Saturday, 8 July 2017

Being your own admin department

I finished the second draft of my current book two weeks ago (working title: The Kindred) and have been sorting out a few odds and sods since then. I sometimes get the impression people think writing is simply just a case of writing a book, finishing it and sending it straight off to publishers before the money comes rolling in (hahahaha) and while that might be the case for some of the big names, it definitely isn't for writers like me. For starters, my first drafts are always terrible. Seconds aren't perfect, either, so it would be a waste of everyone's time if I subbed a book that wasn't as close to perfect as I can get. Outside that, there's a lot of what I think of as the business/practical side of writing: researching publishers, agents and markets; choosing the right place to send a sample or a query; getting everything ready and then, as in the case of one night last week, getting an auto reply to say they were now closed. Then writers need to keep track of what they've sent to who and chase if it's required and obviously if that's part of the company's policy on submission - the majority are now a no reply at all means no.

This all takes time and as the writer's life is better spent writing than being their own admin department, it's a case of needs must. Unless a writer is content to write purely for themselves or a select handful of people they can give a copy of their book to, all this practical stuff has to be done. And believe me, it's a drag which is why I try to time it for when I'm between projects rather than in the middle of a book. As the market for horror isn't large (and seems to be shrinking by the year), it's also disheartening. But like I said, it has to be done. Publishers and agents don't go looking for writers; they have enough work to do and enough queries and samples coming their way. All the writer can do, especially if they write in a genre that has a loyal but small audience, is keep looking for the markets to send their work.

And then return to their tale of cannibals in a post-nuclear war alternative history Britain.

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