OK; deep breath, Teresa. I write this blog while there is still adrenaline pumping through my system from the most incredible rollercoaster in my writing career.
I want to tell you about it absolutely honestly while it is all fresh and crazy still...but hopefully without sounding like this is just self-promotion blah blah.
Check out my previous blog and you will see that a blink ago, I was desperately nervous about how my debut psychological suspense would be received. (Genuine angst, I promise you; authors always worry how a new book will be received - especially in a new genre.)
Now? I have seen that book hit number ONE on Kindle in the U.K., USA and Australia with fabulous reviews flooding in (thank you, readers)...and I still can't take it in.
As I write, it's still number ONE, day six in the UK, with hundreds of 5-stars worldwide already. Quite simply surreal. As I say in the headline; all my dreams suddenly coming true.
So for grounding and encouragement to others, I have deliberately posted my 'tall story' picture of where it all began for me -manuscripts which I wrote, revised and sent out over ten long years before I got my first deal! Yes; I really did start all this before agents were accepting email submissions!! It cost me a fiver every time I updated a script and sent it out again.
I share this picture because my mantra through that very difficult decade was always to just 'keep going' and I really want to repeat that now to anyone who is struggling with rejection.
I had a lot of near misses with my early attempts. I made it to several acquisition meetings...but time after time I fell at that final hurdle.
I have always written in two genres - emotional women's fiction and psychological suspense - and at first this was a problem. Some editors said...go darker. Others said no...go warmer. (I even made the mistake at one point of writing one book which combined both genres; you should have seen the finger wagging!)
In the end I separated my two voices and managed to get book deals for both genres. First my women's fiction sold in six languages. That went brilliantly and my second book made it to #111 in the Kindle chart. So then I set myself a new goal. To somehow make it onto the bestseller listings.
And now in my new genre of psych suspense....well; as you see - it's going OK!!!
So the lesson I want to share?
Keep the faith. Believe in yourself but be prepared to work hard to get better and better. No writing is ever wasted. The 'Apprenticeship' pays off.
Find your unique voice...make it strong and use it well.
Learn how to pitch.
Be open to editing. (All my books have been strengthened thanks to working with terrific editors.)
Most important? Let yourself mourn each rejection but then pick yourself up and get back to that keyboard.
I remember vividly sitting on the floor crying when an early book so nearly sold to a major publisher, then I got the dreaded call....to say 'not quite'.
In short, just keep going, lovely people.
Care. Dare. Do it for yourself, do it for the dream but, above all, do it for the love of the words on the page....
Teresa Driscoll - journalist, author, mother of two and lover of great coffee.