2021 – Review of the Year – Part Three

If you’ve read the last two posts in this series, you’ll remember that my main goal this year was to get one piece of fiction published, with a secondary goal of getting paid for a piece of writing if possible.

Putting in the hard yards (aka editing!)

With both those goals achieved, I felt the year had been successful and didn’t really expect anything more.

All the while though, I’d been querying my novel Badlands with agents in the hope that someone would pick it up.

Badlands is a dark suspense novel about Megan “Willow” Rae, a runaway who returns home to North Cornwall to search for her missing sister.

Haunted by ghostly visions, stalked by a sinister conspiracy and forced to face the demons of her youth, Willow has to unpick the web of deception and betrayal around her to find the truth, but when she does it leads to the biggest betrayal of all.

I started writing Badlands in June 2019, and began querying with agents in summer 2020.

Querying with agents is a tough gig. I saw this morning that one agent got almost four thousand queries in a year.

Four thousand.

The odds of getting picked up through that route are astronomically small, no matter how well written your book, and how close to the agents wish list it fits.

Around August 2021, having found success with indie publishers for my short fiction, I changed tack and started adding indie’s to my query list.

Within my first batch of queries including indies, I got a full request, the first I’d ever received.

Ultimately that turned into a rejection as it didn’t quite fit their imprint, but a few weeks later, I got another full request.

This time, instead of a rejection, I got an invitation to a zoom call to discuss the book.

What a call that turned out to be.

By the end of the call, an offer for publication had been made, and Badlands was on its way out into the world, courtesy of Darkstroke.

I wrote my first novel in 1996, and have written around 10 since (although only one other has been written and edited to what I’d call completion).

At times I wondered if I’d ever get anything published.

In fact, between 1996 and 2020, I’d had a grand total of three pieces published, all non-fiction.

Then 2021 hit and it’s been my most successful year to date, even though the rejections still outweigh the acceptances by about fifty percent.

As 2022 creeps into view, I’m looking forward to the release of Badlands. Pre-orders of the eBook are going well (thanks everyone who’s ordered!), and the paperback will be available on release day; 21st January 2022.

Success, even of the modest sort has been a long time coming, so the last thing I’d say to any aspiring writer is this.

Keep going. The road is long. There’s a lot of rejection. But persevere and you’ll find your market.

Have a great New Year and I’ll see you in 2022!

2 thoughts on “2021 – Review of the Year – Part Three

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