Writing Update, June 2017

I just want to get my novels OUT there.

bulletNovels completed

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha’s 5 year project. My goal was to finish writing a novel and to get it published. Since then, I’ve written and published a number of non-fiction pieces, and I’ve actually completed two novels:

  1. The Reluctant Scribe: a historical novel set in the Tang Dynasty, 6th century, China, following the fortunes of a young boy who dreams of becoming a warrior.
  2. The Orbital Contract: a YA sci-fi novel, set in a futuristic world and full of spaceships and danger.

No agent has taken a serious interest in The Reluctant Scribe, but I do have had an agent considering The Orbital Contract.


The problem is this: I’m not a young person anymore. Time isn’t on my side.

And I’m very impatient with the whole process of traditional publishing.

It’s soul destroying to wait around for first an agent, and then a publisher, to show an interest. I’m fed up with researching agents, writing query letters, rewriting synopsis, and agonising over every submission.

Yes. I’m fed up.

I’m keen to get both books launched. I want to have control over the publishing process, to keep the books available in print for as long as I wish, at a price I decide, with a cover I like, and in whatever format I choose.  None of these decisions are mine to make if I go via a traditional publisher.

This isn’t the first post I’ve written on this topic, nor is it the first time I’ve talked about going the self publishing route. It’s worked well for my non-fiction. So, perhaps I need to stop dithering and get on with it.

bulletNovels in progress

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about the following stories, which keep playing and playing in my head:

  • A sequel to The Orbital Contract, following the same main character as she sets out on a new mission. I’ve already written the first 1,000 words or so, and fleshed out a rough plot.
  • A sequel to The Reluctant Scribe, where my hero struggles to make his way in the Imperial Court of Empress Wu Zetian.
  • Revisiting an early YA book I wrote, which features a protagonist with OCD. I’ve learnt the craft of writing since I finished the first draft of this story, and think I could turn it into something much better.
  • Revising a soppy romance novel – one I began but couldn’t finish, because I decided romance just wasn’t for me. It would make a good horror story instead!

bulletNon-fiction work published

I’ve just issued my book, Walking the English Coast: A Beginner’s Guide, as a series of four eBooks. My aim was to make the book more financially attractive, and to allow people to purchase only those sections they’re interested in.

They’re all now up and running on Amazon. I’ve quite a collection there now.  Visit my Author’s Page.

Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.

12 thoughts on “Writing Update, June 2017”

  1. Congratulations on your walking ebooks! I understand your thoughts on the traditional publishing route. I went self-publishing right away. I’m dithering over trying out queries, but I don’t have a project ready yet. I’m just hoping to have one ready by the end of summer.
    Congrats on all of the hard work you’ve done and all you’ve accomplished!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that “traditional” isn’t actually for everyone. Yes, they have a stronger marketing base (which they limit how much they share of), and will sometimes pay for (or, honestly, take from your earnings) services like editing and proofreading. They also have cover designers, but rarely let an author have input there. So yes, while it’s right for some people, I’m not sure it’s the “keys to the kingdom” that it once was. You have to know yourself, your own goals. If what you want is to publish, then do it. If what you want is to say that a certain named-house published for you, that’s a different goal. I’ve decided I’m going to self-publish because I wrote an urban fantasy story that, even though it IS that genre, doesn’t have the usual elements. Publishing houses and agents weren’t ready or able to try something different, but I am. And you make an excellent point about time and control. Bravo for making a decission.

    A first fictional publication would count as a debut book, btw. And you happen to know someone (me) who conducts debut author interviews for the OA blog. Just saying. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember my father talking disparagingly about “vanity publishing”. But times have changed. Now I’m wondering if the supposed validation of an agent, and then the validation of a publishing house, isn’t a prime example of vanity! (If you see what I mean!)
      When I get my first novel up and published, I’ll remind you about that interview… 😉 Thank you.


  3. It’s a tricky decision to make. But like J pointed out, trad publishing no longer is the keys to the kingdom. Sometimes, I consider going back to querying, but when I think about it logically, I do believe that at least for now, self publishing is the best route for me.

    It might be worth considering for you too, especially since it’s looking like you also have a long pipeline of stories waiting to be written and published. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely think self-pubbing is the way to go. I know there’s a whole lot of content out there, but if we spend enough time honing our novels and making them the best they can be (with help from beta readers of course!) then I think self-publishing them is the best idea. At least then they are out there!


  5. Before taking the self pubbing route with your fiction, maybe you need to sit and really figure out what’s stopping you. It’s not learning how to do it, because you’re successfully self pubbing your non fiction. But something’s stopping you. Take the time to figure out what.


  6. If self-pubbing is the route for you, then do it, Ruth. Yup, the cons of traditional publishing are not hidden to me – but right now I don’t mind waiting out the querying process, or the process of agents pitching to editors. I don’t have the $$$ to independently publish – nor the drive tbh, but maybe someday.

    Like Angeline suggested, consider sitting down and figuring out how you’d go about promoting your stories, and what you would need (i.e. covers, editing, etc.). You don’t need the validation of an agent or traditional pub credits to your name to brand yourself and make money out of this career. All you need is drive, a business plan and lots of passion, patience and persistence! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marna and thank you for your helpful suggestions. I need to make some time to plan it out, but I’m already looking for a structural/developmental editor. That’s the first stage.


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