Ups and downs

In the last week or so I’ve experienced some highs and lows in terms of my aspirations as a writer.

In June, I contacted two publishers who accept unsolicited submissions by email. I still haven’t heard from one of them, but last week I received an email from the other one. Although it’s a rejection, I feel that it’s quite a positive one:
“Thank you for submitting your work to Legend Press, we very much enjoyed the sample.

However, I am sorry to say I do not feel your work is quite right for our list. We are still a relatively small publishers, so competition for submissions is extremely high. However, I really enjoyed reading your submission, and wish you all the best in finding another publisher for your book. Also, I apologise that it took so long for us to get back to you. We have had a very long backlog of submissions and it has been taking us a while to get through them.

Thank you for contacting us and if you are interested in keeping up to date with developments at Legend Press we would be delighted to send you our free publishing-news monthly email bulletin. You can register for it simply by emailing info@legend-paperbooks.co.uk with your full name and we will add you to the database. And, if you have anything in the future that you think might be more suited to our list then please do send it to us!”

Undeterred, and encouraged by a friend who provided the link, I sent off a synopsis and covering note to Penguin, following their guidelines, as they were also open to unsolicited submissions for a short period up to the end of October. I truthfully don’t expect to hear anything from them at all, but I feel the need to try.

After a month of inactivity on Authonomy, during which my book’s rank barely changed, I uploaded a revised version just before their rating system changed last week. My book’s rank plummeted as a result of the change, and I’ve found it very demoralising. However, it’s still attracting interest, so I shall persevere.

During the last few days I’ve been corresponding with a ‘fan’ of my books, prompted by her observation that there are several similarities between my story and the plot of ‘Single Father’ which recently aired on BBC1.
I’m sharing here a snippet from our online conversation, because I’ve found her input very encouraging:

MrsR:
So, as you know, I’ve not seen ‘Single Father’, and from what I hear of the ending, there’s a reason I didn’t and won’t ever watch it.
But – are you totally amazed at how similar it is to your story?
I won’t go into it, because IMO, ‘Single Father’ was just convoluted, and I don’t want you to think I feel the same way about your book, because I think you know where I sit on that fence!
Anyway, I’ll shut up now. It just amazes me how people can confuse love with grief and lust.

Me:
I’m very freaked out about the similarities between ‘Single Father’ and my story: I spotted at least 11 in the first episode alone! I’m a little worried that some people may believe that I’ve copied from it, but my files prove that I’d completed my trilogy four months before SF came to my attention, so at least I know that my work is all my own!

My thoughts on emotions: there are very few hard lines between them, and one often leads to or seeps into another. When you’re feeling deeply emotional – whether it’s love, hate, grief, anger, etc, or any other emotion – it can lead you down any number of different paths, even those you’d never believe yourself capable of choosing. Emotions aren’t mutually exclusive; that’s why they can be so very confusing.

MrsR:
I agree with you, but I think the reason I tend to like your interpretation more is because you alluded to the fact that Jamie always kind of knew that for all he felt and did, he had so many other issues to work through, and Tasha, she always knew in her heart, I think, that he wasn’t with her 100 % which is what made it all the more real for me. Plus, it played out over a greater period of time.

That’s what I liked about your story. I think Jamie loved Tasha, is his own way, but I do also think that he knew it was loving her for the sake of loving her. Does that make sense? I know that’s not what you were going for, but in my mind, I’ve always been of the opinion that influence plays a great part, it makes a person. I believe his wife would have wanted him to be happy, but I also believe that his wife would know how that kind of guilt would have affected him. Like I said, it’s all well and good, moving on, but it’s how you go about doing that. And, I’m pleased to say, that Jamie realised that sex was just about sex, and they worked through that. Even if in the end she never really had him, she still had HER piece of him

I mean, we knew from the beginning, long before Tasha and Jamie were together, that she was into him. I think, even back then, there was always a sense of doom about them. And I take nothing away from their relationship, but Love, true love, the kind that sent Jamie off the deep end, you don’t get over that kind of connection easily, and you certainly don’t ever replace that person. So that’s why I feel his relationship with Tash is a whole nother kettle of fish! for all the similarities, it’s really quite different to SF. Tasha made her intentions clear from the beginning, and they worked around Jamie’s issues.

If any of this prompts you to want to read ‘New Beginnings’ (the first novel in my trilogy) you can find most of it on Authonomy or you can download a free sample from Amazon. The full book is also available on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

I’d really welcome feedback, good or bad, which you can leave on any of the above sites, or here, or via email (see my website for more details).

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About johannanield

Welsh author of a contemporary British romance trilogy
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