It happened people. It took me a long time and a tonne of edits, but it finally happened. I completed Seas of Vengeance and have officially submitted to a small selection of publishers and agents.
When something takes as long as this has you often find yourself wondering if the day will ever actually arrive. I always knew it would; that doesn’t mean I didn’t highly doubt it at some stages. I also know that the hard work is a long way from over. If anything, it’s only just beginning. I’m going to need to impress publishers with my submissions, and these are just the smaller publishers. To get even a slight whiff of a chance with a bigger one I’ll need to find an agent who’s taken by my work and thinks there’s something of enough substance to bother representing.
On the whole, I’m happy with Vengeance. I’d have to be to have reached this point. It’s much shorter than the original manuscript—just over 200,000 words as opposed to 325,000—and reads infinitely better. The grammar is vastly improved too. I actually managed to read it without messing (much!) and definitely think it’s a decent read. It’s perhaps not ground-breaking in any way and maybe not the most cleverly written story you’ll ever read, but the characters are strong, the plot is clear and easy to understand, and there’s enough action throughout to keep any reader intrigued to see it through to its conclusion—and hopefully beyond!
To say I feel proud on the accomplishment of starting a novel, seeing it through to its conclusion, and submitting it to publishers and agents is an understatement. I’m certainly not resting on my laurels though. I’ll be going over the notes and synopses of the succeeding stories of the series and looking for ways in which they can be improved.
I’ve already made inroads where that’s concerned having recently read a very interesting biography of Woodes Rogers, the legendary pirate hunter and former governor of The Bahamas, who was originally pencilled in to be the main antagonist of the final three stories. Chronologically, this wouldn’t work. To be honest, as the series is a work of fiction with elements of fact, it perhaps wouldn’t matter much if Rogers remained the antagonist. The problem is that, having learned more about the man, I don’t want him to be the antagonist. He was actually a pretty heroic person. I’m not sure my conscience could handle making him look like the bad guy.
In that regard, I’m leaning more towards keeping things fictional and creating an antagonist to fill Rogers’ shoes, although I will likely still feature Rogers such was his influence in the West Indies at that time. He deserves a little recognition.
There is the obvious potential issue that I have to face up to: what if I’m unsuccessful? What if I don’t manage to land any kind of publishing deal and agents aren’t prepared to represent me? There needs to be a backup and, as authors, there is always that one route we can head down: the self-publishing path.
I’m prepared to traverse this path if all else fails. My only issue with it is cost. I’ll need to hire an editor and a cover illustrator at the absolute minimum. They won’t be inexpensive. Then there’s the printing outlay if I decide to get the story published in print as well as an eBook. This represents a great gamble if I’m shoehorned in the self-publishing direction. I could end up pouring thousands into the venture and the story completely flop. I’m then left with a load of debt and a book nobody gives a damn about.
I have to consider these negative thoughts because they’re a very real possibility. The fact is that people might not like Vengeance. The world is littered with aspiring authors who tried and failed. I have to be steeled against the fact that I could be another one of those people. It isn’t negative thinking so much as protecting my sanity in the event that the worst should happen.
The one thing I can say with total conviction is that I won’t give up the dream until one of two things happen: I get published or I die. I intend to write for the remainder of my life and I intend to be a published writer. That aim shall be actively pursued and I shan’t stop irrespective of age or life events. The latter often gets in the way; it never stops me for long. I’m a writer. I’m a novelist. The fact I haven’t yet been published makes it no less a fact. I’m just waiting for the fact to be confirmed.
If you return to take a look at my Living the Dream post from last year, after I finished the third edit of Vengeance (Revenge as it was then known), you’ll find a lot of details about the story there. In essence, those details haven’t changed. It is, as it’s always been, a story about a young Navy recruit whose life gets irreversibly altered and a grand adventure begins. He encounters a variety of people, some of them non-fictional folk of the time, and explores a part of the world he’s never seen before. Although nautical in design, the story isn’t a minefield of technical jargon and should be easy enough for everyone to follow. There is frequent use of Spanish and French throughout, though these are limited to simple phrases and aren’t difficult to get the gist of.
This story was written to be read by the many. I didn’t write it so it could sit on my laptop and hard drive for rest of my days. I want it to be seen. I want people to be taken away on William Hart’s voyage and live it the way I have in my imagination. It will see the light of day regardless of how many rejections, how much harsh critique, and how little fanfare it receives. The dream shall be made reality.
(On the day of writing this, I received my first rejection from an agent. All I’ll say is this: your loss!)
Catch up with all previous additions to this series by clicking here.