So yesterday was publication day for my debut novel ‘It Started at Sunset Cottage’ and I’m still too excited for words (actually bad luck I may be able to squeeze a few more out!) It’s a day I still struggle to believe is real because when I started writing my novel I had no plans, and certainly no expectation, of it being published. I have a million people to thank for getting me to this position but a wise and Yoda-like person (they’re old, not green, they do have quite big ears though…) pointed out that the key to all of this was me because I sat down and wrote the novel in the first place. I brushed it off as modestly as I could because I do genuinely believe that there is a great deal to do with luck and timing when it comes to getting published – your manuscript has to land on the right person’s desk at the right time and in an ever-changing world where everyone is looking for the next big thing (but nobody – I repeat NOBODY knows what that is) it takes a great deal of luck for that person to take a risk on you and your story.
However, Yoda does have a point. I come across so many people who either want to write a novel or are trying to write a novel and my response is always ‘You should do it.’ Interestingly I get a lot of responses to this and very few are ‘You’re absolutely right, I will start today!’ What they usually tell me are a big host of reasons why they can’t do it. Sometimes it’s a lack of confidence, in which case I encourage them to finish it all the same and give it to another writer to read. Because what’s the worst that can happen?
They will tell you where you need to focus your attention to improve it, that’s all. If you don’t finish it, nobody will read it and you’ll never know if your lack of confidence was justified or not. Most tell me that they would do it if they had the time. I am happy to confide that I don’t own a Harry Potter Time Turner myself (although if anyone is looking to buy me magical gifts – I would love one of those!) so I have to fit the writing into the same 24 hours as everyone else. The difference is the prioritisations you make in life.
So you’d think the hard bit would be actually writing it but let me tell you it is very scary every time someone tells you that they’ve read it because despite the amount of time, effort and love you have poured into it there will be people who don’t like it. (I have gin at the ready for these times). My only hope is that people stick with the old wise words of ‘If you can’t say anything nice, then please don’t leave a review on Amazon.’
Bella’s first novel, It Started at Sunset Cottage was released on 12th February by Harper Impulse. She was a runner-up for the New Talent Award at the 2013 Festival of Romance and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Every fortnight, Bella will be sharing her experiences and advice as a new author. She also has her own blog – www.bellaosborne.com
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.