors that flaked out midway through the process for one reason or another and ultimately lost confidence in my writing. I sacrificed months of my time for endless drafts that just weren't she was looking for. I constantly compared myself to successful writers in their 20s, wondering why I had missed the boat and secretly thinking that maybe my writing just wasn't up to snuff. 

After severing ties with that agent, I searched for another and didn't manage to secure any further representation. Sure my writing was terrible, I did something I swore I would never do: I self-published. 

I braced myself for everyone to say my books were terrible. A couple of people do think my books suck, but they are in the minority, which surprised me.  And even if the books had been published traditionally, there would still  be a person or two out there who would find the book to suck.

Now, with The Remnants, I am faced with a choice. I have had a lot of interest in it from agents, but there must be something wrong toward the end of the story. People are enthusiastic about the manuscript until they request a full, then they decide, "It just didn't do it for them." Obviously, there is something that isn't right about The Remnants, but I don't know what it is. Because of that, I'm not sure I feel confident publishing it without the help of an editor, which is making me nervous with the pre-order date approaching.

Along came an opportunity with a company called Inkshares, a new publishing model. While many writers label it a "vanity press" and "not worth their time," they are both working with leaders in the industry and I have heard many legit people endorse it. I am not an idiot: I wouldn't publish with them if I thought they were a scam. However, many writers maintain that it is, only because they have a crowd funding model.

Many people say, "Just self-publish again!" but for this one, I really need an editor. For the services I require, my bill for the editor alone would be $3000. Plus, there's the matter that Inkshares can place the book in actual brick and mortar bookstores, which I can't when I self-publish without putting a hefty investment in. Doing a 1,000 print run would run me about $8,000 out of my own pocket if I went with the service I have used in the past. That doesn't include giveaways, marketing, promotions, etc. For some reason, people think self-publishing is easy. If you build it, they will come. But that's not the case. You need a hefty investment if you want to rival the services a traditional publishing house can provide. And I'm unable to do that monetarily and because I haven't been able to secure further representation or a book deal.

It is extremely frustrating to do all that you can and still feel like you're failing. In my wallowing self-pity today, I was feeling annoyed that I'm blogging so much and doing a YouTube video every week, while some people do half the work and seem to get 20 times the following (and therefore are able to do projects like Inkshares relatively easily). It can be frustrating, but I know persistence is key.

I didn't pull the giveaway to be a brat, but because I had been willing to donate £200 of my own money for some really cool prizes in exchange for a couple of dollars toward my book. Because I am not a charity, I am not allowed to require people purchase an entry, so I had to include a freebie. However, the point was entirely missed and everyone (except for one person!) entered ONLY with the freebie. I wasn't going to pony up a £200 giveaway if no money is being raised for my book. So I had to pull it. And for that, I apologize. 

Sorry for being annoying these past couple of days, or rude, or anything like that. I am just incredibly frustrated and I'm sure the people at Inkshares think I'm a little bit crazy. 

I'm not sure if this makes any sense, but all of this is to say that I'm just at a very frustrated point in my writing career and I feel like I'm four steps back after gaining some of my confidence back as a writer.

If you're interested in helping out with Inkshares, you can always go here.

If you doubt their validity, read these two reviews: Publisher's Weekly and on MaryRowen's blog.

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  1. Girl, I totally get it. I think I've avoided starting/finishing a novel for so long because I know how incredibly difficult it is to get published or to try and self-publish. More power to you, though! You really are an inspiration, and even though money is tight, I hope you keep doing what you're doing.

    1. Thanks girl! It is so difficult, isn't it? Makes you want to bang your head against the wall!

  • Embarking on any artistic career involves being plagued by self-doubt. But think about what you've already accomplished! Keep your goal in front of you; things will work out if you keep working toward them :)

    1. Thanks lady. So difficult! xx


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