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The dead horse

Had my novel rejected for the umpteenth time yesterday [… the eleventh, to be precise]. It’s turned into the novel everybody likes but is unwilling to publish, to wit: “We thought that it was an excellent first novel, though in need of some work… that said, we were impressed and while this novel isn’t quite right for the […] list would like to see anything else you write down the road. Please do not be discouraged by this response…” etc. etc.

Ah, yes. Another rejection letter peppered with phrases like, “Excellent writing,” … “Extremely talented,” … “So much about this I liked,” … and yet, no takers. My agent, who really believed in the book from the start, decided after the ninth rejection to call it quits and stop flogging a dead horse – which I guess is what agents do, seeing as how they’re not going to make much money unless they manage to sell to one of the corporates.

And now, YT has decided to cut her losses and relegate this dead horse to the bottom drawer. I know I know – ‘perseverance is key’, ‘so-and-so was rejected ten billion times before his/her first novel was published, ‘look at J.K. Rowling,’ … I know. I can hear all those well-meaning, infinitely kind words of solace and comfort as I write this. And yet. There comes a time to say ENOUGH. And for YT, the time is now.

THE SILVER LINING:
1. I’ve proven to myself that I can write a whole entire book
2. I’ve got an agent in the UK, whose door is wide open for anything I want to write in the future
3. I’ve got a publisher willing to read – nay, asking to read, anything I may write in future
4. I’ve got strong supporters here in Iceland, willing and even eager to read anything I may write in future.

And I’ve got my blog. Which gives me so much when it comes to this compulsion I have for self-expression. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently: when weighed against the machinations of the Publishing Industry, which is more satisfying? Sitting in virtual isolation for months on end, putting your all into something that ultimately nobody may care very much about, going through the process of putting it out there and then dealing with the ruthlessness of agents and publishers who have their eye fixed firmly on the bottom line, in a highly-competitive, dog-eat-dog industry that sadly has little room for anything new?

Or sitting here, writing what I want, when I want; having a readership – not large, but very loyal, being my own editor, not having to fear rejection [much] and, best of all, getting immediate feedback from those who read what I write. Who for the most part are wonderfully warm and supportive people, many of whom I have come to regard as friends.

At the risk of sounding like the proverbial fox that claimed the grapes were sour, I have to say that, in my opinion, some of the best and most dynamic writing around can be found on weblogs. And I think the ‘publishing industry’ is hopelessly out of touch for not recognizing this.

THE WEATHER
Is kind of like my mood – gloomy and overcast, though with the sun hovering just beyond the clouds. Current temps are 4°C and daybreak was at 6.00 while nightfall will be at 21.06.

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