Posted in Writing Life

*Bowing My Head

I am probably going to be silent here for a while. I am terribly sad although thank God my sadness is not over any damage to anyone I love, and I am also, as far as I know, touch wood, and blow away the evil eye, healthy.

But after eight years of work, my novel hasn’t found a home yet. My agent and his team love it and are behind it a 100%. Still. And they will proceed with it again. However, I am, in the meantime, on a tight budget, having devoted those eight years to writing it and to my young kids.

I wonder if I was mistaken to be so faithful to this story and to revise and revise and revise. I wonder if I have lost my touch. I wonder if I should have just moved on. And while I’m wondering and my heart is heavy, I am still trying to make it just a little bit better.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

22 thoughts on “*Bowing My Head

  1. Oh, Lillian.

    I am so sorry. I have been there with books, more than I care to count. I believe, like you, in staying with them until they find a home. I will send you a message in a few days to tell you a story that might uplift, might give you hope. The most surprising things can happen. They really can. And from what and how you write here I can’t imagine that you’ve lost any touch.

    But know that I know just precisely how you feel. And I am sorry you are going through it.

  2. Courage. “Confederacy of Dunces” was almost universally rejected–then became a best-seller. My last book of poetry didn’t. but after years it did find a good home.

    Be faithful to your craft, and by that I mean–believe in it.

  3. No. No, no, no, no. Not you, too. You don’t deserve that. You are a wonderful writer (and one of the few Canadians on my shelf). I would ask to read the book, but I have every confidence I will be buying it some day. It is NOT you, it is the economy, which has destroyed publishing for the time being.

    Now I’m too pissed off to go to sleep.

  4. Beth, Dr. Dawg, Emily–thank you so much for your words of encouragement. You don’t know how much it means to me. I’m going to come back to your comments again tomorrow and re-read them.

  5. Sweetheart, we’re at such different stages on the writing path that it feels presumptuous of me to even commiserate, but please allow me the honour of trying to prop you up – the way you have done for me so many times now – by steering you in the direction of a very wise person’s advice. Yours. Don’t give up, don’t second-guess all these unanswerable things, just keep going. Believe in the importance of what you do,Lilian, trust its inherent, untouchable value – by all means reflect, but don’t despair. You are the caretaker of your gift for writing – and as more and more time passes, I begin to grow sure that honouring that gift is the best any writer can hope to do. All else falls away. Eventually! Please take heart in our unswerving faith in you. Carry on, writer woman. xxx

  6. As I understand it, almost all the greatest writers have been here, for so many reasons – part of the long, heart-wrenching, soul-giving journey of a writer’s life, and not getting any easier of course in the bizarre publishing climate of our times. Many warmest hugs of encouragement and admiration.

  7. Di, Charlotte, Jean and Becca, I really appreciate your good thoughts, good advice and, Di, especially your “presumptuousness.” It is helping to lift my spirits. I am taking all your comments deeply to heart.

  8. I’m so sorry! I’ll be hoping your book finds its place out in the world. I know it will; I just wish you didn’t have to go through such a long process to get it there.

  9. Dear friend, what is happening is by no means personal – the market at the moment is a silly, bewildered place and it is hard to get anything out there unless it has been written by a ‘celebrity’. All it means is that real artists have to hang on in there a little longer. You are a wonderful writer and you have created a beautiful, vibrant book, I have no doubt. And someone will see that and want it. Do not lose heart (though by all means be sad if that is how you feel – must honor our feelings exactly as they are and I would feel exactly the same – will feel it I am sure when it’s my turn to be doing this horrible bit). Keep faith in yourself because it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does – nothing can take the reality of your talent away from you. This is a bad time for writers but the opportunities will come round again and you will be first in line. Big hugs to you.

  10. Lilian, I’m so sorry to hear this. How sad and frustrating, but please do not lose heart. I agree with litlove that the market is really a problem right now and many, many, (too many!) deserving books are not finding homes. I suspect you know this on a rational, intellectual level, but writing is so much more personal and emotional that it is hard to remember. Keep writing, keep revising! Sending you lots of good energy and writerly support from afar!

  11. As a card-carrying depressive, I know how hard it is to go through feelings like these. I also know that they pass. And that when they do, things that seemed hopelessly out of reach can suddenly be very close at hand.

    In my experience, writers who worry that they’ve lost their touch are the last ones it happens to; more often, it’s a sign of growth and new understanding that requires a period of adjustment.

    As everyone here has already said, the market is terrible, and everyone’s too afraid of failure to make business decisions. Don’t lose heart or take it personally. Good work will win out in the end.

    Anyway, it could be worse. You could be living in the United States!

  12. Litlove, Verbivore and Phila, thank you so much for your encouragement and wisdom. I am cutting and pasting comments to where I can see them regularly. Phila, your last sentence made me laugh.

  13. I have nothing to say that’s more profound than what everyone else has already said, but I can offer virtual hugs & virtual cake… and I’ll be waiting here ready to break out the virtual champagne when the industry sees sense 🙂

  14. Everyone else has said it all. I’m a fan after reading, The Singing Fire, purchased before I knew what a blog was, let alone be a blogger myself. I think the cover is what first caught my eye, and then I read the blurb. I have to believe your latest will eventually hit the stands and I’ll be heading for the bookstore.

  15. Lilian, be of good cheer. Your book is going to find a publisher and make its way into the world, and when it does, we will all rush out and buy a copy. I (for one) really want to read it.

  16. Rachel, Grad and Cate thank you so much! Your faith bolsters mine. Beyond my own ego, I think this one is an important book. I hope others see that, and if they don’t, then I’ll put it out myself.

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