I very nearly didn’t bother to write this post. This virtual book tour is probably going to end with me, as I don’t know of anyone else writing a book. None of my readers would even know that I was supposed to write this post in the first place. First of all let me explain about the virtual book tour, my lovely friend, who is currently taking a break from blogging, to write her own book, nominated me as one of the next stops on the tour. The idea being that you talk about who nominated you, answer several questions about your own book and then nominate new writers as the next stop on the tour. I have no one to nominate, as I know no other authors or writers. Except for my sister, who is already a published author and writes as Candy Harper and C. J. Harper, for the young adult genre. She’s already working to several deadlines and I won’t burden her further. So that’s it, this virtual book tour stops here with me; but if you are writing or even thinking about writing a book, please do let me know and I will write an extra post to introduce you.
My main reason for not writing this blog is fear (!) I have finished my book and have spent what seems like several decades (ok three very long months) editing it over and over again. I have sent it to a couple of agents and have heard nothing back, zip, nada, nula, niente, not even a whisper. I know I need to send it to several more, I think twelve is generally thought to be a good number. Then perhaps I should consider publishing as an eBook instead. Unfortunately I am almost paralyzed by fear of rejection; but also a fear of having spent eighteen months of my life writing something that I’m passionate about, devoting a lot of time and effort to it, only to be told that I shouldn’t have bothered. I’m sure that the rejection is put in a nicer way, but even the sweetest rejection letter ever written, is still just that: a big fat rejection.
So in my infinite wisdom I have allowed myself to listen to the devil on my shoulder and just not bother sending it out again, because right now I still have a chance. It might be a million to one chance, but a tiny chance is better than no chance at all. To put it simply, I’m just a big fat scaredy cat who can’t handle rejection. It’s not a bad place to live, not putting myself out there for rejection means I’m a lot happier and sadly it’s probably my biggest personal fault. I’m just not very good at handling criticism. I have enough trouble fighting of periodic bouts of depression and or anxiety and I don’t really know why I suffer from those two things. What I do know is rejection can be avoided, if I simply don’t put myself and my book out there.
Of course It’s a silly way to live your life and that’s why I am forcing myself to write this blog. I have procrastinated long and hard and my friend kindly gave me this opportunity. I would be a fool to waste it. It might not help my book in any way shape or form, I don’t think for one moment, that an agent will magically happen upon my blog and find themselves in desperate need of my chick lit book. I am hoping instead it might be a metaphorical kick up the backside and I will finally send my synopsis to several more agents.
In my last post I wrote about my love for the inimitable Joan Rivers. Part of the reason I loved her was because of her fearlessness. Joan Rivers would absolutely have sent her book out the minute it was finished, with no procrastination whatsoever. No doubt she suffered more than one rejection in her life, but it didn’t stop her and she became a legendary comedienne, author, actress, television presenter and much more. So although my hero passed away last week, I can try and take a little inspiration from her. I shall get off of my rather large posterior and bloody well do something with the book, that I spent so many precious minutes writing. So enough wittering, here are my answers to the questions:
WHAT AM I WORKING ON? As you have probably already gathered my book is finished and although I may have to rewrite it entirely, if no one wants to publish it, for now I am happy with it (!) It was written for the Chick lit genre and in a nut shell, it’s about facing up to your fears and not letting other people, or society in general affect the way you live your life.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN MY GENRE? My protagonist is an overweight girl and that is the biggest difference, from many other books in the chick lit genre. Having spent my entire adult life battling weight problems, I was fed up of the heroines in books being so called perfect size ten girls. New studies show; one in every three teenager is overweight in Britain today. I wanted a book that could relate to a part of the population, that is often marginalized or over looked entirely by the media. I wanted to try and address the feelings of inadequacy and despair, that can arise by being constantly bombarded by societies perception of beauty for women. Or in other words slim is beautiful and fat is ugly.
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO? I have spent many years as an overweight and unhappy woman. I have tortured myself mentally because I didn’t fit in with societies idea of beauty. Some of my teenage years were spent as a wall flower and I was forever comparing myself unfavourably to my skinnier peers. Boys just don’t tend to date bigger girls, particularly in those ‘oh so self conscious’ middle teen aged years. Naturally I was miserable because I was fat and I ate because I was miserable and it became a vicious circle. I preferred to bury my feelings under a mountain of donuts, rather than talk about them, or god forbid express them in any way. I judged myself far too harshly and I hope that my book might help people who are experiencing the same form of self loathing. Because you know what? Big can be beautiful! Please stick two fingers up at society, don’t hate yourself, instead love yourself for who you are. My heroine Daisy becomes a virtual recluse and comfort eats herself through student life, instead of partying and living life to the fullest. Finally she learns to accept herself for who she is and with the help of a new friend, decides to experience life and everything it has to offer. Metaphorically shaking her fat bottom at anyone foolish enough to try and tell her that big is anything other than beautiful.
WHAT IS MY WRITING PROCESS? It’s basically verbal diarrhoea in written form! I just write a minimum of 500 words, five days a week and didn’t ever read back, let alone edit, a single word until I had 106 000 words written. Of course I occasionally succumbed to writers block and sometimes to an acute case of ‘lazyitis.’ On the whole this method worked for me, until it came to editing. I nearly cried several hundred times when I realised that I hadn’t always stayed in the same tense throughout the book, my grammar was appalling and my sentences were longer than the great wall of China! Still, it stopped a lot of my procrastinating and I found it a really productive way to get words on the paper. If I stopped to edit along the way I found that I would write the same first page over and over and never write more than 1000 words. This way even though editing was vile; I was astonished and pleased to have actually written an entire book!
Good luck to any writers reading this and please do get in touch if you would like to join this virtual book tour.