Welcome to What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!
What I'm reading
I've been reading Inside Out, a dystopian novel by Maria V. Snyder (author of the Study and Healer fantasy series). I liked it, but it's not my favourite. Still, I'm now reading Storm Glass, the first in her follow up to the Study series, and really enjoying it. Next up: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I've heard good things about this one!
What I'm writing
After finishing my draft and revisions, I was kind of at a loose end. I decided for once to obey the voice of common sense and take a few days off writing. Unfortunately, I forgot how much of a grump I am when not writing... o_O That, coupled with some crappy Other Stuff I had to deal with, plunged me back into the dreaded everything sucks mode and made it really hard to actually get back into writing anything. But then one night (oddly enough, when the clocks in the UK went forward!), I was inspired to start writing my YA post-apocalyptic sequel. So progress is back in full swing! :D
What inspires me
Realising I haven't forgotten how to write. :P This is my 13th book. It's also a sequel, and after the intense ending of the first book, I was afraid to start the next one in case I couldn't match up to it. But after mentally kicking myself around, I had another look at the outline, and this book has the potential to be even more intense/evil/devastating etc than the first one! Also, I love writing it. It's about an invincible girl, the end of the world, a man who can't die, and an explosive all-out battle with invading monsters from another dimension. Will anyone want to read it? I haven't a clue. But I'm loving it anyway.
What else I've been up to
Working, reading, relaxing-not-relaxing (I am a terrible relaxer. I write novels on the beach, spend sunny days working furiously...ahem.). Raiding my brother's Playstation game collection. :P
It's also time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex, and is a great way for writers to share their worries, support and encouragement.
As I mentioned above, I made the mistake of letting things get to me a bit much over the past week. The publishing game is a rollercoaster, with nice publisher emails followed by rejections followed by requests followed by near-miss rejections which leave me tearing my hair out and this week, I just felt so exhausted. I
try not to complain too much about the whole long-game process of publishing, but well, I've been trying to get an agent since 2010. I've
made about every stupid mistake it's possible to make along the way, but
I've also found an amazing publisher, and I'll never stop being grateful for that. But after so many nice writing, not for me responses to my carefully-targeted queries, the old fear of inadequacy comes back.
I've been querying Beneath the Waves for three months. Is that a long time? I honestly don't know, because it's been different every time I've queried (this is the fourth). I started out
writing MG fantasy, and I still love it. But it isn't big in indie
publishing, so the agent/trade publisher route's really the only way to
go. And that's fine with me. From my experiences over the past year and a half, I know self-publishing isn't the right path for me, but getting an agent is as hard as (maybe even harder than) ever. My first two queried projects didn't get so much as a personalized response. Third time around was Darkness Watching, and that time, I targeted small presses only, because YA urban fantasy/paranormal was (and still is) near-impossible to break into. But this time, I hoped I might have a shot with an agent.
I've worked so damn hard on Beneath the Waves, rewriting and revising intensively with help from so many great readers, received fantastic feedback from Pitch Wars mentors...and I'm starting to get the sinking feeling that maybe what I write just doesn't appeal to people. Which is completely nonsensical, but the general doom-and-gloom mood over the past week hasn't been helping much. It's like all the worries nesting in Emma's brain decided to come out and have a party. And my next book's YA post-apocalyptic. Can you say, dead genre? ARGH! *headdesk*
It's at times like these that the old impatience rears its head again. I want to be published NOW! wailed past-Emma as she waited months for a rejection which never actually arrived. Of course, I know a LOT more about publishing and waiting than I did then. I know everything takes time, and that sales take time to build and I'm lucky to have not only published one book but to also have a series on the way - but I can't help but feel sad for my other stories. I want to share Beneath the Waves, Indestructible, all the other stories bouncing around in my head. It's a new age, where we're at sea in endless possibilities - self-publishing, small press, hybrid publishing...sometimes I just wish for a boat so I can find my way out of it! How do I know the best path for each of my books? I don't. I just want people to read them, and hopefully enjoy them. But it's so hard to be heard, so hard to carve a niche in today's wild publishing world.
Don't get me wrong - I'm excited about the opportunities, and grateful for the many, many wonderful people I've already met. Who knows - maybe there are more people out there who'd like to read my strange tales. I've jumped genres from urban fantasy with demons to high fantasy with mer-zombie-vampire-things to explosive post-apocalyptic with an all-out battle between superpowered humans and horrific monsters. Meanwhile, I have two other drafts sitting on my hard drive (one a MG about dragons and clockwork monsters and alternative universes, the other a YA about curses and magic and evil deities). And another trilogy in the planning. What I'm lacking, however, is a crystal ball. I have no idea how any of this is going to play out, and to be honest, it makes me nervous as hell. How am I to know what was the best decision to make, further down the line? It's no wonder it's taken me so long to decide which project to work on next...
All in all, sometimes it might be nice to live in someone else's head for a while, just for peace of mind!