Friday, August 20, 2010

Because folks, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger...

I am trying to wrangle a Creative New Zealand funding application into submission. I swear when I look at the guidelines the words magically transform into a foreign language that I do not understand. Or I am missing the 'funding application' gene in my body that decodes the information appropriately so I can digest it and gain the nutrients from it. Sigh. I have applied before to no avail but I do have the dominant form of the 'glutton for punishment' gene (I am a writer) so I am doing it all over again. And as I have not been successful in the past it does not seem wise to do it the way I've done it before. I have obviously not decoded the guidelines correctly in the past so I must try and read them differently. I have a couple of things on my side this time - a project at the right size of gestation, for a start. No matter what, I continue to have hope...maybe this time...

Anonymous asked how the bottle opener story (aka The House That Went To Sea) was faring and I must report that despite several attempts and some favourable comments it has failed to find a home so far. It is winging its way overseas to a US publisher at the moment as I continue to try and find someone who loves this story as much as I do. No matter how good I think it is, it must convince a publisher that it will delight enough potential readers to make them buy it and then tell their friends about it so they buy it too. There are so many other factors at play as well. Do they have something similar just published? Can they convince the educational market to buy into it if it is a more sophisticated book, is it super fresh but not too edgy/different/weird that people just don't know what to make of it. Are they just looking for something else although they don't know what that something else is but they don't think this is it. Is your brain tied in knots from all the possible permutations that lead to a no? Are you tired now? I think this book is different but not too weird. Its uplifting and cute and funny in places. It conjures up some cool images. It has good themes. There is nothing 'wrong' with it. This is when perserverence and patience might be the key. Time will tell.

Anonymous also asked how a successful author deals with rejection. I don't know. I am stuck on the idea that 'successful' equates with not having to deal with rejection. But for me, I know that being published in the past is no guarantee of being published again. Ideally each manuscript should be judged on its own merits. There are some books I've read that weren't judged on this basis but were published because of an author's previous success and it would have been better if the budget for that book had been put to better use. And while my manuscript might have merit I need to find a publisher who agrees. Being a bestseller makes you more desirable and I haven't had bestseller status - not yet anyway (its in the 50 year plan). I've won an award and been nominated for another but unless this translates into big sales this is no guarantee of anything either. There are a number of things I tell myself when I receive a no, that are designed to make me feel better. First I remind myself that I like what I wrote and I believe in it. The second thing is that it is better to have a publisher who feels the same as I do about my story who will turn it into a lovely book and want it to do well. The third thing is that the publishing industry is suffering in the recession like most other businesses (except possibly the manufacturers of prozac, chocolate and alcohol) and is in turmoil as it wrestles with new technology (and despite all the words about the demise of books and the surge in e-books, ipad apps and the kindle I have not yet met a child who uses any of that stuff). I refuse to give up on my good stuff and I have not yet exhausted all possibilities and the beauty of this business is that the longer I hang around in it the more I know about how it all works which makes me better equipped to exist within it and find new opportunities for my work. Because folks, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. So I just package my darling up and send it out into the world again in search of new friends. One downside to rejection that I don't appreciate that I haven't yet figured out how to deal with is a growing cynicism. Cynicism is a poxy quality for a children's writer. If anyone knows how to dissolve cynicism please let me know.


Old Kitty said...

No, mustn't let cynicism win, mustn;t!! How to disslove it? Er... chocolate?

But seriously!!!! Good luck with your application and your writing! Just keep going is all I can say! Mind you speaking of cynicism.. You notice how some writers just sell on their name alone - like their name covers the bookcover and the title is so irrelevant it's kind of just shoved in small letters under the big name? Like MARTINA COLE (title in very small print - who cares cos the plots are all the same - I've read a few of her novels and they all blend in one happy blurr). DANIELLE STEELE (ditto) LOL!!

Anyway, I have no idea what my point it except to say - think only lovely thoughts! :-)

Take care

Fifi Colston said...

I didn't get funding this round either- that makes 9 I haven't got... coolio!
Yes re the ipad- still a lovely toy for grown ups with more money than grocery bills. The time will come when all kids use it, but I think i'll be in a rest home. Drinking.