Edge author Katie Dale discusses the year past and the year to come.
It’s that time again. A brand new year – time to reflect on the year that’s just passed, and make well-intentioned resolutions for the year ahead. It’s been a fantastic year for The Edge, as reported in Dave’s blog, and a huge year for me, as my dream of becoming a published author finally came true. Without a doubt, it’s completely changed my life. It’s an incredible thrill – and still slightly surreal! – to see my books in bookshops, to sign copies, to do author events at festivals and schools – even as far afield as Moscow!
And it’s also been a huge learning curve. Trying to promote my first novel whilst writing my second to a deadline has been, I confess, a challenge. With SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE I was able to take my time – to write and change and edit it to my heart’s content, never knowing if it would go anywhere, just writing it as a labour of love, thrilling over every success on the route to publication – being chosen as a winner of the UNDISCOVERED VOICES competition, being signed by a wonderful agent, and finally achieving that glorious yet elusive book deal. Even better, I was absolutely over the moon to get a TWO-book deal - but I have to admit that with the wonderful security and reassurance that my second novel would be published, came the pressure and stress of writing a novel in a year. Having spent over seven years writing my first book, this proved quite a shock to the system, and I have consequently become a hermit for most of 2012, desperately trying to meet my deadlines, and trying my hardest to write the best book possible in a (comparatively) short time, whilst trying not to neglect my family and friends too much at the same time - a juggling act that I am yet to master.
Of course, I know how incredibly lucky I am to face just such challenges.
For who knows what 2013 will hold? Having (finally!) completed my two-book contract, I am currently effectively unemployed. Will I be offered another book deal? Or will this be the sum total of my writing career? I hope not, but being an author isn’t the most reliable of occupations, and with the current economic situation and so much changing in the world of books, nothing is certain. Careers rise and fall dramatically and often very subjectively (who’d have predicted the success of Fifty Shades of Grey?), and any kind of success requires more than a little luck. There are plenty of gifted, skilled, hard-working writers out there who have not yet been published, and every published author is reliant on getting the next contract.
Who knows if this will be my last year as a published author, or the year Reese Witherspoon decides to make a movie out of my book? Who knows what will be this year's next big trend or theme or genre, or 2013's runaway bestseller? Who knows if this will be the year you'll win a competition, get an agent, get a book deal?
No one knows. Que sera sera.
All any of us can do is write for the love of writing itself, and try to create the best stories we can. And that, above all else – eat less chocolate, exercise more, be better at keeping in touch with friends, leave the flat more than once a week – is my new year’s resolution, whatever 2013 may hold.