A Novel Journey

I’m celebrating a momentous occasion today – I’ve completed the final edits of my novel, The Butterfly Storm, and have sent it off to my proof reader for checking. The writing and editing process is finished, fini, finito… or more appropriately, as The Butterfly Storm is partly set in Greece, τελεìωσα.

This day has been a long time coming. I first had the idea for The Butterfly Storm back in the summer of 2004, and I started writing the novel during the first semester of my MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University (BSU). That’s nine long years to reach the point of finally saying it’s finished and on the verge of publication.

I did actually finish The Butterfly Storm within two years of graduating from BSU, although it was very different to the novel I’ve just emailed off for proof reading. After thorough editing, and over a period of 12 months between 2007 and 2008, I sent the first three chapters and a synopsis to around 25 agents and five of them requested to read the whole novel – cue fanfare and much excitement from me. That was further than I dreamed of getting, yet despite very encouraging replies, not one of the five agents was willing to take a risk on me and my novel. The general consensus was that they weren’t confident enough of The Butterfly Storm making money.

Disappointment aside I was encouraged by the positivity of the rejections and so approached four independent publishers with the opening chapters. Three standard rejection letters followed before a glimmer of hope emerged when the fourth publisher requested to read the whole manuscript. Anyone who has sent their work to an agent or publisher will know the wait for feedback seems to go on for ever and is utter agony. For me I had to wait months before I received a lovely long email outlining what was good about the novel and what could be worked on, rewritten or removed. The email ended with the promise of another read of my novel if I made the changes. And make the changes I did because, quite frankly, they made a lot of sense and deep down they were changes I knew the novel needed, it’s just sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes to make you see it yourself – it’s also hugely helpful when that fresh pair of eyes happens to belong to an editor and publisher… I rewrote The Butterfly Storm, emailed it off, and then waited even longer only to receive a heartbreaking email eight months later stating that the publisher had taken the difficult decision not to publish anything further for at least a year.

Disappointment really kicked in then and I put The Butterfly Storm aside and didn’t even look at it for over a year before dusting it off (figuratively speaking) 18 months ago. So, yes, it is a momentous thing to finally finish it considering the journey it’s been on. It took me a while to come round to the idea of self-publishing but the publishing world is changing and its putting the power into the hands of authors and that’s an exciting prospect. It’s also inspiring to see the success self-published authors such as Joanne Phillips, K L Schwengel and Susan Buchanan – to name just a few – are having. So, after nine long years I’m just weeks away from finally seeing The Butterfly Storm published and that’s a pretty good feeling.

How about you? How has your journey to publication been? If you’re still working on your novel have you decided to self-publish rather than approach agents?

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4 Comments

  1. That’s wonderful news Kate. I’m so pleased for you and I wish you every success with your promotion of ‘The Butterfly Storm’. I’ll definitely read it! :) As for me, well I began writing my novel ‘The Inheritance’ at the beginning of last year, and finished writing it at the end of the year.

    I hope to publish it soon – I think I shared with you my husband’s design for the cover which I’m really pleased with. I just want to have friends’ feedback on it first before I publish it on Kindle. (And that’s where you’ve come in – thanks again!!!)

    I feel for myself at the moment that self publishing is more attractive to me than the traditional method. I guess it’s because I can be my own boss and rather than wait until it’s accepted by an agent and then a publishing house, I can get my story out there being read by (hopefully lots of) people. That way I get more feedback on it more quickly. I know there’re pros and cons with self publishing v traditional publishing, but right now I’m keen to self publish.

    • Thanks Elaine! It’s interesting you say about getting your novel out there and getting feedback quicker going down the self-publishing route rather than via an agent/publisher and from my experience (nine years of writing, editing, rewriting, sending to agents, publishers and then waiting, waiting, waiting…) it is a far more satisfying option.

      I can’t wait to see both our books on Kindle! x

  2. Wow wow wow! Thanks for sharing your journey, when I started taking my writing seriously a few years ago I thought it would be a fairly quick and straightforward process. *shakes head at own naivety* – I’m so pleased for you – and can’t wait to read it when you publish!

    • Thanks so much, Raewyn. It’s a hard old slog this writing lark – I think I have taken a particularly long time to get to this point though! Hopefully all the time and effort will be worth it for both of us in the end. Plus I love it.

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