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The Trouble with Getting Published

Thirty years ago, when I first came to Prague to ‘write and live in Europe,’ I made a serious error of judgement. I had access to a 50-year-old motorcycle, a Jawa two-cycle twin and decided to ride it over the Austrian Alps down into Italy to see a friend. In itself, that wasn’t the bad judgement part, although the ride certainly had its moments.

The error certainly wasn’t to write about it, nor was sending ‘Vintage on Vintage’ off to American motorcyclist. They loved it (not yet the error). They sent me $500 for publication (still not the error).

I thought that was the way writing was going to work for me—I would write something worthwhile and someone would pop out of the woodwork to pay me for it.

That was the serious error in judgement

I don’t know how that experience resonates for you, but I kept writing and sending stuff off and I can’t even remember the next time a check came in the mail. The words “Don’t give up your day job” kept me constant company.

I wrote a novel, titled EVOKE, and it was damned good writing, according to those whose opinion I trusted (never friends, you can’t trust a friend not to encourage). I sent the obligatory three chapters and a synopsis off to 78 agents and watched the ‘well written but not for us’ and ‘the genre doesn’t fit our audience’ notes pile up.

Just how does one keep writing in the face of that?

For me, the simple answer is that I enjoy honing the craft and am very well pleased with the quality of my writing. I understand that sounds boastful.

But I think writers need to feel boastful about their talent, while keeping it very much to themselves.

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