From The Guardian:
My debut novel Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase was published in 2014. It did OK. The novel has respectable sales figures for a debut, it did particularly well in foreign rights and has been translated into 14 languages. Two of my foreign deals were for six-figure sums. In the UK, it was reviewed in the Times and the Daily Mail and in several women’s magazines. I assumed I would be a shoo-in for that “difficult second novel”.
But my (very difficult, as it turned out) second novel was turned down flat. Cue the disbelief, followed by the tears, then the ranting and raving, the why, why, why? And that was just my husband.
The obvious reason for its rejection is that it simply wasn’t good enough. Once I’d accepted this, I reworked much of it, changed the title, changed the plot. I still believed in my story. But what I really needed was a trusted editor to help me, someone to be patient, to give me some clues, some ideas and suggestions to help turn that early attempt into a publishable second novel. That’s exactly what had happened with my debut, and I’d naively thought it would happen again.
I can’t deny getting dumped was an eye-opening experience. One minute I was a celebrated and successful debut novelist; the next I was hurled unceremoniously onto the ever-growing scrapheap of authors who are neither big names nor debuts. It’s a lonely place to be because, a bit like the menopause, nobody really talks about it.
Hope springs eternal and my novel was sent out again after re-working. A well- respected independent publisher showed interest, invited me to its London offices and told me how much the editors had enjoyed it. All very positive and encouraging. Then a week later, minds had changed.
I was beyond frustrated. I felt like giving up. I tried to work on a third novel. But the disillusionment that lingered over me for weeks eventually gave way to something else: I had an idea, a terrifying and elating one. Could I self-publish my second novel?
. . . .
I don’t know if this is all just vanity, to be honest. Probably it is. Isn’t seeking publication always an act of vanity? But self-publishing has come into its own, and these days publication is publication, whoever pays for it.
Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Meryl for the tip.