No one feels good about rejection.
Sometimes the reasons for the 'thanks but no thanks' can be irritating in the extreme. (See here.)
But it's not always that simple.
My agent has forwarded a letter from a publisher that has induced paradoxical feelings of upliftment and encouragement coupled with a heartbreaking reality check.
'As a committed South Londoner I particularly enjoyed the early sections of the book - Alper does this part of the world very well indeed. I also enjoyed the wackiness of it all; it was utterly different to anything else I've read recently. The dialogue is really lively and the characters feel utterly real - particularly Sky of course.
However I'm afraid that, commercially speaking, I thought it would be very difficult to relaunch Alper successfully after the two Orion books, and with such a determinedly (and charmingly) off-the-wall novel as this. So I'm afraid I have to pass - really sorry, as I did think this had a spark about it.'
I'm fully aware of the realities of the current state of publishing and have posted about it before (see here) so this only confirmed what I already knew.
In yesterday's Independent, Christina Patterson writes:
'Traditionally, there have been two models for being a writer. The first is one of daily assignations with the muse after a hard day at work. The second is abject poverty. There is a third, of course. In this model, you get garlanded with praise, showered with awards, feted, flattered and filthy rich ... about as common, I'm afraid, as a politician's apology or a lunar eclipse.'
So there we have it. There is no middle way where you make enough from writing to feed, clothe and house your family.
I've tried. I wrote 3.5 books as a manic example of the first model. Then last July (just as the final instalment of my two book advance came in) I took a year's sabbatical. At the end of the year, having finished Me, John and a Bomb, and set up my website and blogs, I decided not to go back to work. (I posted re that decision here.)
I've never regretted it for one moment. I have been able to devote myself wholeheartedly to writing and all the associated activities. I have been writing Depth Charge, have appeared at reading groups (see here and here), attended a book launch in Cardiff, organised a successful literary event, was part of a competition judging panel and, of course, have developed this blog, making many unforeseen wonderful friends along the way and publicising my novels. I've also been able to organise and attend the writers' group midweek 'coffee caucus'.
I've also been available to parent my children in the way I consider ideal. I've gone on every school trip and helped with every homework assignment. I've had no problems fitting in weekly visits to see my dad.
But the figures don't add up. G is a highly qualified swimming teacher and is working hard but his hourly rate is crap. We do a few photography jobs but can't rely on these to put food on the table. My income from writing currently runs into 3 figures - per annum - from public lending and copying rights.
So the harsh reality is that I'm going to have to look for a job. I can't see any way round it. I'll try to find something that fits in around the school hours. It would be good if it was local, so I don't have to spend hours travelling. It would be wonderful if it was related in some way to writing.
I'll try to find the positive in this because that's my way. I'll look at the extra money and be grateful I won't have to think about every penny we spend or be reduced to checking under the settee cushions for lost coins. I'll focus on the good aspects of being out there in Real Life. I'll remember that time is elastic. The more you have, the less you achieve in my experience. Whereas when you're really pressured it's amazing how much you fit in.
But don't ask me to pretend it's my choice or that I feel good about it ...