Why does it have to be so hard?

The reasons I haven’t been posting are not because I was away on another sojourn enjoying the sights, quite the opposite. I wrote a post some weeks back (Sept) about the time it takes in this writing lark to hear back from people. In that post I wrote that I had sent off a pitch to an agent regarding my short story collection. I waited the 6 – 7weeks indicated when I should have heard back. Seven weeks turned into twelve and I decided to chase this up. No response. Last week (16 weeks from original submission), I wrote a longer message. A reply, saying: “Oh, so sorry, your work must have been sent to So and So’s scam folder and been deleted, for all the work from that month has been seen to, and your file is nowhere to be found.” And then the bit that said – “sorry about this, you can resend if you wish, but we understand if you want to send it elsewhere.”

I waited until I’d cooled down a little and wrote back, thanking them for the email, and how sorry I was to learn that my pitch and three stories attached, had been lost. I also thanked them for the opportunity for resubmitting, knowing the likely response. No sixteen-week wait this time, just one day, and a straight “sorry, short stories aren’t really my thing.” And “Good luck” in the signing off.

Guessing this was to be the likely outcome, right from the start (just being realistic), I kept preparing the manuscript, so that it was ‘print ready’. This means that it is formatted to specific measurements and font sizes, (for the book-size requested by a publisher/printer), ensuring the paginations match correctly: ie the title page for each story begins on an odd page, and to account for the other pages front and back which will have titles, contents, publishing details etc., on them. NB, I save myself some dollars by designing the interior pages myself, but shall have the printer design the cover from the image I supply.

I am continuing to proofread all twenty short stories, line by line, as I near the end of this rather big job. Husband Kerry did a marvellous job yesterday of helping me with the book formatting task. And boy, it took AGES. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but determined to source an image for the cover, I kept searching online. I couldn’t use the image I really, really wanted, because of the licensing requirements, but luckily found another, which didn’t have the same issues. (You’ll see it once the book is printed – promise).

All that’s left is to pop the numbers where each story starts for the stories listed on the contents page, finish the line by line proofreading, and upload all necessary documents to the printery (once I’ve checked I have listed all my requirements for the desired, finished book, outcome). And then, as I did when producing my last book in 2020, I shall have to make a start on publicity, and that takes weeks!

Images from Shutterstock

13 thoughts on “Why does it have to be so hard?

  1. The trenches can be a demoralising place, that’s for sure, but that’s what makes it all worthwhile, am I right? Kinda sucks that you had to go through all that trouble for a curt reply though. Wishing you all the best in your journey!


  2. How terribly frustrating! I suppose you have to remain optimistic at all times and continue to do what you love best which is writing. Am I guessing that you are going to publish the book yourself? All the best in this adventure!


  3. Oh, boy, it’s so demoralizing, isn’t it. Good on you for self-publishing. Knowing how much work it is, I know you must be working like a Trojan right now. Good luck with the process. My tip is don’t set any deadlines. I always ended up suffering untold stress over setting myself unrealistic deadlines and then never meeting them.


    • Hi Yvette. Demoralising it is is indeed. And it wasn’t the first time something like this has happened over the years. Deadlines? I hate them, but, I did set some for the last book, and actually met them! I think if I hadn’t that book wouldn’t have come off my computer.


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