The first of my work I tried to get published through a literary agent was Regression. It was the first novel I’d written, completed, edited, and was satisfied with and confident could get published.
Obviously that didn’t happen.
I’m not bitter but naturally that rejection was difficult. Since then I’ve become used to rejection, to criticism–as a journalist, you quickly develop a thick skin.
After Regression‘s rejection, I stowed it away safely, then I kept writing. I wrote Most Unnatural, then Days of Fury, then Nemesis, followed by Dagon Crumbled, then Effusion, then Stuporheroes.
I sent query letters for some of these to literary agents but never got a word back and I’m still not bitter.
I didn’t decide to publish on Amazon Kindle because I wanted to give a big “fuck you” to the publishing industry.
In truth I wanted to get my work out in the world, kick it out of the nest, see if it would fly.
For years I’d been writing in a vacuum, finishing one novel only to save it and hide it away and start work on another.
I was losing steam, honestly losing track of what I was writing for. My stories are meaningful to me and I hope they can mean something to you–that should be the only reason writers write (it isn’t, undoubtedly).
So I decided to publish on Kindle. Initially I’d been afraid of derision, “What, couldn’t get a real publisher, so you had to self-publish?” I imagined some smarmy literary elitist thinking to him- or herself.
That detracted me for a long time–until I reached the point where I didn’t care anymore. I needed to get my work out there, in the same way as someone who stays indoors for too long needs to go out for sunlight.
So I let my girlfriend read Effusion (the only other person I’d ever let read my fiction was my dad, only Regression) and after getting what I interpreted to be a thumbs-up, I edited it, designed the cover, and uploaded it to Kindle.
I created a Facebook page with my nom de plume and invited all my friends to like it–a terrifying prospect, “Liam Llewellyn? Pretentious asshole.”
I changed my Instagram and my Twitter, bought a website domain and set it up, then started marketing Effusion, which is even more against my core principles–as Bill Hicks says, “If you’re in marketing or advertising, kill yourself.”
But I did it and I’ve gotten through my insecurity, my anxiety, and I don’t regret it. I’ll continue publishing on Kindle. I don’t know if I’ll submit to literary agents again–as I’ve written previously, novellas are most unattractive to publishing houses.
For now what I know is that I feel good, I feel purposeful, I feel excited about my writing again.