I WROTE A BOOK

I stumbled across VE Schwab’s blog today and noticed she’d been writing about writing for 10 years. I fell into a deep black hole of reading every single blog post, stalking her journey from completing the manuscript to finding an agent to getting a book deal to where she is now. It’s:

A) Inspiring.
B) A flipping good idea.

I wondered why I don’t talk about writing. It can be a very lonely, time-consuming, isolated, you-don’t-understand-unless-you-do-it, kind of thing. But she met authors through blogging about writing; and I want to put myself out there, too, and say…

HELLO. I am a writer. And if you’re a writer, I’d love to chat. More writer friends, please and thank you. We can start a little group or you can just read these posts in silence and come forward when you’re ready, too.

But this is where I am:

In 2015, I started my current novel (and only my first completed novel – unless you count my 12-year-old self writing a long scrambled piece about a terrorist attack survivor honouring her dead parents by jumping off Niagara Falls and surivingyeah, let’s not talk about that). I finished it around last year before starting the second, third… and then fourth, draft. It’s called:

I Am Hostage.

I’m pretty proud of that title if I do say so myself. I think it came to me in one of those moments where you’re falling asleep but your mind is still searching through the archives of everything you wrote that day, and then I came up with a piece of dialogue in which my MC refers to herself as a ‘hostage’ and voila – I had the title of my book.

I don’t like to talk about what my book is about. I really, really hate it. I’ve told people in “real life” and they stand there, bat their eyelids at me and say 1 of 3 things:

  1. Oh.
  2. Wow – how did you come up with that? (I. DON’T. KNOW.)
  3. I would read that. Are you going to be the next JK Rowling?

And I’m not criticising these responses. They’re fine. But I would love if people were a little more interested, whether that was in a good or a bad way. For example:

A) That sounds unique/interesting/fun. Tell me more!
B) That sounds boring/confusing/weird. How are you going to carry out that plot?

And then, hey, we can talk about, and I won’t feel like you’re viewing me as this wishful thinking wanna-be novelist.

But – I will talk about it one day, in a post, on here, when I have the courage.

However, those who have read it have really, really loved it. Despite them all being members of family and therefore, at least a little bit unintentionally biased – I know my parents are honest creatures (let’s not deny it) and I do trust their opinion and feedback. (My dad’s feedback consumed almost 6 months of my life as I tried to navigate how to rewrite so much of the book.)

Anyway, now I’m here. With a finished manuscript, as good as it can get (I think) without professional eyeballs on it and so, I’m going to submit it.

*SCREAMS*

I have chosen 104 agents whom I might send my manuscript to.

Yes, 104. 

I’ve chosen my “long-list” (you might say) of those 104, and my “short-list”. I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ve read a ton of books about it; I’ve watched a ton of YouTube videos; I’ve stalked my favourite agents; I’m going to memorise their submission guidelines and obsess over every word before I hit send.

And then, I guess… I’m just going to see what happens.

I feel a million butterflies just thinking about it and I won’t lie – I fantasise every day about getting that email that might request my full manuscript, which might lead to a phone call saying, ‘We’d love to represent you!’ which would lead to a publishing deal which would read to people reading my words.

It’s a dream but I don’t think it’s that crazy.

After all, it’s what I love to do the most in this world.

So thanks for reading this stream of words and hi, hello, welcome to this journey, I’d love for you to stay & chat.

Find me on Instagram at @bethsbookshelf and we can talk there and maybe exchange details! 🎉

7 Comments

  1. paulineburelweb

    Hey! I wrote a book too! I wrote it last year during NaNoWriMo and finished the first draft on the last day of 2017. I also hate to talk about what it’s about, for the same reasons as you. And also because, I don’t know. I’m very bad at summing plots up -like I’m positively unable to talk about a movie in a way that people will get why I’m excited about it- so I feel like when I talk about my novel’s plot, people will think it is bad because I tell it bad. Just read it, you’ll see, it’s worth the journey, I humbly think. I am also very proud of its title! Five people have read it so far, only two of them being members of my family, and one of them being a professional reader in the French publishing system. They all liked or loved it. And yet I am terrified of what comes next. I am currently rewriting a good bunch of it, following what reviews people gave me which I think made sense, and then I’m going to submit it too. In France we don’t really work through literary agents, I really don’t know why… manuscripts go, most of times, directly to publishers, and 99% of them are rejected. And yet my dream lives on! And I love this dream and will keep being faithful to it. Thank you for this post and for all your Instagram posts about writing! I love following fellow writers. The journey is a lonely one and it’s great to find other people on parallel lonely paths. x

    Like

    1. beth mccallum

      Congratulations on finishing your book! That was super speedy 😀 I am the SAME WAY. Summarising something is so hard. That’s why I hated writing my synopsis haha. I’m curious how you got a professional reader to look at your book? That’s great that you have been so willing to take criticism on board 🙂 I love your positivity & wish you the best of luck with the querying process in France. Feel free to message me any time for a rant/chat 🙂 Beth xo

      Like

      1. Pauline

        You are so nice! As for the professional reader, I got extremely lucky and Internet is a gem: it is one my blog’s reader and when she found out I was struggling with my manuscript, she offered me some help. Her feedback was so precious, because now I can think “hey, if a professional thinks it’s worth it, I shouldn’t throw it in the bin”. It’s a relief because editing is so darn hard! I can’t even fathom how you managed to go through 5 rounds of editing without wanting to a) throw up b) set your computer on fire. It’s very hard for me because it’s the first time I actually *have* to edit what I wrote, before that I would mostly jot down everything I had in mind and publish the small texts resulting in this bad stream of consciousness on an obscure blog nobody read.

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      2. beth mccallum

        Aw thank you! 🙈 That’s so amazing that someone helped you out your MS! That really is so encouraging. I actually really love editing my novel but round 5 is a bit dramatic haha, I just want to move onto a new project! I guess going to university and studying Creative Writing really helped. The art of writing is in rewriting 🙂

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  2. solaire

    This blogpost Is just great and here I am a fellow writer that was declined from so many publishers for now, that I can only wish you all the best luck!
    I had all these butterflies and now I feel only resignation, but don’t want to give up – so many getting more contacts with other writers will help 🙂
    So hello, I am Ariana (solaire_writing on Instagram) and I am a writer.

    Like

    1. beth mccallum

      Hi ariana! I’m so glad to have met you through this post & bookstagram. I have messaged you now 🙂 YOU CAN DO IT! Keep going. Every successful author has been where you are right now. If you need anything, we can try and discuss stuff – even though my knowledge is so minimal right now.

      Liked by 1 person

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