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  • Len Joy

How to Write a Novel... in 8 Years, 9 months and 3 days

Updated: Jun 27



Soon after I began getting serious about my writing career, I started a blog, “Do Not Go Gentle…” to chronicle my pursuit of a writing career and my efforts to become a triathlete.

My goals when I started the blog were to get my first novel published and to finish in the top 10 in my age group in the USAT National Championship.


I’m still working on that top 10 goal. My first novel, AMERICAN PAST TIME, was published in April 2014. But back on September 28, 2012, I announced that I was giving up on the novel which at that time was titled AMERICAN JUKEBOX:

When I finished American Jukebox again this spring, I knew it was truly finished. It was as good as I could make it. I’m proud of the work and in my heart I believe it “deserves” to be published. But that’s not my call. I’ve queried one hundred literary agents and also submitted the manuscript to a dozen small independent presses. Agents are overwhelmed with submissions and it’s hard to get noticed. Two agents asked to see my manuscript based on my query letter and one publisher who had looked at the earlier version agreed to reconsider the newest version. But it’s been weeks and I’ve haven’t heard from them and that’s usually a pretty good sign they are not interested. I had planned to self-publish, but I’ve changed my mind. There are a lot of good self-published novels out there (also a lot of not-so-good ones). With Amazon and other programs I could have American Jukebox on the market in a couple of weeks. I like selling and if a publisher had bought my book I would have sold the hell out of it. It would have been fun. But without a seal of approval, I just don’t have the confidence to trump the decisions of the gatekeepers. Hawking my self-published book would take all my time and I need to get back to writing again. Something new. Something better.

Two weeks after I wrote that, I was contacted by Hark! New Era Publishing a small publisher who was interested in my novel. In this video I made for BQB Publishing, who are publishing my new novel, EVERYONE DIES FAMOUS, I talk about the ups and downs of getting that first novel published.



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