Monday, October 09, 2006

Things happen when you least expect it....

They really, really do.

In the second half of 2005 and the first half of 2006 writing productivity came in fits and starts. I had lots of boosts - a great read from the Romantic Novelists'Association's New Writers Scheme for the follow-up to McWife; sponsorship to attend the RNA Conference and to rejoin the organisation; support and encouragement from friends - but I was still somehow in a bit of a meh rut.

I was working on revising the McWife follow up, and on writing a fourth MS. I did hit good patches and liked what I was doing, but there seemed to be a great many other preoccupations leaching the creativity out of me. One was starting a Masters in Community Studies at Durham University (incidentally where I'm writing this - and it's lovely to be back here) on top of my full-time job, and the other was the pursuit of pregnancy.

I kept writing. Just.

And I pretty much forgot about those two submissions.

Then I received an offer in July 2006 from the e-publisher that had requested the MS from the Romance Junkies competition. It was a well-established e-pub, and a respected one, butI decided I didn't want to go that route with that book at that time, so I turned it down.

That felt very, very strange.

I shook my head over it, looked back over the history of that MS and pursed my lips and the missed opportunities and nearly-but-not-quites. I prepared to mentally put the MS under the bed, and that made me sadder than it should have done.

Then the unexpected, the unimaginable, the unbelievable happened. I got The Call.

Sitting down afterward to write a timeline of that MS for a writing e-group I belong to, I found that suddenly I was seeing things a whole lot differently. Those missed opportunities began to look like pitfalls avoided. The nearly-but-not-quites became not-now-but-soons.

So please, please remember, however bad it looks, sometimes things can turn right around. And what looked like a series of failures and flops can suddenly seem like an adventurous journey.

One that's only just beginning.

Timeline of an MS

Summer 2001 - I started writing a book I never thought I'd finish, called McAllister's Wife
Dec 2001 - I realised I actually WAS going to finish my first ever MS, and queried Silhouette with it
Jan 2002 - I had a request for a full
Jan 2002 - Submitted the full. And waited. And waited.
March 2003 - Got a phone call requesting revisions. Completed the revisions, sent them off.
May 2003 - Heard that the MS had been passed up
May 2003 - Received a rejection by letter (ouch)
April 2004 - Submitted the first chapter to the Romance Junkies contest
Sometime after - It scored well in the RJ contest, and got a requets from two publishers. Started revising madly!
Nov 2004 - Submitted to the GH (good scores, but didn't final.)
April 2005 - Submitted revised MS to two publishers.
Sept 2005 - Submitted partials to ten other pubs, US and UK. Got some
rejections, some never heard from.
June 2006 - Received an offer from e-publisher. Turned it down.
Sept 2006 - Received an offer from second publisher. Plan to accept it.


At 7:29 pm, Blogger Toni Anderson said...

Well done Anna :)

At 3:17 am, Anonymous mary beth said...

Thanks for doing this Anna! It's so inspiring. Congrats again.

At 12:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Anna! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!! It is making me feel better already. I resubmitted my short story, a different person looked at it and although highly commended again it actually managed to get less points than the original version. Crushed is not even the word and I can't imagine the pain after investing so much into a novel - Guess that's why I'm too scared to start submitting my two babies... But thanks to you I have new hope once more! Hope you have a lovely break.



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