Consider my expectations managed

Welp, it’s been a minute, readers. This book publishing game sure seems slow to this online journalist! That said, I can no longer call myself that, since I have news: having been furloughed in April, I was fully laid off from my media job in August.

Having had the delightful spring and summer to write – and write I did, three new (rough) manuscripts to be exact – I was then officially without work. So I cast the revisions aside to focus on a job hunt. And I’ve been very successful! I applied for about 20 jobs in the communications and content marketing fields, and ended up landing the first one I applied for. A great role leading content and brand communications at a Vancouver-headquartered, North-America-wide tech company. And I started last week! It’s a massive learning curve, all online working from home, and in a field I don’t know. Exhausting and exhilarating.

I did manage to get one fabulous week away for a writing (or, rewriting) retreat as a celebratory gift to myself, once I’d landed the job but before my start date. While on the Sunshine Coast, I was able to get a bunch of revisions done on my Jane Eyre reimagining, which is shaping up nicely and is now ready for betas. I had already managed to revise the other similar work, my Wuthering Heights-inspired romance, so that’s already out with betas. (God bless beta readers!) But now, all is on the back burner as I pivot in my career and learn a big new role. It could be a while before I’m able to seriously work on these new manuscripts again.

In the meantime, there’s not much action going on with submissions of my debut novel, which my agent is currently “shopping” around the big publishers. Her method is to do one at a time, at the pace of about one per month or until that particular acquisition editor turns it down, then she’ll move onto the next. It feels slow to this anxious, antsy author, but I know my agent is an expert in her field and has my best interests at heart. She has explained to me that times are very tough for debut fiction, and that 10 years ago this MS would have sold in a heartbeat, but today it’s hard. The fiction market is in steady decline, and the pandemic has just exacerbated the problem.

Added to that, publishers around the world – and particularly in the US – are taking a much-needed, long, hard look at their lists and the diversity represented therein. As they should. It shouldn’t take movements like Black Lives Matter to get publishers to ensure they are giving BIPOC authors the voice that has been suppressed since forever. Finally, some are beginning to understand. And if it means this privileged, white, middle-class author gets sidelined to make it happen, I’m good with that.

All that means, even though I’m lucky enough to have an agent, it does NOT mean my book is getting published any time soon. If ever.

Yep, consider my expectations well and truly managed.

P.S. At the end of a previous post, I promised to report back on how long it took me to draft a novel when writing full-time (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm with an hour for lunch). I wrote three MSs over the summer, each was around 70,000-80,000, and the shorter ones took me three weeks, or 15 working days, the longer one around four weeks. BUT that was after having a) plotted out all my chapters per my method shared here and b) done all my necessary research and other procrastination! Turns out I write pretty fast when all the pieces are in place.