Self Expression Magazine

My Road to (very Moderate) Success

Posted on the 09 April 2012 by Sofiaessen

Mybook is going to be released this month!
Tamingwild horses is much less difficult than attempting to become a “publishedauthor”. Of course, I only speak from my own experience in both. Horses areeasy to communicate with once you learn their language. I understand them. Theferal beast that is publishing remains an indecipherable enigma to me in manyways.   
Istarted writing when I moved to a small village in Crete three years ago. Ispent my first year on the island writing my novel at a leisurely pace andthoroughly enjoying myself. Then I devoted the following 18 months to queryingliterary agents. They were 18 rather painful months in which I received arejection letter almost every week. After the first dozen or so letters, onewould think one would become immune to the sting of rejection. But eachnegative response was a blow to my ego, more agonizing than the kick of anyhorses hoof. Yes, again I speak from experience in both.  
Themajority of the rebuffs came in standard form rejection letters, impersonal andcoolly professional. A handful of agents offered advice along with theirrefusal to represent me. “Try a Swedish agent,” one suggested. While I’m stilla Swedish citizen, I left the country more than twenty years ago. My book iswritten in English, and I speak better Thai than Swedish. But I queried everySwedish literary agent I could find on the web anyway. None of them wantedanything to do with my novel. “You should contact a local agent,” I was told.As it turns out, literary agents are thin on the ground  here on this island and they, understandably,weren’t interested in representing a Swedish woman who had spent two decades inAsia prior to moving to Crete and writing a novel in English.   Luckily,the beauty of living in Crete kept me sane and distracted me from theever-growing pile of rejection letters. Crete has a way of softening harshrealities with its gentler pace of life and persuasive routines - I’m expectedat my local café for a cup of sweet Nescafé coffee without milk at ten o’clockevery morning whether I’m having a bad day or not. 
Ihad almost given up hope of ever getting my novel published when 48fourteen, asmall e-Publishing company, sent me an e-mail in which they expressed a wish toread my full manuscript. A week later, they sent a contract! I signed thecontract faster than you can say “whiplash”. 
Ofcourse, I would have loved to be signed by a major publishing house. As I waswriting my novel, I had extravagant daydreams of book tours, giving interviews,and maybe talking about “Change of Pace” on Oprah and chatting with Ellen. Ohyes, I had some wonderfully grand delusions. 
I’mold-fashioned at heart, and it would have been amazing to see my book in print,not just downloadable on line.  There’ssomething magical about going into a bookshop and being surrounded by storieson sturdy shelves. I love to walk up and down the aisles, running my fingersalong the book spines as I go. To me, the experience of reading a good book isimproved by turning its pages one at the time, hearing the pages whisperagainst each other, and inhaling the musky scent of ink of paper. My biggestdream is to one day pop into a bookshop and find a book with my name on it. I’dpick it up to feel the weight of it in my hands, sniff it, and finally open itand read the dedication. It would say, “To Mum and Dad with all my love.”  
Untilthat day comes (fingers crossed), I’m satisfied knowing I did my best to writea good story, which people will be able to read and hopefully enjoy.     

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