On The Road To Publishville # 5 - "Self Doubt & Keeping The Faith"

# “That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion…” # - REM

With this fifth post in my “On The Road To Publishville” special-focus series, it’s unfortunate that I have to expand on my previous post on the subject of “rejections” , since I’ve continued to receive them for my “Moon Crater”TM manuscript… It’s not all “doom and gloom” though, because this really does give me the chance to stop, take stock and reflect on this minor setback, and obviously share this experience with fellow wannabe writers who might find themselves in a similar position…

My initial reaction on receiving each of the now six literary agent rejections I’ve got back for “Moon Crater”TM has been one that’s swung from gentle optimism to utter despair within the space of the day I get the said “Thanks, but no, thanks” messages. Suffice it to say that I’m ever hopeful that Agent Number 7 will be my lucky one but I’m also glad that the ones I’ve targeted so far accept email submissions because to be rejected after what sounds like weeks for snail-mail submission replies would probably feel a whole lot worse and a whole lot more of a waste of time… So once you accept the fact you’ve now received a number of rejections (I always send a polite reply back to say “Thanks for your ‘Thanks, but, not thanks’,”) and settle down to the ‘recovery’ phase, I think it’s probably important to ask yourself if your approach to literary agents might need refining. There’s some great articles for this on Cynthia Liu’s writing site and I’m now in the process of re-editing my cover letter and synopsis (which should be tailored to each individual submission anyway) in an effort to make myself and my book more attractive, whilst also refining the professional approach I’m going for...

So! It never hurts to do some “revision” and rewrites, and this goes for your manuscript as well as your “submission bumph” (yes, remember that tome that you thought was ‘finished’ and you’d never have to touch again?) It’s important to not be “precious” about your book’s beginning and to keep asking yourself classic new-writer questions like, “Should I start the book at Chapter 2?!” You could also go back to basics with your writing, and just discover the pure joy of simply creating strings of words from scratch, (to remind yourself you do in fact still want to be a writer!) and, of course, there’s the stereotypical advice of “read” - read the kind of books you want to write (but not so you can clone them!) and you could even look for ‘pearls of wisdom’ from other published authors on how they approach the “writing process”

A few quotes I once heard have sprung to mind during the weeks that I’ve received these further rejection emails, and the first is that “most books don’t getting published because writers simply give up”. The other is from one of my heroes of history, namely, Leonardo Da Vinci who is recorded as saying, "Art is never finished, only abandoned". What both of these tell me in my gut is to just think about how much time and effort I’ve invested in my book (a decade of sweat and tears, and counting!) and also that I should double my efforts and renew my vigor to persevere and get this first-love literary effort of mine published…

The other side of this double-edge sword I’m attempting to wield, while being attacked by rejection letters is to continue to do “other” writing than the novel (not to just simply sit on my literary laurels with the close of that book) So “Keeping creative” is the order of the day if you want to keep faith in yourself, your ability as a writer and in the story you’ve written… Get writing something new to beat the rejection blues… In recent weeks, I’ve made a flurry of attempts to do just this by submitting my “The Archenemy” short story to a new online writing site, as well as completing a brand new short story for a new “Writing Prompts” book, AND even submitted part of "my History Mystery” (the proposed Novel # 2) to a New Writing Awards scheme. Plus, I’ve received news that an exciting new writing website is going to host not one but a number of my short tales later this year…

I mentioned above that I’d entered a couple of writing competitions recently – I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while on my journal, but whenever I look at contests like these, I always try to keep true to my personal rule of never paying entry fees (which I see as going hand-in-hand with vanity publishing - a path and road I really don’t want to go down with “Moon Crater”TM) In my early days of writing I entered lots of these and just found that the odd £5 entry here and there was really adding up. Plus, there’s lots of “scams” out there and I’m trying to keep to the tenet that my writing must pay for itself before I begin ploughing my own money into it…

That’s why I continue to try to make use of the whole range of free services on net (like lots offered by Google!), as tools to forward my storytelling online… One other thing I’ve been working on recently is a “timeline of the history of the evolution of my book” which will soon be unlocked as part of my Official Website (can you tell which “backward-looking” object on my Homepage might house it, very soon?)

When it comes to rejection, the advice of those closest to you can be really helpful and my wife recently convinced me to try my hand at a “fantasy” fiction book for younger readers which I’ve been doodling away with quietly for a few years. She heard the basic premise and said she was hooked from the get-go, so the final way I’m keeping creative during this “down time” of rejections is to make way for the “Emong Turvedean”… And speaking of little porcelain gentleman of the rockery, I’ve been tinkering with my writing space sneak-peak video that made its YouTube video about 2 years ago, with the “special addition” of NEW “annotations” to add secret insights into the world of my novel… This can of course be accessed through my Official Homepage (via the top of a very transparent object!) but here for your viewing pleasure and chucklement, is the new, improved “Quick Study of CGAllan’s Writing Room”:

Ps One final thing that’s keeping my spirits high is that it’s my 100th blog post next post!!! Sounds like an opportunity to celebrate, to me, so just watch and “listen” to this space for an extra-special announcement regarding the 4th installment of The Zip Code Challenge, zooming across the airwaves, hopefully by the end of April!!!


  1. Hi Chris, great post, though sorry to hear that the road to Publishville is a bit longer than you'd like. Your optimism and advice is very inspiring and I really do wish you the best of luck! Let's hope agent number 7 works out! :)

  2. Hi, Deb,

    great to hear from you :) I'm still keeping on with the keeping on submissions - going to have a lot more free time soon to devote to it, so got to make this THE "M.C." year... Hope all your scribbles are doing well too!


    ps OTRTPV #6 coming real soon!


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