Chloë is our new ‘agony queen’. She invites you to take a chair, tell her your problems and await her judgement.
Since Scotland went into lockdown, I have been asked to work from home. I thought this would be an ideal time to work on a novel. I really hate my job and writing seemed an ideal risk-free way of starting a new career. The theme of football and gangsters was something I thought would appeal to lads my age and lots of my friends said they would buy a copy if it was on Amazon. I have sent my finished novel to fifty publishers now but so far only received two rejection letters. The other forty eight have simply ignored me. I am feeling angry about how these publishers have not had the courtesy of replying to me, and thinking of giving up on writing, What should I do? James, Edinburgh
Hi James. During these difficult times, many of us are rethinking our life choices. You ‘hate’ your job so see writing as a way out. A risk-free exit too that does not involve interviews, bosses or salary negotiations. I suspect in your head writing is a one-way ticket to change everything.
But writing is a skill and a craft and keeping to the football theme of your novel, whilst nearly everyone can kick a ball, not everyone can be a Christiano Ronaldo. Just because you can pick up a pen, does not necessarily mean you should. I suspect though you feel the publishers are not only rejecting your novel, but also your escape plan from your current job. No wonder you feel such anger.
Do you truly want to write? If it was a means to an end, concentrate first on deciding what type of job you want, and then build a plan to achieve it.
If you want to become a writer, success is unlikely to come quickly, so you may still need to evaluate your career choices and look for an alternate job. But that should not stop you writing on an evening and at weekends.
If you truly want to be a writer, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of rejection – some of the rejection will be kind, and some of it downright mean. Some of it will come from publishers, some of it will come from readers, and believe it or not, a lot of it will come from yourself.
If you don’t want to deal with rejection, perhaps you could just write for pleasure, or self-publish so your friends can buy your book? This might help you build up your confidence and platform to approach publishers.
if you want to improve your writing craft, rejection could be a positive experience. If the rejection is given kindly, it will come with advice on how to improve your writing style and structure.
Good luck and I hope your writing reaches an audience!