I have been writing all my life, but professionally, it all began last year with the Stary Writing YA & Teen writing competition and debuted with the’ Good girl, Bad boy’ novel. I wrote the novel to gain experience since I am a beginner in the professional writing world and I did not expect to win, but surprisingly, I found myself on the list of writers who had received $100 for exceeding the 150, 000 word count. This incident gave me the courage to keep on writing even after the competition. I was so excited that I went on to write four more novels of which there were signed with STARY WRITING bringing my total works with the online platform and one with Goodnovel. Nonetheless, the excitement did not last because I later got to realise just how frustrating, exhausting and stressful it is to write.
Therefore today I am going to share with you some of the setbacks that I have experienced in my writing journey of which I am pretty sure some other writers, if not the majority have passed through.
#1 Writer’s block
Writer’s block is simply a state where a write runs out of ideas when writing their book or any literary work they are drafting. This is something a writer cannot avoid. Sometimes is comes when you are out of inspiration and motivation, and other times, it is because your brain is too tired to function. At this point, I usually put my tools down and relax for a bit in view of settling my mind and body.
#2 rejection from a publisher
So far, I am counting six rejections. The first novel to be rejected was ‘Holding on to you, which you can read on @dreame.com and give me your views. (No harsh words please). I was accepted after a second attempt.
The second book to be rejected was heirdom whichis a sequel of ‘The secret Contender’. You can also read it on dreame.com.
The last two are Like Flowers in Fall and The Oracle and the Jade Stone which were rejected twice. Despite have a good number of views and followers. I tried to change the title of like flowers in fall, the strategy worked with the readers and not the editors.
To be frank, I was frustrated, worried and hurt in all these rejections. in my mind, I am like, ” I worked so hard in this; through sleepless nights, starvation and isolation. I am sure I did a good job but why is it not enough to get me a contract?” The good part about it is that these rejections come with notes which simply constitute a message that your work isn’t something readers can be attracted to or something asking you to improve your plot, your prologue or anything else.
Nonetheless, rejection is rejection and it is painful. However,each time I fall such a situation, I always try to think of renowned authors who have been rejected more than six times and that is where I tap my energy to continue writing.
#3 Shaky or lack of readership
One disadvantage of online book readership that I have noted in this one and five months of web writing and online publishing is it’s selectiveness when it come to book genres. It is agreeable that each person is different and thus prefers different reading material, nonetheless there is an exaggerated love for fantasy and romance in online publishing. The first book I have ever written is about attaining freedom from the past. I wrote it when I had just graduated from highschool and I feel I am better off writing such books but with demand for romance, it is hard to get such books to be read. I have since kept that book in the hope of getting it traditionally and self published in the future. My second attempt to defy readership preference was when I wrote my trafficked love, a novel centered on human trafficking. Although I altered parts of it to assimilate a romantic air in it, it has not accumuleted royalties on Goodnovel since it’s debut. The editor’s reply was that readers do not love trafficking genres even though the platform welcomes all book categories.
It saddens me to think that readers would not be interested in such matter like women and child trafficking especially since the boxes are highly prevalent globally. Every single day, mothers lose children, children loses mother’s to the human trafficking industry to go and become sex workers, child soldiers and rebels members; and yet no one wants to read about it – sad.
My point is a reader should b open to all categories of literature. This is important in the process of gaining wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the many ideologies, phenomenona and concepts of the world as well as the general world view of life. It is sad that most readers want pleasure, escapism and entertainment in literature rather than knowledge.
in such kind of situations, authors and writers are faced with the challenging of either writing to advocate for a change in the bad they see in the world or write to impress readers, gain paid and enjoy living in a morally disoriented world, tragic, right?
#4 Fear and Uncertainty
When writing is your only source of income in a developing country or a country where Arts are not appreciated like Zambia, you are bound to stress. Nonetheless, this fact is a nuisance for all writers because you will have fear of rejection, fear of having no readers and the fear of spending money on traditional publishing when you are uncertain if you will be able to have a return of investment and profits.
In Zambia, traditional publishing is quiet expensive. However, what is more stressful is marketing and getting people to buy your work- whew.
It is true what they say, Africans are not a reading community.
#5 Publishing costs
The process of book publishing is a lengthy one and can take up a whole lot of your time and money. Big ups if you hav funders, donors or investors. Nonetheless, these people or companies do not come so easily to fund your work. They also have to know whether your work is worthy investing in or whether it will yield profits for them. That is why, writers who have made a name for themselves are more likely to gain the trust of investors than a a beginner. Alternatively, writers choose to self publish,but when begining, it is hard to raise funds to publish a book. Although many people prefer to self publish, the stress involved is physical, psychology and financial,and one is not careful it can lead to a whol lot of negative events and effects.
The worst scenario is spending a huge fortune to publish a book which writers will not even buy – so tragic.
The above challenges are not meant to scare writers and stop them from writing, rather they are meant to encourage us to challenge the normal and work hard until we achieve the change we want to see and for the better. Therefore, I hope you can learn one or two things from my write-up and find ways to go around them.
There are so many setbacks a writer can encounter but these are directly from my journal of experience. Do you have some more writer’s setbacks which you would love to share? Please comment below and let us hear how you overcame as a writer. Remember sharing is caring!!
Have a lovely day!!