Still going – my next book’s gone into editing

Still going.

I haven’t updated this for a while, but things are happening. Should blog more regularly, I guess.

I’m now working on the second draft of my next book. The novel I completed in January is currently at agents. I’m sending it to the “everyone” list as my first choices all came back with rejections. I’ve been encouraged by several people to self-publish, but I’m undecided. I know it’s the twenty-first century, but I can’t help feel there’s still a stigma attached to going it alone. An agent would pick it up if it were good (commercial) enough, right?

After several conversations with published authors, the advice seems to be that the book’s probably in my “old voice” (there’s some truth to this) and could therefore be self-published without fear of ruining any future aspirations. That’s logical, but it’s no easy decision. The novel’s content, in my opinion, is going to make it difficult for any agent to say yes, but that doesn’t mean one won’t. Even though it’s about as noncommercial as burning a bin-full of money, it could still get picked up by a rogue agent (amazing) or a (very) small press.

I did get a personal note from one agent with her rejection, saying she didn’t believe she was “brave” enough to take it on. Fairly sure that’s a polite way of saying, “Both you and your book are completely mental,” but that’s certainly better than, “You’re a talentless cretin.” It may well mean it’s terrible, but it could mean anything. It may mean what it says, which is probably what it means. I should just let it go.

I’m going to keep pitching and getting rejected, and that’s fine. It’s supposed to be this way. I’m wary of self-pub. Certainly doesn’t feel like something I should be rushing at.

The new novel’s more lucid than the current pitch, so maybe it’ll be an easier sell. I actually doubt it, but I write what I write. Pointless pretending otherwise.

I’ve only just started working on the new book again after completing the first draft in the spring. I wrote it immediately after editing the previous one, which itself ran to eight drafts, and that came after binning The Ooning following a total rewrite and months of editing. All this is a side project to my VG247 job, and when I came to the end of the latest draft I was quite ill. This book is the longest I’ve written at 72,000 words (the novel I’m currently pitching is 57,000 and The Ooning was just over 50,000). I had to stop awhile. I took the entire summer away from books (I stopped reading, also), but I’ve worked through the opening pages this week and I’m feeling confident about entering the editing process proper.

More positively, my second short story is to be published later this year by Modiphius. Old games press acquaintance John Houlihan approached me with the opportunity to contribute to an anthology based on the pen-and-paper RPG Achtung! Cthulhu, and it was great to write some straight horror again. It seems as though there’s going to be some “author” activity around the launch, which will be a first for me, and I’m excited for that. Based on the fact my short fiction appears to be gaining more traction than the books, Fiona keeps politely suggesting I should switch from modernism to genre with my novel-writing. Maybe I will in the future, but a diversion seems folly based on a few rejections. I have a vision in which I believe. Someone, somewhere will eventually get it.

I’ve been writing a lot more on VG247 recently, and I’ve also completed a new short story, titled Call Them. I put it together as an application for The Word Factory’s 2014 apprenticeship, only to get a polite return email mail pointing out that only UK residents are applicable. Well done, me. This  does, however, mean I have a fresh piece to pitch. I’ll start next week.

Still going.

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