I’ve resolved to keep my head down and concentrate on the project ahead of me, instead of focusing what I’ve done. Putting out more work and aiming for something better than the last, helps me to continue moving forward. The compliments and the accolades are nice and it’s good to garner feedback, but in the end, it’s only the work that’s important. It’s what lines your shelves or fills your inbox. It’s a confusing and often challenging process. I’d like to think there are other people who feel the same, and we have mutual struggles. Everyone is kind of wandering around trying to do the best they can with what they have and work hard. We are all trudging uphill and holding on to the belief the hill will eventually even out and we can just stop and rest for a bit; have a gander at the view and take a deep breath. I do a lot of research, read as many how-to’s as possible, but it’s tedious. It’s not always useful nor the best plan for me. I often end up doing my own thing and hoping it works out. Best put, I fly by the seat of my pants and I hope I don’t crash and burn.
In the meantime, if you feel like you’re the only one struggling up that hill, you are not alone. I’m right there with ‘ya. I’m the one with my head down and my sturdy shoes strapped on tight so I don’t trip over a pebble and roll back down. Also, I bring wine. Lots of wine…
There are many writers who decide to publish their work independently for various reasons. Many are frustrated with the extended time it takes to propose traditional publishers. By the time the manuscript hits their desks, they read, and ask for more chapters only to reject it in the end, a good six months has passed. At least. In that same six months, an independent author could have the book edited, a professional cover completed, and hit the internet for sales. Many opt for the latter just for time constraints. I enjoy the process of self-publishing. I like creating my own covers. I had help on my latest, Kevin, and it was a joy to involve other talented individuals who understand your vision and want to help you realize it. I enjoy searching for the right images, I enjoy formatting and learning about fonts and which paper is best for the look I want inside the book, as well as out. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, it’s frustrating and if you don’t want the hassle of doing any of that work yourself, then hiring a professional to do it for you is a great option. If traditional publishing is more your thing, being prepared for the many letters and emails you will receive is a must. Rejection is as much a part of that process as querying potential houses.
The rejection letters I have accumulated over the years have all taught me a thing or two. The form letters were not constructive, however, I have a few who took the time to give me pointers on what a traditional house would be looking for. Keep to their specific genre, edit carefully, take your time with the characters, etc. Initially, the letters stung. I took them to heart. I gave it a bit of time and after looking at them again, with more of an open mind and less swearing, they were actually useful. When I approached writing my first novel, I sat down and went through a more methodical plotting strategy. I went online and searched how other writers plot their stories. I watched videos, I bought novel-writing books and I researched how to edit. I downloaded editing software, I purchased a copyediting book, I wrote and re-wrote. I continue to research other ways on how to approach a novel. I structure things differently. I seek advice from other writers. I do all of this now, and never would have thought of doing any of it had I not been rejected. I value the opinions and I learn more everyday. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon and I learn something new with each book.
I’m preparing to write my third novel, the sequel to False Hope. I’m taking my time with it. I have storyboards in place and I will continue to read and write and work. The rejection letters are sitting beside my desk prepared to be read again. They’re not pleasant, but they remind me of how far I’ve come and how far I can go. Rejection is a natural part of any business, not just writing and accepting it as a tool for learning instead of a personal attack is far more beneficial. Take a look at those letters. Read them for what they are intended; as a guide and a tool, not as a means of sending you away. Good luck.
My name is Julien Hill. If you’ve read KJ’s book, False Hope, you would know who I am. KJ wanted me to write a little bit about myself to give you ‘insights’ into my behavior in the book. Frankly, I think it’s a big waste of time, but she can get a bit whiney and this was the only way I could shut her up.
Like I said, my name is Julien and before I went working undercover
at that sorry excuse for a law office of Upshall’s, I worked on the Vice squad
for about five years. Most of my
policing experience comes from dealing with drug dealers and low-lifes, so this
new gig was one I wasn’t looking forward to.
I regret the whole thing. The
only light in the entire operation was Ashley.
She’s an angel. It’s no secret I
had a thing for that girl, but she only had eyes for Jamie, or Jax, as you all
would know him. Trust me, that guy has
some secrets he wouldn’t like to get out.
But this is about me.
I grew up just outside of Toronto. I was an only child. My parents were teachers and are retired, now living in Hamilton. Linda and Brian were always worried about my tendencies to be alone instead of hanging with a bunch of kids from school, but I just never found my group. I stayed locked up in my room reading comic books. They suited me better. I was never good at sports and the geeks were too brainy for me, so I fell somewhere in the middle. I got my first good camera in grade 10 and taught myself how to take cool shots and develop them myself. I started spending a lot of time in my darkroom I had set up in the basement. Again, Linda and Brian weren’t too pleased with my ‘obsessive’ tendency to take ‘pictures’ and suggested I spend more time with my studies. This led to a lot of arguments with my parents and I ended up storming out a few times. I needed to get my own place, I knew that.
After high school, I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I knew a guy who had applied to the police department for kicks, so I thought I’d apply. I wrote on the application I was handy with a camera and they seemed interested by that. I showed them the portfolio I threw together along with the dark room I had and they sent me to the academy. I hated that too, but I made it through. They sent me directly to Vice and I was set up to do surveillance. Apparently, my eye for detail and awesome photography skills came in handy. I got great shots that handed guys some hefty sentences in Kingston. I was feeling useful in that gig. I got my own place and set up my darkroom off of my bedroom. And then, they sent me to Organized Crime with the pretty boys like Jamie. Adrian had strict rules about who I was to ‘associate’ with, so no buddies at Vice for me, anymore. I hated undercover. The only thing that suited me was the fact I got to be alone and take some shots. I guess you know by now, that I had some photos of Ashley and some women. It wasn’t a pervy thing. I just appreciate a beautiful form. Call it art. That’s all I’m going to say about it. The secret compartment under my desk was supposed to be private. The fact that Ashley found it and it wasn’t discovered by the guys in OC was more awesome than I could have ever imagined.
I know I’m dead, now.
You don’t have to pretend that I’m alive and kicking and will be
magically reappearing in another of KJ’s books.
I know it ain’t happenin’ but I couldn’t have imagined any better way of
dying. All for Ashley. Those idiots couldn’t save a raccoon from a
tree, let alone a beauty like Ashley.
That’s why I had to dive in. I
had to make sure she got away from the goons charging into the apartment and I
thought I had a good shot at getting her away from Jamie and his gang of merry
men, but that didn’t work out as well as I had planned. But, she did good in my opinion.
She was innocent in all of this. She wasn’t supposed to be in any of the
operation until Jamie got his hooks into her and made her a part of this
mess. It’s his fault she had to run from
murderous bastards and his fault she had to move away. I could see how hurt she was when her friend
was killed and I could see he left her in the middle of the whole ordeal. I didn’t bail on her like Jamie did. I was behind the scenes watching like always. And I was there when it counted, in the end. That’s what’s important.
I don’t know what they did with all of my stuff. My apartment is empty so I assume Linda and
Brian cleaned it up. I know Ashley asked
that my pictures be taken away. I only
hope she has a few to remember me by.
Her savior. Her hero. I loved her the most. You can tell her I said that.
My book is ready to drop in a few days. All I have left to do is hit the little ‘publish’ button but I’m feeling a tad squeamish. I get emails from authors who have self-published and want to sell me their guides on how to correctly publish my book. Is there a wrong way?!
Let’s face it everyone has a guide, a book, a best-practices manual, a notebook full of tips; I even watched a video of an author with a giant binder full of…stuff, and I just have a button and a book. What do I know? Apparently, nothing. After all, I don’t have a giant binder full of stuff.
It’s a scary leap to jump off that self-publishing cliff
with the world telling me I shouldn’t, I can’t, I-wouldn’t-do-it-if-I-were-you.
NOT WITH THAT ATTITUDE,
I’ve chosen to block out the negative vibes of, “Dumb
author thinks she can publish her book.
Pfft” and instead I am focusing on, “Dumb author thinks she
can publish her book! Yay!” There.
That’s more like it.
The mere fact that I traveled the journey to get to the spot
where I’m ready to publish, is a feat in itself. I wrote a whole book.
I waded through the self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy
that plagues every writer and human on the planet. I’m not over those feelings and hopefully,
never will be. They push me to be better
and to expect better from myself. I
think those feelings were the catalyst that pushed me to finish.
As the next few days unfold and I steady my finger over the
‘Publish now’ button, I’ll hold tight to the belief that I am worthy of pushing
that damned button.
All the while, I will allow my middle finger to wave freely at the world…and that binder full of ‘stuff’.
I’ve been inundating the internet with graphics of quotes from my book, False Hope. Below, is another I created to give a sense of Ashley’s thoughts on death, grief and hope. I’ve also given a brief summary of the book. Enjoy!
Ashley Wells is a young woman making her way in Toronto. A new job at a small law firm propels her into a romantic relationship with Jax Fuller, a handsome young intern destined to be her biggest mistake. As their bond deepens, Ashley can’t help but think Jax is hiding his true self. As she navigates through the deception, betrayal and grief she discovers the truth about her lover and the dangerous game he is playing. She becomes embroiled in a fight against a crime boss determined to stop at nothing even if it costs the lives of those she loves,. Ashley summons her courage to fight for justice, and in doing so, confronts the limits of the human spirit. In her final testament of love, Ashley forfeits the life she had for one filled with an uncertain path and an undiscovered landscape.