That sound of rustling is Sue and me pulling off the dust sheets that have been covering this website for the last year or so.
It’s also me screwing up and throwing away the words: ‘We MUST do something about this website…’
I’ve uttered them many times over the last few months. I’ve even sat in front of the screen with the website glaring back at me with that: ‘You-don’t-love-me-anymore’ look on its face, and agreeing that I don’t actually love websites – ours included – because they take so much time and effort and I’d rather be writing than customizing and updating.
But needs must.
We’ve been quiet on the website front in much the same way we’ve been quiet on the writing-of-hugely-successful-books front (well, we think they’re hugely successful).
Excuses coming up:
- After a partnership of several years and the publication of three hugely successful novels (see above) our publisher announced she was closing the business. You can imagine the initial shock and the anxiety that followed. When you’ve been used to having a supportive publisher – and all that goes with it – life suddenly feels very lonely. You realise you’re going to have to live without all that support. Even though Sue and I have each other to write with, the world of books suddenly felt very big and alien.
- Sue and I thought that, as we’d written three hugely successful books (as above), it might be easier for us to approach new agents than it is for a writer who was completely new and facing the process for the first time. After all, we went through it all with our journalism text books – and then with our novels (the three Friends books which became known as the #Friends trilogy). We have books in print; Sue and I have been featured in newspapers and magazines; we’ve given talks throughout the North; we’ve appeared at literary festivals; and we’ve sold books and have royalties to prove it. Surely, we thought, an agent would be interested.
- Not a bit of it.
- Our hope was that an agent (see above) would have taken us up on the suggestion that we re-edit and re-launch the Friends trilogy. But how dispiriting it is – after researching the agents that handle genres and styles like ours – to send off well-thought introductory emails, synopsis and the first three chapters of a novel – to receive a ‘Thanks but no thanks’.
All that took time. We had also started editing the first book in the trilogy, A Falling Friend (AFF), because having published two further books in the series, we had learned much and realized AFF could do with a bit of tightening up. All that took time too and once it was done, we looked in detail at the other two books, A Forsaken Friend and A Forgiven Friend, and decided to give them a tweak too. You guessed it: all that took time too.
I do hope readers have stuck with this blog so far and are nodding in agreement. It takes time, doesn’t it, this writing business?
- Then came the Big Decide. If mainstream agents and publishers didn’t want us, we would self-publish (that’ll teach ‘em). And we learned a lot too. We had to find – and then work with – a new editor. Takes time. Then someone to format the books. Takes time. Then decide where and how to self-publish. Takes research and time. Then to do the actual deed. And in between all that Sue and I were juggling real life in a time of Covid which included death, illness, new arrivals, and moving house, and much more.
- Oh, but the feeling of pride and achievement when we finally pressed the big red button and our books were once again in print and on sale. And it now means we can sit down and complete our fourth novel which is three-quarters written (when and how did THAT happen?)
- Or we could if we didn’t have to write blogs and start marketing again to re-introduce the re-launched #Friends trilogy – and update this damn website.
A Falling Friend is available to buy here
A Forsaken Friend is available to buy here
A Forgiven Friend is available to buy here
Graeme Cumming said:
And then life gets in the way too! Good luck with the relaunch – and with getting book four completed.
Thanks Graeme … I’m sure Sue and I aren’t the only ones who are finding the writing business heavy going at the moment. Hope life’s treating you well.