Was rather sent reeling by a rejection by the last publisher I'd sent my poetry chapbook, Salt and Gold, to yesterday. I don't know why - I'd fully expected to be rejected, as my poetry collections always are. So I don't know why I was so horribly upset but I was. God knows why I even bother thinking of commercial publication for my poetry anyway. I mean they only sell out when I'm paying the money raised to charity, as in my first collection, Tidal. My second collection, A Stranger's Table, sold the grand total of eleven copies and the rest I gave away to friends as presents. One writing friend (so really there's no excuse and I'd never dream of doing this, ever ...) even said she'd buy a copy and give me the money later, and then after a couple of days she returned it, saying she'd read it, had thoroughly enjoyed the collection but she'd finished with it now and didn't need to pay. Lordy, no wonder I actually have very little confidence, no matter how much I walk the walk. As it were. But really, I should have learnt my lesson from all that. I think what I'll do from now on is simply self-publish my poetry collections online, and then people can ignore them or read them as they fancy. Without me having to put myself through the mill like this. It's not pleasant, believe me.
All this trying to find a way through the poetry minefield has reminded me that I started writing fiction in 2000, and said then that I'd give it ten years of trying to find a commercial publisher before having a very big rethink of the attempt at a writing vocation I've been trying to follow. Well, it's 2010 next year, and maybe I have to start preparing myself to tackle that rethink. Not that I haven't found a commercial publisher - I have. Three times. Four if you count the eBooks. But none of my previous publication "successes" have actually been at all successful. By any measure. Yes, several people do enjoy what I produce - and I'm hugely grateful to them for that. But I've never made any money from A Dangerous Man at all, Maloney's Law is selling very poorly and a couple of key gay reviewers have really disliked it which I don't think has helped, and the eBooks of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice and Thorn in the Flesh are also selling poorly. Or, more truthfully, not selling at all.
I do have the upcoming release of The Bones of Summer in June, but I'm trying not to be too hopeful about it as previous experience tells me that - for whatever reason, and to be honest I don't know what that reason is - I'm not as popular a writer as other gay fiction authors, and I simply can't keep up with their sales or readership levels. Meanwhile, there continues to be no news on the sale or otherwise of The Gifting. For that book, I plan to send it out one more time only over the summer, to a small publisher. If that fails, for my own sanity (not to mention Lord H's), I need to draw a line under it, self-publish it, if only for my own sense of completion, and then move on. As and when that scenario occurs, I also believe it to be time to part company from my agent - I simply can't take the agonised half-hope that by default having an agent brings, alongside the terrible sense of gloom when reality sets in.
With all that in mind, last night I went through my list of favourite websites and blogs of successful writers I keep on my system and deleted those who I don't think are doing or will do me any good, or who are making me feel even more despairing about the writing life (through, I hasten to add, no fault of their own) than I need to be. So if anyone out there discovers they've lost a blog follower, I apologise in advance if it's me, wish you all good luck in your career but I suspect you don't need the support as much as I need the space.
Anyway. Enough. To today. I had a lovely lie-in and didn't get up till 8.30am. Which is an extra two hours snoozing, hurrah. I then added some more words to that key battle scene in Hallsfoot's Battle, which brings me to the higher echelons of 116,000 words. I have a rough idea as to how the rest of the scene will go until the final victory arrives, but I'll take it slowly and see how it pans out. Oh, and here's this morning's meditation:
What is lost
can a second time
can be recut
and vanished words
All through everything
you have done
or failed to do –
the tears at night
and the dim courage
God has never
ceased to listen.
Which somehow, bearing in mind the day's thoughts, probably makes sense. Of some kind or other. This afternoon, I popped up to the hospital as the neighbour isn't too good at the moment and had another chat with Gisela who was also there. Poor Henry though - I have a feeling he was rather overwhelmed by the amount of chat and general noise G and I can produce, but hell that's Surrey Gals for you, eh! I also took the opportunity to visit Tesco's next door to the hospital on the way out and bought lasagne and garlic bread and birdseed. Well, you have to keep those essentials in stock always, you know. It's astonishing I didn't buy chocolate really, but in my defence we do seem to have vast quantities of chocolate in the flat right now.
Tonight, I'm hoping to get round to watching my video of Boy Meets Girl, then there's Ashes to Ashes and I absolutely must video Compulsion, the bonkbuster sex-fest with Ray Winstone that's on the other side. Lordy I can't miss that. I would say it's because it's an update of that wonderful Jacobean tragedy, The Changeling, which is so utterly my period, dahlings. But that would be lying - hell, it's got sex in it. What more could you want??
Today's nice things:
1. Taking steps to alleviate pain
2. A lie in
3. Writing Hallsfoot
Race for Life - supporting Cancer Research