Publishing a novel: The struggle is real

It’s been a big year for Pittsburghers–and friends of the Haven–publishing first novels. There was Sarah Shotland’s beautiful Junkette, Jacob Bacharach’s The Bend of the World, and the much acclaimed Tomorrow and Tomorrow, a sci-fi success story for local writer Thomas Sweterlitsch, just to name a few.

This month marks the release of Eighty Days of Sunlight, the debut novel for local writer and professor Robert Yune. Robert was this particular Havenite’s teacher and thesis advisor during my studies at Chatham. When I was his student, I could always count on Robert to give me the straight-up truth about my writing, to tell me where it wasn’t working (workshop parlance for “this sucks”) and through his guidance I identified and duly slaughtered a large portion of my darlings. My writing is indefinably better for it.

So it’s pretty fitting that three years post-graduation, he’s still saying exactly what I need to hear in his article on Thought Catalog, “How I Published My First Novel Against All Odds.” It chronicles the ten-year journey Yune took from starting his novel to finally seeing it in print. It is simultaneously disheartening and inspiring–disheartening if you’re hoping this novel thing’s going to be easy, and inspiring if you’re mid-struggle and just need to know someone else has made it through. Also it features this great description of the struggle to find an agent:

It felt like the scene in The Dark Knight Rises where Bane cripples Batman. Except my fight lasted for three years, with no end in sight.

I had two choices: I could either feel sorry for myself, or I could write another book. So, I felt sorry for myself. Then, I started writing a second novel.

Robert Yune’s book launch for Eighty Days of Sunlight is tomorrow (Saturday, June 12), 7PM, at East End Book Exchange in Pittsburgh, and the book is also available for sale on the internets.


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