August update: the final draft

I am taking part in the 5 Year Project, and my aim is to get a novel written and published.

As regular readers know, I have partly succeeded, because I have written two novels. The first one is historical fiction, set in the Tang Dynasty, China. Sadly the novel remains unpublished. I have been unable to get an agent interested, despite good feedback. Either agents don’t “feel passionate” or it’s “not the type of thing we’re looking for.”

I can’t find any other novels set in the Tang era, apart from fantasies and mythologies, and so I guess it would be a commercial leap to invest in the book.

In the meantime, I’ve written a sci-fi space-adventure novel, for the YA market. It doesn’t have the literary merit of the first novel, but is full of action, excitement, and a considerable amount of violence!

One agent was interested. Very interested. But that was nearly 6 months ago and despite several chasing emails I have heard nothing since. I haven’t sent the novel to any other agent because, to be quite frank, I’ve had enough of writing grovelling letters and waiting months for the rejections to come in.

Last year I wrote and self-published a non-fiction book, ‘Walking the English Coast’. I enjoyed the freedom self-publishing gave me. Of course, I worked with editors and proof-readers, and had a professional cover designer. Now I get a significant pay-back in terms of royalties for every book sold, and I know I can republish, re-edit, re-launch and generally do what I want with the book, because it is MINE.

So, onwards…

A couple of people have read and critiqued the latest draft of my sci-fi book. Both are writers and avid readers, and I trusted them to give honest feedback. Which they have done.

Now it’s time for the final major edit. After that is done, I will need to tidy up grammar and sentence structure, organise proofreading, lay out, cover design, blurb-writing… and then get stuck into the dreaded marketing.

Despite all the work involved in self-publishing, I will have the intense satisfaction of knowing the novel is mine, all mine, and every single aspect of its production was instigated and owned by me.






Author: Ruth Livingstone

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

8 thoughts on “August update: the final draft”

  1. That’s my favorite and most annoying thing about self-publishing. It’s all my responsibility and all under my control. Sometimes I’m left feeling like I don’t know where I’m supposed to focus, but overall, I feel better about the process than I did when I was signed.

    Let me know if I can help with anything. 🙂


  2. I think your novel will be brilliant – this is based on my familiarity with your non-fiction and short fiction. Best wishes in the last stage of editing and revision!


  3. That’s why I self publish too. I love the control, and the satisfaction of knowing I did it all! Best of luck, and, like Misha, if I can help at all, just let me know.


  4. Considering the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, I’m shocked there are agents and publishers looking for such a book.
    If that YA book is actually Middle Grade, the September Pass or Pages at Operation Awesome could be your key to success. (The core audience for middle grade is 8 to 12-year-olds, and young adult is 12 to 18. )

    Bravo to you for taking your book to self-publishing. I’m doing the same. (Some of your reasons, some of my own.) Have you tried Grammarly? It’s excellent for editing. (And you can switch either US or UK English settings.)

    Best of luck with the books!


    1. I’m surprised an agent hasn’t seen the opportunities in publishing a novel based in China, given the current interest in the country and the huge Chinese diaspora. Thanks for the recommendation of Grammarly. Might give it a try.


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