Writing a book part 42 - getting ready for rejection!

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I am still on course to finish the book this month. In anticipation of that, I have started thinking ahead to what will come next.

Rejection is the probable answer - at least to start with. The pain of that was brought home to me this week when I found out that I had not been shortlisted for a short story prize that I entered earlier this year. This was the third year I entered, and each time I felt like I was producing good writing that had a serious chance of doing quite well. There were 1,019 entries this year, apparently, and only 25 shortlisted. So mine was one of the 994 that were not good enough.

Finding out that what you consider to be good work has been rejected is inevitably disheartening - but that is a feeling I need to get used to. Once I’ve finished writing my book this month, I will need to start sending the manuscript to agents. That involves writing a synopsis, a cover letter and researching which agent is most likely to be interested in the kind of writing I produce. I will be one of thousands of aspiring authors that are clamouring for attention, so success will depend on a combination of luck and persistence.

There are additional things I can do. I’ve bought the latest edition of the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook, which is the bible for the publication process, and is full of useful information and contacts. I could also go on a ‘how to get published’ course, of which there are plenty - and which remind you how many other people are trying to do the same thing as me. There seems to be quite a healthy industry that promises to tell writers how to give themselves the best chance - and the first and most important principle needs to be that the work is good enough in the first place.

Obviously, I would like to think that mine is. But I need to be prepared for lots of other people to disagree with me.