I write. Not for fame or fortune but because it’s a part of who I am. If I didn’t write the words down, I’d still have them in my head along with the loves, lives, tragedies, etcetera, of the stories those words erected. The writing is for me – the writing is me.
For years, I never let anyone know that I was writing or read it if they were aware. It was fear. My fear of rejection and ridicule. Terror that my nagging certainty that my story, that I, wasn’t good enough would be confirmed and exposed for the entire world to see.
Publishing was a dream I didn’t dare entertain. But I had some people close to me, people that knew I was writing, and hounded me to read what I had. Then they encouraged me to try submitting it. Eventually I caved. Nothing ventured and all that.
Following the traditional model – as I knew it – I tried querying agents first. When that didn’t work, I submitted to a few publishers whose names I knew. I failed miserably. I took the rejections as evidence that I was right and had no business being in the book business. I went back to writing for myself.
It was a couple years later when I got a phone call from an editor at Harlequin. I was sure, even as I cried tears of shocked joy, someone was screwing with me. But a contract arrived in the mail later that month with a check for half the advance we’d discussed.
I’ve published four additional books since then, three with wonderful small press publishers and one independently. It’s been a slow road, filled with disappointments as well as great joy: abysmal sales, rotten reviews, a saturated market [as an avid reader with not enough time to read to my heart’s content, I too know the conflict of picking just one book from so many that sound interesting], not enough reviews, too small a backlist, too long between release dates. It can be challenging, finding not just the time but the resolve to keep on.
I continue to struggle with crippling insecurity. But as my pragmatic Irish mother advised this morning, it never gets any easier. There will be ups and downs. But we never give up.
This is me – not giving up.