One of the reasons I started this blog was because I was trying to get back into writing. I was very serious about it some years ago. The problem wasn’t so much that I wasn’t getting anywhere – I had a reasonable amount of success. Won some local competitions, had several short stories and an article published. Then – the biggie. I had a book accepted (Contact – Young Adult Science Fiction). It had some good reviews, it was shortlisted for an international award! (UNESCO – Children’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance)
It didn’t sell. I’ve made more money from a magazine short story. I think it was worse than never getting anywhere at all. Then I lost three close family members within a few years of each other, and my son went through a life-threatening medical emergency. Life was reduced to getting through the next day, sometimes just the next few hours. I didn’t stop writing, although I didn’t get to it so much for a couple of years, what I stopped was finishing anything. After all, if it’s not finished, I can’t sent it out and get disappointed, now can I?
Constructive feedback is a problem. There are no local writers’ groups (I ran one myself for some years – it died of terminal inertia). I have tried some writers’ sites, but haven’t had much luck with useful feedback. Critiquing other writers’ work also takes time – something I don’t have huge amounts of.
Last year I rejoined the South African Writers Circle. They have monthly competitions and I thought it was as good a way as any to get back into all that difficult finishing and submitting stuff. I was placed in two of their competitions and I must say it has helped with moving forward.
I have a few completed books. The same local publisher who accepted my first book runs a fairly big competition every couple of years. Two of my books were for this competition. One absolutely wouldn’t sell outside South Africa. The publisher is running the competition again this year, and the theme is open. I am wondering if it is worth giving my SA based book another try. It had two completely contradictory reports the last time. One very positive and complimentary The other… not so much.
A while back I wrote to the publishers and regained copyright of my first book. I still think it’s not too bad. (I may be prejudiced…) Worth giving it a try. I am in the last stages of putting together the synopsis (HATE writing the synopsis – would rather write another book any day) and making a list of agents. Wish me luck…