It’s a pleasure to welcome to the blog, author John Marrs with a guest post. John’s third book, a psychological thriller – ‘A Thousand Small Explosions‘ has recently been released and is available to download on Amazon.
The refusal of an idea, a proposal or an emotion personal to you, is never a pleasant thing. Whether it’s rejection from a loved one, in a job application or while attempting to make an apology, it’s both frustrating and disheartening. And when you’re a writer, when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a piece of work you truly believe in, to be rejected by the industry you’re trying to crack can be a real kick on the teeth.
I completed my debut novel, The Wronged Sons, four years ago. For the first six months, I sought representation from agents in the hope of gaining an audience wider than my friends, family and my dog.
Online research revealed that each agent had their own preferred way of working – some just required a letter of introduction, others wanted my first three chapters, and some requested just a lengthy synopsis. Then after adhering to their rules came the difficult part – the waiting. Slowly, over the next three or four months, the replies in the stamped addressed envelopes I’d sent them trickled through my letterbox. Some consisted of just a few words scrawled on my own covering letter, the majority were standard rejection photocopies wishing me all the best for the future and a handful were personalised letters explaining why my novel wasn’t suitable for them.
All in all, of the 80 letters I sent out, I heard back from 70 and all were rejections. When you are told by that number of experts in that number of ways that it’s a firm ‘no,’ even the toughest hopeful scribes amongst us can’t help but feel a little demoralised.
So for the next twelve months, The Wronged Sons remained in a little blue folder in the top right hand corner of my computer’s desktop. Then one afternoon, I decided that I had nothing to lose by putting it on Amazon’s self-publishing service. I’d let the people decide if what I’d written was worth downloading and reading.
It was always going to be an uphill struggle and I wont bore you with the details of what an unknown needs to do to promote their work. But my hope was to encourage 100 strangers to purchase it, which they eventually did, and that levitated it into various sales charts thus making the book more visible to others.
I’d tinker with prices, categories, websites to advertise it etc and then readers would sometimes get in touch via Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads to tell me how much they’d enjoyed it. Sales really received a boost when I was approached by Tracy Fenton, a housewife, mum, company director and obsessive reader who recommended it to her followers and friends on Facebook’s THE Book Club. The power of social media and good word-of-mouth astounded me.
Three years later, The Wronged Sons has shifted close to 30,000 downloads world-wide and is still a constant seller. Its success gave me the confidence to write a second book, Welcome To Wherever You and now my third, A Thousand Small Explosions, has just been released.
I kept every rejection letter I received and I read through them recently to remind myself of how dampened my spirits became. I’d never have the audacity to tell an agent or publisher how to do their job because they are the experts in their field. But sometimes – and the numbers are fast increasing – novels can slip through the net and a find a life of their own outside traditional publishing.
So to every new indie writer out there, I offer one piece of advice – don’t allow rejection to destroy your dreams. If your story is solid and commercial enough and if you are prepared to work hard enough to promote it, then it will find its audience. And those 70 rejection letters won’t feel quite as demoralising as they once did.
About the book:
One simple mouth swab is all it takes.
One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.
Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets.
And some are more shocking, heartbreaking and deadlier than others.
About the author:
John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines. He has written for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine. His debut novel The Wronged Sons, was released in 2013 and in May 2015, he released his second book, Welcome To Wherever You Are.
In July 2016 came his third novel A Thousand Small Explosions.