Early today I received a really encouraging e-mail from Guy Haley, the editor of Death Ray Magazine.
After I first read it I was unable to concentrate at work properly for a little while, and after reading it again I’m… well, I’m… double chuffed that someone has been kind enough to spend the time to write to me, and not just fire-off an automated response. And not just that, but he appears to have liked what he has read. Anyway, this is Guy’s e-mail in full;
I’ve got your mail about your book and whatnot, which I’m going to print in Death Ray 22 (out 12th November), because this kind of e-publishing is quite interesting right now.
And then I read a little bit of the story, and a bit of your blog, so I thought I’d send you an email, because it seems you feel a bit sad, for want of a better word. It’s a hard knock writing a book and then not getting it published, but bear in mind the toughest part of all is actually finishing one. Many folk have some idea or other, and a few of them might put pen to paper, but hardly any ever actually finish the process. That’s a cause for celebration.
The only thing to do is to sit down and write something else, and keep doing it until you write something that a publisher will publish. It’s really rare for a first book to be picked up (I assume this is your first), most people have to slog away at it for years. Having read a few pages of your story I can say that you can, at least, write (some people really can’t).
Many apologies if this appears weird or patronising, I suppose I’m writing to you because your blogposts struck a chord with me. I was trying to write fiction for about 20 years, and suffered many similar setbacks and rejections myself (bear in mind I write for a living anyway) until I managed to sell my first story (for a pittance, too) last year. So don’t give up, and listen carefully to any advice anyone who works in publishing gives you, then follow it, even if it is painful.
(By the way, I’d abandon trying to find a self-publishing house if I were you. Such things cost a lot of money, you rarely make the money back, and volumes published this way are not held in high regard within the industry and surrounding media; something to think about when you’re approaching mainstream publishers in the future. Look up ‘Vanity Press’ on Wikipedia for a reasonable definition of why).
All the best,
Editor, Death Ray magazine