And then…?

Okay, so you’ve drafted a book – kudos to you, well done, take well deserved pleasure in your achievement!

Now what?

You’ve browbeaten your friends/colleagues/neighbours/strangers on the train into reading it, and the replies have been favourable.


You write your one-page synopsis, polish the living daylights out of the first three chapters and scribble that all important cover letter.

Silence prevails, silence only broken by the occasional ‘thanks, but no thanks’ rejection.

Self-doubt and other monkeys climb on your back. 

Imposter syndrome takes up long term residence…

What now?

Is it your letter/synopsis/first three chapters?

Is it your entire project?

So, you edit, rewrite, titivate and do your absolute best to create a silk purse.

Is it your timing, is the publishing world focusing on werewolves and moody teenagers with identity issues?

Is it a timing issue, or does your work just lack merit?

The monkey is still on your shoulder, his extended family over to visit…

Maybe you need to self-publish?

It’s a credible option taken by many.

Okay, to go it alone you’ll obviously have to present the absolute best version of your project that you can – it is a crowded market – you will need to be polished – no half measures will succeed!

An editor, yes you will need one of those skilled practitioners – £0.01 per word (£1,200 for Amy Grace: Thomas Payne).

Artwork – most definitely gotta get some good graphics, despite the adage people do judge a book by its cover – okay £200.

So, to launch my project I’ll need a few coins over £1,500.

Do I have £1,500?

No and nope. 

Is it a lack of belief, or just an overriding necessity to pay the bills? 

Ah the mundane of life…

The piper needs to be paid. 

We chase rainbows, pick up pennies, and we debate the sustainability of our project that is doomed to be in perpetual ‘pause.’

Maybe it’s a cosmic statement – maybe it’s telling me to take up golf, or it’s telling me to persevere because nothing worthwhile is ever easy? 

I’m currently looking at option B.

Stay safe – remain sane!

Inciting Incident (courage of your convictions). 

And so it begins, chapter one, page one, we write our first line, and we start our tale.

My original draft made the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan look like a teddy bear’s picknick.

I pulled no punches, spared no blushes, the opening incident was intentionally cruel in its delivery.

I added no trigger warnings – gave no option but to be immersed in what was happening. 

Some subjects work well with kid gloves – and some don’t.

Amy’s tale deserved the honesty I gave it.

Time passed, the tale was completed and then offered out for critique.

I presented the first chapter to a writing group.

It wasn’t the rape, wasn’t the violence or indeed the cruelty that they balked at – nope it was why would a woman go walking/exploring on her own???

I tried to explain, to defend my rational, but they were not for turning – there was a credibility collapse with a young woman walking alone through Cairo at four in the morning – change it!

So, I did.

No longer was she off wandering (alone), now she was stolen from the middle of a crowd.

As the huddled masses jostle for taxis home Amy is plucked from the crowd and the tragedy that initiates our tale is carried out.

Version ‘new’ was carefully crafted to explain every act – to reinforce the notion that Amy as a blameless victim – no naïve culpability [?] in her own tragedy. 

And as well written as the new version is, I don’t like it – but I’m now scared to change it back because the ‘credibility’ of my first incarnation was so universally rejected.

To my own self be true, or to the critics do I surrender?

I don’t know.

Stay safe – remain sane!