It’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was an eleven-year-old bagpipe-playing, ginger Highland nipper. Unfortunately the gulf between desiring something and actually getting it can be vast, and it wasn’t until late 2010 – seven years on – that I realised there was more to being published than having fifty half-finished and ill-conceived stories clogging up my laptop’s memory.
Enter Operation Sunrise. A melodramatic, catch-all slogan for my 2011 New Year’s resolutions, Op Sunrise laid out a game plan for breaking into the big bad world of publishing. The problem Op Sunrise sought to address was that old writing Catch 22 – it’s easier to attract agents by having previous publishing experience and good sales figures, but in order to achieve said experience and sales figures, you really need an agent.
To break this cycle I decided to try and build a “writer’s CV” of small-time publications and works I could show off in future agent queries. Op Sunrise set a goal of thirteen short stories to be completed and accepted by publishers. Why thirteen? Because with thirteen I could state I was the author of “over a dozen” pieces of fiction in agent queries.
Two and a half years later I have six short stories in publication, two due to be released this year, one novel in serialised format, and three more shorts which are currently being reworked after their
inevitable initial rejections.
I’ve not quite hit that goal of thirteen, but I feel that Op Sunrise has done its job. I now have a modest litany of success to point back to, and reasonable experience of the world of small presses to boot.
The question is, now that my short story adventures are at an end, what next? Over the past few years it has been easy to forget that all this work was being done with an eye towards the larger goal – that of full, commercial novel publication. Its somewhat surreal to realise that the time has now come for said hardcore novelling. Début or destruction.
This summer is therefore dedicated to two things. The first is obviously “finish that novel.” That novel could be any of the four in various stages of construction, though the obvious favourites are the two which have made it as far as their second drafts (which also happen to be the two most recent works). The second equally important summer goal is to carry on building up a writing platform. This will be the subject of a future post, but suffice to say that an online presence is a prerequisite for the modern author, and its reach generally correlates with how much quality content said platform puts out. Because of this, I’m sworn to write one blog post for every two novel chapters I complete.
So I’d better get on with the next two chapters.