So what do authors do when they're not writing their next book? Basically, we're waiting for the next big idea to come and dreaming about writing.
It's no secret that my publishing house rejected my last two offerings (but I'm over it now - promise) and I'd been waiting for an idea for another story. The ideas were slow to come but I didn't sit around and mope about rejections and writers block. I got active, physically, instead of mentally and it's been a revelation.
First of all, I realised that my physical fitness had been sadly lacking. Imagine the lonely writer in an attic, very little light coming through other than the glare of the laptop screen, living on chocolate rice cakes and herbal tea, the only sound you hear is the click click click of the keyboard keys. Well that was me. My husband says I become all consumed when I'm in story telling mode and it's true.
My skin was dry and unhealthy looking, my eye-bags had eye-bags and my stomach was preventing me from seeing the floor, and the rising number on my bathroom scales.
It was time for action.
I had always found ways to stay fit in the past be that running, walking, yoga, Zumba. I even bought a spinning bike but how easy it is to put off a run or walk because of bad weather or to sleep through the alarm when you should be in a yoga or a Zumba class.
I got a fitness programme together. I didn't need a personal trainer (couldn't afford one actually) and now I'm walking, doing yoga, lifting weights and trying to get back into running again.
I exercise for at least an hour every day and I'm feeling great! I even started intermittent fasting and can gladly report that not only can I see past my stomach to read the bathroom scales, I lost a stone in weight! Yay!
Now that I'm a goddess, with my new body and glowing skin, out of nowhere a new book idea sprang to mind. The attic awaits, as do the chocolate rice cakes but I will keep popping out of the dark attic and into my stretchy pants on a daily basis to keep my fitness going too.
I hope I've inspired you to do something to make yourself feed good today.
If not, why not?
So writers read a lot. Or at least we're told we should but it's hard to get into a good book when you're in the swing of writing your own. When I'm reading I don't stick to books within my genre. I do love a good psychological thriller, a family drama or just general fiction with a back cover that reads well and appeals.
I recently read The Dutch House by Ann Patchett and absolutely loved it. (See book description below). I gave this book a five star review and enjoyed every moment. The premise is simple but there is an intensity to the story that jumps off the page because of Patchett's writing style. I promise you will be (if you are anything like me) swept away from page one. Patchett paints a wonderful picture with her characters and I found myself relating to them and warming to them straight away - even the mean ones!
While #TheDutchHouse isn't fast paced or hard hitting it does dig deep, emotionally, and is a well thought out, thought provoking book. I highly recommend it and will certainly add more titles by Ann Patchett to my reading list.
Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house's former owners in the frames of their oil paintings.
Then one day their father brings Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve's lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother's: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known.
At the moment I'm reading #TheConfession by Jessie Burton. another fabulous read I'll be reviewing this one soon.
Although I'm not writing at the moment I do have a new story brewing in my head. Details to follow ...
,It happens to the majority of writers. The one thing you never want to hear when you submit your baby; the novel you slaved over, cried over, deliberated over, doubted yourself over and lost more than a few hours of sleep over, 'It's not for us'.
No matter how agents, publishers or editors put it, whether they tie it up in a bouquet of pretty flowers, have it delivered with a lifetime supply of Green and Blacks chocolate or don't reply to you at all, a rejection hurts.
These days I submit manuscripts to fewer people. I've given up submitting to agents and only submit to publishing houses. I do my homework and research who they're publishing and what they say they're looking for.
I submit a manuscript with high hopes, no matter how ridiculous the notion that a publisher would pick my manuscript out of the thousands that land on their door mat each day. I mean us writers should be amazed that they even get around to reading the submissions. But their websites insist they do, so we click Send and sit and wait ... mostly for the rejection letter.
A couple of years ago one of my manuscripts stood out from the rest and I got interest from a well known digital first publisher. In fact two publishers were interested in this manuscript and I went with the one who called me first. What did I care. They wanted my book. They wanted to publish my book! And not just one. I'd written three novels that followed the life of my heroine and I was lucky enough to sign contracts for all three!
What bliss to feel like one of the chosen few. I allowed myself to think I'd become a sensation. You do, don't you? Of course I wasn't a sensation. I mean, have you ever heard of me?
There's no guarantee that just because a publisher plucks you from the pile and thrusts a contract in your eager palm that you'll become a best seller. As time went on it was clear that readers were not as keen as my editor was about my books. The readers are the people the publishers have to please and they take chances, or not, based on what they believe the readers actually want. So every time you get a rejection it isn't because you wrote a bad book or your writing was bad or your story sucked, it was because a person or group of people sat and decided they knew readers better than writers do.
When my publisher rejected my next two books (unrelated to the first three) I really took it personally. Granted I had a new editor but the only thing I could think was of how terrible a writer I was that my own publishers will no longer take a chance on me.
Needless to say I've been on an all time writing low for well over a year now. Thoughts of giving up, doubting my ability to write and feeling irrelevant haunted me. It stopped me writing. I didn't even blog! I stopped Tweeting and I dropped out of Social Media altogether. Something I now regret .
No matter how reassuring husbands, family members and friends can be about your talent, they're not the ones who can make a difference to your writing career. So we tell them, 'no I won't give up' but all the time it was what I wanted to do. Give up writing.
Then I woke up. I went to the Reviews section for my books. I read each and every one. I remembered what a boost reading good reviews could be. The reviews made me start believing in myself again. I decided then to submit those rejected novels to a couple of publishers. I've been rejected by one, the other I haven't heard from. But it doesn't matter. I feel like a writer again. The self doubt is a thing of the past. I accept that rejection is part of the process to reaching your publication goals.
The other thing I remembered was that before I was traditionally published I self published two novels and a novella. My self published books sell better than the traditionally published ones so why not go down the self pub avenue again. It's still open and relatively free. Yes I'm going to have to brush up on my marketing skills, shove my hand into my wallet to pay for editing, proof reading, book covers and all the rest of it but at least I'm being proactive. I'm not sitting around asking someone else if I'm any good.
I am a good writer. I can write. I may not be the best but I love what I do and I love to share my stories with readers. So I've picked myself up, dusted myself off and I'm starting all over again. (See my previous post).
Remember a rejection is subjective and it isn't an indication (necessarily) of how good you are and whether you should pursue publishing your book. Just go for it. It's better than sitting in a dark room licking your wounds (I only did that for one day).
Even if you're rejected for something else, not necessarily a book rejection, take the negative and try to turn it into a positive. There's always a way to do this, you just have to believe in yourself.
Welcome to autumn. I'm not sure if it officially is the season of autumn but it certainly looks and feels like it in my part of the world. It's been just over a year since I moved from the big city to the leafy English countryside and it's one of the best moves I've ever made.
Since moving I've written two books and I'm just beginning to send them out to various publishers.
In keeping with the romantic comedy books I've already had published, these last two novels also fall under that category. There are, however, elements of family drama running through each of them. They say to write what you know and hidden within the pages of each of these novels are themes that resonate with me. In some way shape or form I seem to be close to a family drama (can't say which family - could be mine!) but the dramas managed to creep into the pages of the last two novels.
If this is the first time you've come across the Rosa Temple website and you haven't read any of my books, this might be a good time of year to join me on a journey. The steps to publication are long, arduous, tedious and just downright nerve racking. But I've been down this road a few times now and I'm beginning the season with the journey of those two new books.
So far I've submitted them to two publishers. Who knows if I'll ever hear back from them and who knows, that if I do, they'll even like my books. The fact is, I do. I have faith in them. So much so, I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is. If I don't get a publishing deal, I'll self-publish both of them. (Another branch of that long road to publication I was taking about).
I'm taking this journey and branching out into a new season. I'm scared but happy and excited too because one day, in the not too distant future, I'll have added two more titles to my catalogue. Now that's something to look forward to!