Exploding gingers, guaranteed publication and a good problem to have… apparently

If you’re not currently aware, much of the UK is experiencing something that the media are calling a ‘heatwave’ but is actually the season of summer: it’s just that it’s been so long since we’ve had a summer (2005 if memory serves me correctly) that we all think this is some out-of-the-ordinary phenomenon and are going collectively bat shit about it.

I came across the post on Facebook yesterday which made me chuckle so I thought I’d share it:

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As I’m both ginger and a goth and liable to either explode or leave the country, I thought I’d better update my blog before either one befalls me.

So what’s been happening besides the football?

A ‘dialogue only’ story I submitted to Writing Magazine was shortlisted in last month’s issue, and whilst it’s not a win it’s still a positive and something new to add to the writing CV. I got a mention in the Smoking Pen Press newsletter regarding their upcoming romance anthology ‘A Kiss and a Promise’, which will feature my paranormal romance Made To Be Broken. I’ve still got a story with Writing Mag for their speculative fiction comp, haven’t heard from them re: a win or a runner-up so have to wait and check the mag when it comes out to see if I made the shortlist again. WM is a tough market with a lot of competition so I’m always pleased to place anywhere with them.

Which brings me to the subject of guaranteed publication.

Last year, one of my stories was accepted for an anthology that shall remain nameless (but it won’t be hard to find out which one it is if you try – I was hardly impressed with the quality of the final product). I noticed at the time that many of the authors included in that book had work in the previous year’s anthology. And many in the one before that, and the one before that, and on the publisher’s sister website etc. The acceptances for this year’s anthology have recently been sent out to authors who submitted (I didn’t bother for reasons pertaining to quality as mentioned above – I endeavour to maintain a high standard in my output and don’t think it’s wrong of me to expect the same of a publisher representing my work) and surprise, surprise, at least four of their previously published authors (and I expect there are far more) have got stories in this year’s anthology.

So now I sound all sour grapes, boo hiss, but that’s really not the case. I’m pleased for the authors as I met quite a few of them and they’re all lovely people with a brand new story to add to their list of publications. Hurrah!

But how can you test yourself as an author when you know that you’re submitting to a market that, by their own admission (I heard it with my own ears), will publish any story from their previous authors as long as it fits the criteria of the submission call and is written to a ‘decent’ standard?

Oh well. I shall always be grateful they published my story, and will content myself with the fact that said story was previously shortlisted for another competition, so I know it’s not a bad effort and wasn’t just tossed in as ‘filler’.

And so to the problem which I know is a good one to have but is making my brain hurt!

Last time I blogged I advised that my never-ending WIP was complete, bar some minor polishing. Well the polishing isn’t quite done, and now that I’ve come to the point of submitting it to agents, I’ve had to face the issue that’s been lurking at the back of my head for some time like the monster that’s hiding in the shadows but if you don’t look then it’s not really there.

Namely, IT’S A BOOK ABOUT VAMPIRES!

No one wants books about vampires anymore. The current trends in urban fantasy appear to be mages and witches and dragons, and whilst I’m certain that the noble undead will undoubtedly rise from the literary trash heap where Twilight and True Blood dumped them, I’m not sure the publishing world is quite ready for them yet.

So what am I to do? Press on regardless and hope that my twist on the vampire trope is strong enough to grab the attention of an agent? After six years of writing, rewriting and editing the damned thing, the alternative of starting a whole new novel from scratch is almost unthinkable.

And then I just happened to be looking through some files on an old USB stick and came across a novel that I’d written eight years ago. It’s not quite finished as for some unknown reason I gave it up and started on the new one, but having read it through with fresh eyes I’m astounded that it came from my brain as it’s actually not three bad!

So now I have a problem: do I press on with the vampire novel that I’ve just invested the last six years of my life in, or do I write the end to the other one and submit that instead? It’s certainly on trend, with it’s witchy narrator, and whilst it has vampires, they’re not the sole focus of the story. And the best bit of all is that it’s written in the same ‘world’ as the other book, so whichever choice I make, the remaining novel will always be a viable option as an addition to the series.

I know which choice I’m leaning towards but I need to have a think and make sure that my reasons are sound before I start subbing agents. Or maybe I’ll just package both for submission and send them out simultaneously. Either way it’s going to be a busy old summer.

Assuming that I don’t explode in the heat.

)0( Love & Light )0(

X

PS: speaking of vampires and things that explode, check out The Case of Walutahanga, the opening book in the Riley Pope Case Files, free to download from Smashwords

 

 

 

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