To Stretch Or Not To Stretch

I find myself once more on the cusp of having a book ready for publishing. This time, I am planning to self-publish – and if you’ve read some of my posts, you will know why.

What I didn’t expect was to feel as nervous as the first time around. I can usually disguise jitters pretty well but my composure is as shaky now as it was the day I took my driving test, when my knees were shaking so much, the car was rattling around me, to the amusement and (badly disguised) snigger of the examiner.

And I think I figured out what the problem is. I changed genre.

‘Why – oh – why – oh – why?’ I hear you ask. Well, I have to admit that what started it was the realisation that simply having an original book was not going to help one bit when trying to publish it.

When I wrote my first novel I still believed that what was needed, what the market was absolutely gasping for, was an idea so different from anything else, that no one could possibly overlook it. Hah! I was such a child!

Of the many UK agents I contacted, only one saw the potential in it, but it wasn’t a genre they were comfortable with – or so they said. Of the publishers contacted, all requested the full manuscript, but for various reasons things didn’t quite work out. Well, not until I found Andrews UK, a small publisher who did a really good job with e-distribution, but wouldn’t commit to POD. We live in the UK. POD is essential for sales here.

So whilst I kept looking, I decided to write another book. This time I had the rejection experience of every type of UK agent, except for the really weird-sounding ones. One thing stood out from my correspondence with them: they wanted a strongly defined genre first, the idea was far down the list in their view.

Hence – the birth of a thriller. Once I had a genre, all I had to do was flick through my million ideas and find one I could turn into a masterpiece. No problem. Genre – check. Idea – check. Plot – check. Good names for my characters – check. Most things rolled on smoothly. Even the day after day of research didn’t sway me from the chosen path. My impressive google history could easily have landed me in an US interrogation room if someone cared to check (too late, guys, changed computer since!), but still I carried on. The hardest thing to me was to change my voice to one appropriate to a thriller writer. Taking most of the humour out of the dialogue was heart-wrenching, but three months later it was done.

The funny thing is, I no longer feel I need the help of a publisher. Even though changing genre was a stretch for me, it has given me so much more experience. I feel I’m moving in the right direction.

By the way, this is the provisional cover of my thriller – book one of three. Can’t wait to see it out there.

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