Cheer up, Graham!Week 1 of an exciting new picture-periodical!

On the 19th of November 2012, I finished my 150th short story “There is Nothing Now.” Over the course of thirty-one months I wrote 398,295 words, filled 1,603 pages with prose and got absolutely nowhere towards getting to the ultimate goal of getting a book published and my stories into the hands of the reading public.

I have printed off all 150 stories and have left the lump of useless work sit on my dresser. Not long ago, two or three years perhaps, I would have been content just to have written the work. The fact that I had made something new exist would have been enough. That is simply not the case any more. I need the work to be seen, to be read, to be enjoyed and absorbed. I have only myself to blame that this has not happened. I have not been trying hard enough.

I’ve gotten nowhere. I need to get somewhere.

Hence this post, the first in a series where I will hold myself accountable, week in, week out, where I will show the efforts I have made towards getting my work out there. The easy work is done (see picture) Now I have to do the hard work.

My goals:

To find an agent.
To find a publisher.
To get a physical product out by the end of 2013, a chapbook or a little collection.

I recognise that I have a number of problems facing me beyond the usual challenges facing first-time authors.

I cannot describe what I write. It’s no quite horror and it’s not quite not horror. It occupies a no-man’s land between literary pretensions and genre conventions. It’s too much of one, and not enough of the other. I’m struggling to describe the work and I’m the one who wrote the bloody stuff!

I am also a poor ambassador for my work, being at times churlish, defensive and easily intimidated. I have no knowledge of the Irish publishing scene. I have little interest in the work of other writers. I don’t read enough. I shy away from the literary scene in Dublin. By being myself I make it very hard for myself to be published. This is something I need to get better at. I can’t afford to be insular and isolated any more. No-one is going to come looking for me or my work.

So what do I do?

Contact agents. Contact publishers. Enter work in competitions. Send stories to places that will pay for it. Dust myself off from each rejection. Research, research, research. Find out how I can actually get somewhere in this industry. The work is done. Now I need to get it out there. This time next week I will tell you all what steps I’ve taken towards that goal.

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