When I was asked to write some blogs to promote Locked Up, I couldn’t think what to say, so I sent a couple of ideas to the publicist and asked if there was anything else she thought I could cover. One of the ideas that came back was The Journey To Publication.
Now I have deliberately capitalised that, because that’s what it sounds like to me. It’s like an epic line, like “I Am Spartacus!” Like it should be said by that deep throated bloke who does all the film trailers; read the next bit in his voice to see what I mean.
It was a time of worry. It was a time of nerves. Would there be acceptance or rejection? A book or an empty shelf? It was – The Journey To Publication.
Do you hear it now?
Yeah, okay, I am being taking it to extremis, and should dial down the sarcasm seeing as the idea has turned into this blog. Yet the fact remains that it’s one of those things that we’ve all already read about, and probably written about. It felt a little old hat and not something I can bring anything new too. And even as I sit typing this up, I’m still not sure I’m saying anything that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. Except maybe that speech above – am oddly proud of exercising my humour on that – you know what they say about little things pleasing little minds.
What you won’t have heard before is the actual story in Locked Up, that’s far more original, you really should go read that, that’s very engaging.
So here it is, my Journey To Publication. I’ve always written, been receiving rejections since I was a teenager. Largely gave up on myself as a writer because there were more immediate struggles – university, marriage, kids, life – but I never stopped writing.
Finally, the time came when I was ready to properly put myself and my writing out there again. I’d been doing so kind of half-heartedly the whole time, and have the requisite drawer full of rejection slips to prove it, but at last I was ready to really go for it.
Guess what happened…
Just more rejection.
I finished Locked Up and thought, you know, this is really good, this should sell. So I went to Winchester Writers Festival, meet with some agents. Four of them. Had all four ask to see the full manuscript.
Right. Yes – I got my agent.
He told me I’d have to be patient because getting published takes a long time. And I was patient. For two years. Not a dickie bird. Not a hint, nor a whisper, not a whiff of interest. Got some rather nice rejections, but they were still rejections and that’s never nice. At the time the industry was going through some major changes, culling commissioning editors left right and centre, it’s still changing and that is likely to last a while. The agent said that I probably wouldn’t get any luck until those commissioning agents were replaced. The issue for me was that there was no guarantee that they would be replaced and I didn’t want to wait until I was in my fifties to get published.
It was time to take back control.
So I did.
I wrote to my agent, thanked him for his hard work and we politely parted company. I sent my manuscript to Bloodhound Books and got a yes please in a few days. Thank God I was sitting down when I read that email! And I had to re-read a couple of times it to make sure it was saying what it was saying rather than just what I wanted it to say. The point was, within a week of being told that nothing was likely to happen for ages – I had a publishing deal.
(And for once that isn’t sarcasm)
Rejection got replaced with acceptance. The shelf will stop being empty.
The worry and the nerves however, they are very much still here. Yes, I’m getting published, Locked Up came out on September 7th. But now I have to find readers, I have to find all you lovely people out there, strangers I have never met, and persuade you too read my book. I have to hope you’re like it – actually I hope you’ll love it, rave about it to a load of other readers who’ll also love it – and that makes me nervous. If it helps, I do have some great recommendations from other crime writers:
Caro Ramsay, author of the Anderson and Costello series, says:
“Tense and claustrophobic, with a spine chilling denouement!”
Katherine John, author of “By Any Name”, recently made into a stunning Amazon Prime video, says this:
“A brilliant new and authentic voice in crime fiction – GB Williams knows how to tell a story and tell it well.”