Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Rule No. 1

So what is Rule Number 1? 
Always listen to... good advice! I didn't. And that didn't pay off. No wonder, right?

I read the ‘Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook’ and found some very good advice on how to start looking for an agent or publisher... and I didn't listen. I wanted a short cut. I wanted to take two or three steps at the same time while climbing the stairs. It just didn't pay off. Really. Believe me.

After so many nights searching the internet for a 'suitable' publisher, I finally realised that it would be much quicker to take a look at who had published the books on my bookshelf. Hmmm... that wasn’t a bad idea, until I realised that many of those books were self-published, and I found myself almost back at the beginning of the process. 

But I didn't give up. No. I had come so far already that something like that wasn’t going to stop me.  No way. So I went through my Kindle library instead and I found some useful information there, which of course needed to be checked online. But it paid off. I got some information to start my search with - but it only led to another mistake.

So what did I do that was so wrong? 
For heaven's sake... I'm so embarrassed...

I didn't send my manuscript to a professional editor first. Yeah, right. I sent my manuscript as a 'diamond in the rough' and... well, I was rejected. Several times.
Surprise, surprise...

Did I feel down? Of course. Who wouldn't?

I felt like I was back in high school. Although it was many years ago, I'll never forget getting my first written essay back and seeing that I’d been given a ‘D’. After straight A’s for all my essays in primary school, believe me, it was a shock. But that’s another story, for another blog post perhaps...

After a few days of sulking, but not telling anyone why, I realised I had to let go of one of my favourite hero's sayings... 

Here’s Gérard Depardieu as Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. (Apologies - I couldn't find it with English subtitles.) 

I’ve always loved those words; the way he describes his feelings about his art, his feelings about writing. 

Cyrano de Bergerac - No, thank you.
and then there’s this...

“But... To sing, to laugh, to dream, to walk in my own way and be alone, free, with an eye to see things as they are, a voice that means manhood—to cock my hat where I choose—

At a word, a Yes, a No, to fight—or write. To travel any road under the sun, under the stars, nor doubt if fame or fortune lie beyond the bourne—

Never to make a line I have not heard in my own heart; yet, with all modesty to say: "My soul, be satisfied with flowers, with fruit, with weeds even; but gather them in the one garden you may call your own.”
Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac

But, (sigh) it was time for me to let go. I had to face it - I needed some help.
And I began to breathe more easily.

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