Looking Forward / Looking Back

By December 31, 2012Uncategorized

shutterstock_120845974Well it’s that time of year when people tend to get a little nostalgic, look back over the year that has passed, and look forward to the year ahead. I’m no different, and upon glancing in the rearview mirror as 2012 fades from sight, I have to say it was probably my best year on record.

This time last year I was finalising my very first batch of query letters for AURORA:DARWIN. On the 2nd of January 2012, I sent them out into the ether, like a flock of homing pigeons, out to spread my message to the literary agents of the USA (yes, I’ve always dreamt big).  Wanting to crack the US market and believing my novel would have an audience there, I aimed for the stars.  I guess my motto has always been ‘Why not?’ or ‘You’ll never know, unless you give it a go’.

Unfortunately some of those pigeons came back and landed dead at my feet.  Others didn’t return at all.  But this was to be expected.  I’d done my research, and had heard it time and again – new writers had to brace themselves for rejection.  So I took a deep breath and pondered my next move.

After more research and studying my query letter, I realised just how much it sucked.  No wonder those poor little pigeons had been shot down in flames!  So I rolled up the sleeves, re-wrote my query letter, and prepared myself for a second attempt.  I had decided this time, however, to change my tact.  This time I would focus my efforts on Australia, streamline my hunt and approach certain publishers direct.

I sent another flock of pigeons on their way, and waited patiently.  Again, some came back and landed dead at my feet, and some didn’t return at all.  But as I was gearing myself up for a third round, out of the blue, I had my first bite!  Finally, confirmation that I wasn’t insane.  This book was actually liked by people outside of my test readers, and people in the publishing industry no less!

I chose not to proceed with that first bite, but instead went with my second bite in the form of Momentum Books.  I had only recently discovered Momentum before approaching them, but just knew that this would be the right ‘home’ for my book.  Thankfully, they agreed!  Things fell into place, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Throw in a couple of bottles of Moet, and that was my 2012: Working, writing, editing, researching, introducing myself to social media, setting up a website, flying to Sydney to meet my publishers, attending GenreCon 2012, skyping with my editor, and all the while quietly pinching myself.

So what next?  What will 2013 hold in store for me?

A lot more hard work, for one.

In a matter of mere months my book is scheduled for release.  Before then I must work my butt off to make it as good as I possibly can.  I’m currently undergoing the structural edit as we speak, then it will be time for the second phase – the copy edit.  Naturally my excitement about the book’s release, is equally paired with a good dose of nerves.  This first book is so important for a number of reasons, but most obviously:

1)      There are already expectations for this book amongst family, friends and colleagues (did I mention a surprise snippet on my book’s release was published in my company’s global e-newsletter to all staff?).  Therefore, I want to be proud of what I deliver.

2)     I want to reaffirm to the good folk at Momentum, that they made the right decision in giving me this opportunity and showing faith in my abilities.

3)     Quite bluntly, if the first book sucks, no one will want to buy a second.  Did I mention this is a series?

My whole life, I’ve never been able to plan more than six months ahead, and normally that is just when my next holiday will be.  I guess the same goes for 2013 and my novel.  The next few months will be spent working on producing the best book I am able to, and trying to get my name out there.  And that’s the hard part – more and more books are being published each year, and there’s only so many books people can read.  So how do you stand out in a crowd and make people want to read your book?  I guess I’m about to try and find out.

The latter six months of the year, I can only hope that I manage to fit in a holiday somewhere – it’s been a while.    🙂

shutterstock_61883572But more importantly, I hope that AURORA:DARWIN will find a place in the heart of its readers, and build a fan base that will give rise to the second book…… and the third….. and the fourth…..  You get the picture.  🙂

So tonight I shall raise a glass of champagne, and I will toast the year that was 2012, and make a wish that 2013 will be just as kind, if not kinder.

One can only hope.

Happy New Year everyone!



About Amanda Bridgeman

Amanda Bridgeman is a Tin Duck Award winner and an Aurealis and Ditmar Awards finalist. She studied film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University (BA Communication Studies) and has been published by Angry Robot and Pan Macmillan (Momentum Books).

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