If you’ve been following my publication journey over the past few years, then some of you have probably already guessed that I don’t have a book coming out this year. Usually, you’re not supposed to admit these sorts of trials as an author, but I like to be transparent because I wish more authors were transparent when I was an aspiring author (and I wish more industry professionals would stop frowning upon us sharing these experiences). Alas, being transparent about struggles helps others know they are not alone, and to me, that is important, so I wanted to share my story about going unpublished for the first time since 2012.
There were quite a few factors.
1. I got really sick last year.
Like really, really sick. I danced on the line of homebound more days than not, and to be perfectly honest, I’m still going through treatments with specialists to get better. That’s all I really want to say about that topic, but I’m hopeful that my health will continue to get better and return soon.
Despite being more or less homebound, I was working three part-time jobs from home. Two to pay regular bills and another one to pay off medical bills. Trying to keep up with all of that while trying to get better was too stressful to handle most days. Basically, being sick wasn’t something I could predict on my busy calendar. Scheduling time to write was an impossible, if not laughable, idea at the time.
Sometimes life gets in the way of your responsibilities, let alone dreams, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the dream.
I still wrote when I could, even though my writing time was dwindled down to a miniscule amount, and I tried not to be too hard on myself when I stared at the number of words (or lack thereof) I was completing any given week.
I am happy that I still managed to finish one novel, a half-novel, and outline a few others. Which brings me to the steps after writing.
2. Choosing Between Opportunities & Taking Risks
About a year ago, I decided I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to write new genres and explore types of publication I haven’t considered before, and so I did.
I only had so much time to write, so I had to take chances on what I wanted to invest my time in. This often meant choosing between an opportunity that was 99% likely to work out that I felt comfortable in or an opportunity that was 10% likely to work out but I truly, truly wanted. I decided to go for it and tackle the opportunities that scared the hell out of me, the ones that I knew were less likely to work out than not, but also the opportunities that would challenge me and push me to push myself to learn new and exciting skills. In the end, those investments didn’t end with a publishing deal, but they did end with new lessons learned. At least I tried. And I have four great books sitting on my laptop that might one day see the light of day.
I am proud that I submitted a lot. I am excited that I tried new things. I am trying.
Nothing is going to stop me from trying again this year, or next year, or the year after that.
But there is disappointment.
3. So How Does One Cope?
One thing I try to stress to new writers is that publishing has many, many ups and downs. You’ll have years where everything seems to fall into your lap and years where you feel like you’re falling off every mountain you’ve climbed. (Okay. So my metaphors are awful in this piece, but you get it.) Just because one door opens up for you doesn’t mean that all the doors after that will open in unison. It doesn’t even guarantee that the doors you’ve already opened will stay open. Writing a great book doesn’t guarantee an agent. Getting an agent doesn’t guarantee a book deal. A book deal doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get another book published. And so on. Writing is a business, and you have to keep working every day. There is no finish line, but you can keep running. (All right, I’ll stop with the metaphors.)
Basically, coping is important. Staying energized is important. Focusing on the positive but understanding the negative is also important.
Try to remember you are a person, not a writing machine.
Despite all this…
I can’t help but feel like I’m letting down my readers, but I also hope my readers understand that I am trying my hardest to follow the right path, and finding my footing on this new path might take a long time.
Heck, I might not even be on the right path, but I won’t know until I try.
Is it scary? Absolutely. Could it be a massive mistake? Sure it could. But what is art without risk? What is pursuing your dreams without exploring possibilities?
I have no clue when or if I will be published again, but I still love writing, and I am determined to share my words with world again one day. I hope that if you’re struggling with what I’m struggling with that you know you’re not alone and we can share our disappointments/frustrations/confusion just as much as we share our successes. No one’s path is paved in publishing. Every journey is different, but we can at least celebrate that fact.
So let’s keep writing,
18 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Have a Publication Coming Out This Year”
If you really think those stories you couldn’t get published are good, then maybe it’s time to step into the self-publishing world. I know several authors who make a living doing that. I’m sure you’ve got fans who would love to read anything you write, especially if you’re passionate about it. It would be better than going completely unpublished this year.
I appreciate your advice! While I love many self-published authors, self-publishing isn’t for me. It’s not fun going unpublished, but I have faith that readers will be there in the future when I find my footing. Thank you for reading and commenting!
writers are also human beings, and readers do get that. if you don’t publish this year, at least this post will let them know that you didn’t give up and in the future there are more books coming.
I hope so! Thank you for reading and commenting.
I had no idea about your health struggle. I’m so glad you are well enough now to hint at it, and even more grateful you were still willing to offer assistance to other authors during that period. You are amazing.
❤ Thank you, Allie. That means a lot to me. I appreciate your kind words. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Sorry about the health problems. They come as a surprise and definitely mess up the schedule. Another of those examples how we plan and the gods laugh at us.
So true! Definitely was not in my plans. But hey, that’s life. Thank you for reading and commenting!
So nice to read that I’m not the only one. My first five years as an “official” author, I wrote and released a book each year, then that six year came and went, then another. I stopped winning my NaNo badges, and my draft folders piled up with unfinished work. I finally released my sixth book after working on it for two years. One thing that did stop me was after the initial rush of excitement, I started to focus on quality and man does that slow you down; I began to apply all the lessons I’d learned through the mistakes I’d made on the first five, the feedback I got from readers and my fellow authors (thank you!). Oh, and let’s not talk about discovering what it really takes to market your work as an indie author…whew!
Thank you though for this post and for sharing your behind the scenes goings on. Again, finding out that I’m not the “only one” and reading how you work through it is very helpful.
I’m so glad this article helped you! I like to share and talk about these author hurdles, because we definitely don’t open up about struggles enough. Like how you brought up what it takes to market as an indie. So true! Thank you for sharing your story. It helped me as well. 🙂
We really do have to give ourselves permission to be human!
So true! Thank you for reading and commenting.
I am a bit of a lurker but have followed you for quite some time. Thank you for your brave post. It was refreshing to read such heart-felt honesty maturely articulated especially in light of how desperate our chosen sub-culture’s undertone can be. What I appreciated most, however, was your obvious desire to pass on encouragement to those in the writing community who might need it–even while you yourself are ‘in the thick of it.’ If you will allow me, I’d like to offer you my heart felt hopes for a satisfying and speedy conclusion to your present troubles and to encourage you by saying your priorities are spot-on, and your heart’s eye is steady and true. Courage, dear sister.
With prayer and regard,
Thank you so much for reading (and lurking) and commenting! I truly appreciate your insight and encouragement. It means a lot to me!
I am a bit of a lurker but have followed you for quite some time. Thank you for your brave and encouraging post. It was refreshing to read such heart-felt honesty maturely articulated especially in light of how desperate our chosen sub-culture’s undertone can be. What I appreciated most, however, was your obvious desire to pass on encouragement to those in the writing community who might need it–even while you yourself are ‘in the thick of it.’ If you will allow me, I’d like to offer you my heart felt hopes for a satisfying and speedy conclusion to your present troubles and to encourage you by saying your priorities are spot-on, and your heart’s eye is steady and true. Courage, sister.
With prayer and regard,
Thank YOU for reading and commenting (and lurking). I appreciate your encouragement, and I’m glad you enjoyed the piece.
Shannon you are always an inspiration and what you have achieved this last year, despite your difficulties, is no less inspiring. I join others in thanking you for your honesty and your commitment to encouraging writers like me who struggle at the best of times to be a quarter as productive as you. Very best wishes and thanks, Penny
Your kind words mean a lot to me. ❤ Thank you for reading and commenting.