That’s just, like, your opinion…

overcoming-writers-block-nonprofit-bloggingLast time, I was drunk on the heady euphoria of completing  a crazy challenge to post every day for a month! Previous to that, I was telling you about my writing process prior to self-publishing a bottom-drawer novel called Black Moon. Now, read on…

Having been hit by the notion of writing a novel back in early 2008, and after a rigorous editing process under the intense scrutiny of literary agent Elinor Cooper, my novel was as ready as it was ever going to be.

Elinor is a good friend and, at the time, was my colleague at A P Watt literary agency (she is now flying high at Diamond Khan & Woods). She was a young book agent with a host of contacts and really believed in my book. She had supported me throughout the writing process with some superb editorial commentary. I felt like a real author! We were a dream team and ready to unleash this undoubted blockbuster on to the publishing scene.

So out it went! Elinor compiled a list of amazing editors at the great publishers in the land and fired Black Moon at their reading piles on May 22nd 2009.

I’m very excited about this book; BLACK MOON is taut, fast-paced, incredibly inventive, but also moving and richly detailed. Thanks, Coop!

For the next few weeks and months, I waited with breath that wasn’t just baited, it was caught and held tight like I was a free diver torpedoing to the bottom of the ocean! Try holding your breath for the time it takes an average publisher to respond to a submission – even metaphorically!

And then the responses – or should I say rejections – rolled in…

The premise is great (of course it is) but that the execution isn’t developed enough…too heavy on introspection but also lacking the emotional depth to make it convincing and involving. Oh dear!

I did enjoy BLACK MOON. Hurrah! You have an urgency in the narrative that makes the action fast-paced and readable and I did begin to care about Cat. Too kind! Having said that, I do have reservations. Here it comes. As it stands at the moment it feels unsatisfactory with nothing resolved and no glimpse at where Cat may go next, leaving the reader unsatisfied and not necessarily wanting more… Drat!

I enjoyed it a lot – you are absolutely right about the pace and action, and the voice is nice too. I have a nice voice! It sounds like the author would be brilliantly promotable. Only if you shoot my good side, of course. However, we’ve seen rather a spate of books with werewolf themes recently BUT IT’S NOT A WEREWOLF BOOK!  combined with the fact that Puffin’s list is very strong on the boys’ side of things already, means that I’m afraid I don’t think it’s something for us. Double drat! 

This book got me, I’ll admit it. Now, this is more like it! I was definitely carried along for the ride by Cat’s witty descriptions of what is happening, but I did find it quite hard at points to identify with Cat. That’s because you’re not a teenage boy with super powers.  The story also felt a little thin without other points of view and voices. Well, it is deliberately written in the first personElinor I did really like Rob’s writing style and think he has great talent. We have something that we are currently trying to acquire that feels a little bit similar to this and so I would feel uncomfortable to take this forward as well. If what we are trying to acquire doesn’t work out, I’ll be in touch but I’m sure you will have sold this by then anyway! Needless to say, she never did get back in touch but it was mighty encouraging all the same. 

This one has certainly sparked a lot of talk! I aim to please. We enjoyed the immediacy of Rob’s writing, and were all completely hooked into the pacy and unexpected developments of the opening chapters. There is no question that the mysterious premise of this book is terribly alluring. With the accent on alluring rather than terribly, I hope. I’m afraid, though, that we have decided not to pursue this. We felt that, after such a strong, dynamic opening the second half became rather unwieldy and overcomplicated. Another one bites the dust!

I struggled with it as it starts off as a very realistic story and then suddenly becomes a sci-fi book. I almost felt disappointed when Cat found out what had happened to him; it’s so unexpected it almost seems farcical. This sounds very negative, I didn’t think it was all bad by any means! The very faintest praise, I guess!

And here are some more that show I was close but no one was offering that elusive cigar…

We did think it was a really interesting and intriguing concept and the writing was pacy but we just didn’t think the writing was quite strong enough to really make this a stand-out title.

I thought it was really well written and atmospheric. However, after some thought, the team felt the conspiracy/mystery element was a little too similar in theme to another book we are publishing next year, so it’s unfortunately not one for our list.

I’m torn on this one. More torn than I thought I’d be when I first started reading it to be honest…I just don’t think there’s quite enough there for a compelling book. I think it has huge potential but needs a lot of work to whip it into shape and I don’t think I’m the editor to do that. 

I admit I’ve been very on the fence about it. I love the set up and the conceit but I’m not sure it’s quite doing enough that’s different. Really sorry, but I don’t think it’s going to be one for us.

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Battered and bruised, Elinor and I discussed making changes to address some of the comments but, to be honest, I had run out of steam. The editing process started to feel like moving furniture. Black Moon is what it is, and we needed to find someone that loved it enough to get right behind it.

None of this means that there won’t be readers out there who’ll dig my shtick. We just failed to find a publisher excited enough to find out. In those dark days of endless rejection, I couldn’t help summoning the spirit of the Dude…

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SO, in an e-publishing industry in which (as of September last year) 60% of e-books sold are self-published, why not have a crack at it?!

It would be rude not to.

Next time, I unveil my book cover and treat you to a blurb. D-Day is upon us, people. Not long now…

Kraitt out!