WomenEd Blogs

2021: How have I been 10%Braver?

2021-10braver-jill-berry-1
By Dr Jill Berry @jillberry102

After I contributed a chapter to the first #WomenEd book in 2019, we were asked to film a short video of ourselves holding the book, wearing the 10% Braver tee-shirt and explaining how we had been brave and what we might do if we were braver still. I said I'd been brave when I completed my doctorate and wrote a book about it: Making the Leap – Moving from Deputy to Head. If I were even braver I would write a novel. This was a pledge I repeated at the end of the fifth #WomenEd conference when we met face to face in Sheffield in October 2019.

I started my first novel, 'The Dresser', in the final months of 2019, and finished it early in the pandemic. I enjoyed the process of writing so much, that later in 2020 I started a second novel, '#OneWord'. And in the summer of 2021 I finished my third, 'The Button Box'. I've loved the process of writing fiction, a very different challenge from the educational writing I've done. But the bravery came in my decision this year to try to find a publisher so that what I've written might reach a wider audience.

In April 2021 I met a local publisher, who read the two books I'd finished, and was very encouraging and complementary about them. But she suggested I needed a bigger publisher. When I investigated this I found such publishers are currently inundated, and not accepting unsolicited submissions. I needed to find an agent. Between May and November I sent out, in batches, 50 emails to potential agents – and have had no success at all! I've received either rejections, or stony silence. It's been hard. Although I counsel educators all the time about coping with rejection, I've never been on the receiving end of so much - and it can feel quite personal.When writing fiction you put a good deal of yourself into it, I think, and putting yourself out there makes you feel vulnerable.

However, I won't be defeated! In 2022 I am going to be 10%braver again and self-publish these three short novels on one e-volume. I have a designer and a copy-editor, and will use my networks to promote my writing.I just want more people to read (I hope!), enjoy (ideally...) and share the books.

It will take courage! Wish me luck.

Jill Berry

December 2021

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Comments 4

Guest
Guest - Shirley Drummond on Monday, 20 December 2021 22:04

Jill, congratulations! I am so looking to reading your work in book form and wish you well in the publishing process. Here’s to a fabulous 2022! X

Jill, congratulations! I am so looking to reading your work in book form and wish you well in the publishing process. Here’s to a fabulous 2022! X
Guest
Guest - Dr Jill Berry on Tuesday, 21 December 2021 10:13

Shirley - thank you! I do feel supported, & hope people will be interested in reading what I've written and perhaps sharing it with others. Each of the three novels is short, so I think they may be particularly suitable for Book Club reading and discussion. We'll see!

Shirley - thank you! I do feel supported, & hope people will be interested in reading what I've written and perhaps sharing it with others. Each of the three novels is short, so I think they may be particularly suitable for Book Club reading and discussion. We'll see!
Guest
Guest - Jess Gosling (website) on Thursday, 23 December 2021 01:17

Best of luck! I self~published myself and although it's not the easiest route, it gives you control of everything which I liked. I loved that the cover was exactly my design as well as the formatting. I'm sure you can do it! Amazon is a very easy first place to launch from.

Best of luck! I self~published myself and although it's not the easiest route, it gives you control of everything which I liked. I loved that the cover was exactly my design as well as the formatting. I'm sure you can do it! Amazon is a very easy first place to launch from.
Guest
Guest - Dr Jill Berry on Wednesday, 29 December 2021 17:25

Many thanks, Jess! I agree with you about the feeling of control. It did occur to me to wonder how I would feel if an agent and/or a publisher asked me to change the books, or to promote the books, in ways I was unhappy with. I now know that won't happen!

Many thanks, Jess! I agree with you about the feeling of control. It did occur to me to wonder how I would feel if an agent and/or a publisher asked me to change the books, or to promote the books, in ways I was unhappy with. I now know that won't happen!
Guest
Sunday, 29 May 2022

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