Moving on after a tumultuous year

dscn2089Well, I knew I hadn’t been blogging as much as usual but I was still surprised to see how long it actually was since my last post on this site. Last year knocked me for six in many ways, as I’m sure it did a lot of other people. I’m not just talking about the obvious stuff but personally and professionally as well. This had a knock-on effect on my writing and I feel I’m only just coming out of that funk…

So what’s happening? Well, my second book has been finished for a little while now and I sent it off to some more publishers to see if there was any interest. I first sent it out in December 2015 and had some responses but no-one wanted to go the whole hog. I then spent a fair bit of time trying to find an editor I could afford, to help me with the necessary rewriting. That took me till June of last year and I worked on it all the way through the summer with her, finalising it at the end of September. I then dithered about a bit, wondering whether a traditional contract was really what I was looking for. In the end, I did submit it again but I still wasn’t really sure that it was what I wanted. I have heard back from some of those publishers but I’m still waiting on one other and I feel that if I haven’t heard by now (nearly two months later), it’s most likely not going to be good news. If the answer is ‘no’ once more, I really am going to get on and self-publish. I recently finished my accounts for last year and I realised that sales of my first book would qualify me as an independent author of the RNA if I had only published two novels! I was almost there for the Society of Authors as well. So, it’s time to crack on, I think.

In the meantime, I have started work on editing my follow-up novella to From Here to Nashville, as well as beginning the first draft of my third book to submit to the RNA later this year. I still have lots of writing plans but the hesitation over whether to self-publish or whether to seek a traditional contract made last year disappear all too quickly for me. Part of the problem with self-publishing, as so many of you reading this will know, is that it costs a fair bit of money to do it properly and as I left my permanent teaching job at the end of 2015, I didn’t have much money to throw around for most of last year. However, I did have regular work all year as a supply teacher, tutor and web designer and this recently led me to a new part-time job for a local charity as a Communications Officer. This will obviously make this year a lot more stable for me. I will still do a bit of supply teaching but my freelance website work has really picked up as well and I’d like to explore that further in the coming months. Proofreading never really took off for me but every cloud has a silver lining, or at least some of them do 😉

So having said all that, I should be looking at publication of book two very soon, I hope, and possibly publication of the novella as well. I guess I’ll just have to see how things go and not beat myself up too much if it doesn’t quite go according to plan the whole time. As long as I keep writing, that’s the main thing. With that in mind, I have signed up to the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme again, which will force me to write my third book and will also make sure that I stay involved with other writing groups and friends. Last year, I wrote about ‘The Brave New World of 2016’ and I have felt very brave at times over the year as I dealt with some very unexpected things. I can honestly say that I won’t really miss last year though. We can only hope that 2017 is better for everyone. I leave you with a quote from Alfred, Lord Tennyson: ‘Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.” Wishing you all the best that a New Year can bring.

 

If you would like my help with your website, whether to sort out a minor niggle that you just don’t have time for, or for a full-blown new website design, please do get in touch. My freelance site is here or you can just leave me a comment 🙂

28 thoughts on “Moving on after a tumultuous year

  1. Julie, I have been treading an almost identical path to you, and I am ALMOST certain that I am going to self-publish my 1st book this summer.
    Part of it is to “get it over and out of the way” thus allowing me to move on to books 2 and 3, but also the feeling that the years are passing.
    I’m not getting morbid, and I am pretty well a whole generation ahead of you in the “Old Father time Stakes”, but I don’t want to fall off the twig without getting a book out!!

    Thje best of luck with yours, of course!

    John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for leaving a comment, John. It made me feel better to know that someone else has had the same experience, although my sympathies are with you, of course 🙂 One thing I have learnt is that it is possible to get on with it yourself and to do it to a high standard. I hope you will ask if you think there’s ever any help I could give. In the meantime, we can cheer each other on! Hope to see you again soon, Julie

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    • John – I feel exactly the same way about getting the debut novel published in order to move on to writing/editing the many others I have planned. Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. I feel guilty that I don’t feel more excited about seeing my first book on Amazon. I just feel stressed with everything else there is to think about – social media, email lists, websites. I just want to write!

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      • Good luck with it all, Jax. It will happen – just try and take it step by step and you’ll get there! Best wishes, Julie.

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  2. Julie, it was lovely to meet you at the conference last year and hope we can catch up again this year at Harper Adams. I’m sorry to hear 2016 was a bit tricky for you, but at the same time I’m so pleased your freelance work is taking off. Congrats too on your new job. I’m sure 2017 will be a success for you in such a lot of ways. I loved From here to Nashville and if your new books are anywhere near that standard of writing then they can only do well. Take care x

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    • Bless your heart, Kim. Thanks so much for those kind words. I hope to see you in Telford again too and I know that things will be a lot better by then 🙂 It means such a lot to know you read and enjoyed FHTN, and thanks so much for the lovely compliment. Best wishes xx

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  3. Sounds like your first book has done very well indeed. You have had such a lot on your plate this year but have come though with flying colours and managed to support many others as well – in different ways. Remind me to ask you about proof-reading x

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    • Thank you, Ros. Your support has helped me such a lot and I’m looking forward to meeting up again soon so we can catch up on everything! I will ask you about proofreading then. Take care xx

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  4. I agree with Rosalind – it’s easy to think the grass is greener, but it sounds like your first book has done better than many have done with a publishing contract. Be proud of what you’ve achieved and keep the momentum with your writing. As long as you’re doing that, you never know what the future will hold 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment, Kathryn 🙂 It’s such a hard decision re: how to publish, isn’t it? But I am proud of what I’ve achieved and feel like it’s time to get the momentum building once again. As you say, you never know what the future holds. Thanks again xx

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  5. Hi Julie
    An interesting and honest reflection on a tough year. I haven’t read your blog before so it’s possible you may have covered your thoughts around this on a previous post but I would suggest you really think about why you are interested in being traditionally published. What is it that you would get from that which you don’t currently get from indie publishing? Is it for the validation? I get that. Being offered a publishing deal is an amazing feeling and an absolute dream come true. However, the reality of being traditionally published isn’t always the stuff of dreams. There will always be the exceptions to this i.e. those who are with a big publisher who’s able to get their books widely distributed, but most writers won’t secure a big deal like this and find that the only difference between being traditionally published and being indie published is that they make fewer profits. Yes, I do understand the implication of the cost element to get your work edited/covers designed and so on … but having access to sales through the Kindle lending library (which you won’t have if you’re published) could ultimately pay for that. I personally had 2 x publishing offers, went with one of them, published my trilogy with them … and then parted company because it wasn’t what I’d hoped or expected. I’m now excited about the start of my indie career! Sometimes indie is the best route.
    Jessica xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment, Jessica. I have been charting my self-publishing journey for a good few years now and that resulted in my first self-published book in 2015. Then I decided to try for the traditional route with my second book because by then, I could see the benefits it might offer me and also, probably for the validation, I’m sure. There are other reasons but many of those have melted away as I’ve seen what other side effects there might be from being traditionally published. Anyway, I know I can self-publish having done it before and I think that accepting that and moving on is all part of my publishing journey. So good luck to us both as we move forward – it may well be the best route for us, as you say. Thanks again for being so open about your experience and for taking the time to reply. Best wishes xx

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    • Yes, you’re right! I have found it hard to find that positivity at times recently but feeling a bit more with it now 🙂 Thanks for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment xx

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    • Thanks, Linda for your good wishes. I know you’ve been doing well on your own and that gives me encouragement. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment 🙂

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  6. Very interesting to catch up with your experiences, Julie. (It seems a long time since we met on that writing course in London!) As a romance writer, I wonder why you even consider trad publishing? Indie authors tell me it isn’t until your third book that your sales really take off – so, whatever you do, keep writing 😀

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    • Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment, Ruth. It IS a long time since we went on that course and a lot has happened in the meantime. The debate between trad and self-pub is a complex one and everyone has their own take on it, I guess. However, I know I can self-pub so very happy to carry on doing so now. I hope you’re right about sales taking off at the third book! I will certainly keep writing. Hope you are too! 🙂

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  7. Were you submitting your book to independent publishers? If it’s any consolation, only a few seem to provide any promotion that you can’t do yourself (I’ve read so many blog posts by disappointed writers who went with indie publishers – it seems only proper trad pub – ie the Big 5 – or the larger and more established of the small ones are much help), but, of course, it does mean that you get all services provided!! I realise paperbacks are not to be sniffed at. But there’s a world of difference between a contract with a Big 5 (which is what many mean by the term ‘traditional publishing’) and the same with a one or two man band with a website that looks more professional than they actually are – yet they all enable the writer to be able to say ‘my publisher’. So don’t think of self-pub as the poor relation ~ many of us do it by choice because of the freedom it gives.

    You can make self pub cheaper than before – you don’t need costly professional critiques, you can ask other writers you respect, and who you can trust to be honest, to beta read. Alison Williams is the best editor I’ve come across, such attention to detail (I’ve read a few books she’s edited; she can almost turn a sow’s ear!), and her rates are most reasonable. @AlisonW_Editor on Twitter.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for leaving a comment, Terry. I tried a mix of publishers and agents, looking for support to guide me to the next level. I certainly don’t regard self-publishing as the poor relation – I liked the freedom too – but after doing it once, I was better able to see how a good publisher might be able to support me further. Anyway, it’s clearly not meant to happen now at any rate so I’m happy to be self-publishing again and regaining the freedom to do my own thing. It’s all been good experience though, so no regrets 🙂 Thanks for the tip about Alison, I think we follow each other already on Twitter but haven’t had much contact. Thanks for your good wishes too – glad everything continues to go well for you 🙂

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  8. Julie, it is such a pleasure to read a blog from you again. I’m sorry 2016 was a tough year for you, but it sounds like you have bounced back and are feeling positive – and that is half the battle. There must be so many writers who lose heart and give up. You have determined on your next course of action and I hope that has helped you to feel good about your work. Now is the time to make use of all the lessons you learned when you were publishing From Here To Nashville. Sending you all good wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment, Sue. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster year in many ways but as you said, I’m feeling much more positive now and raring to go again 🙂

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