Response Type: Full MS request. Offer to resubmit.
In my last post, I said that I had just sent out my first submission in a long, long time.
Then, about a hour later, I heard back.
The agent was actually recommend to me by Martine Bailey, who I met at a book signing here in York. I think that mentioning this recommendation in the opening of my submission email probably encouraged the agent to come back to me to request my full manuscript(!!!).
After hopping around the flat in a complete frazzle for several minutes, I dutifully emailed back my MS (thankfully newly polished after a recent re-edit), then proceeded to stare madly at my empty inbox for a whole month.
When the response did come it was not The Legendary Call, but an email including a heart sinking "I'm afraid...". But she also wrote that, "We both really liked your writing, and your ideas..." and finished with, "I'd be happy to look at it again if you reworked it, or to look at whatever you might write in the future."
Oh goodness gracious and oh my, but that is good to hear!
It is, by far and away, the best response I've had to date. It still isn't an acceptance and the disappointment of being unsuccessful was all the worse for having handed over my whole manuscript, but the excitement of having an agent be really, truly interested in my writing is incredible. I discussed some ideas briefly with her and thanked her for her time, and her offer to come back.
It would be easy to be defensive and to argue that, just because one person thinks my book should change doesn't mean everyone would. But I honestly do understand her perspective and (more importantly) want Grey Sister to be as good as it possibly can be.
So, I'll try to improve my novel. And I will resubmit. And maybe next time, she'll Call...
So, it's been a long time. Months, in fact. Almost half a year, possibly... Sorry!
As you might remember, I got a new job. and as expected, it has taken over just a smidge. Other priorities have been sidelined during the transition, including, though I had hoped it wouldn't, writing.
Don't get me wrong, I have still been writing everyday and I have still been editing. But I've not sent out any submissions since I started and that has put something of a dampener on my blog posting.
To be perfectly honest, part of me was a little knocked back by the rejections. It's always going to be hard to hear 'No' over and over and not be at least a little affected by it. One thing I began to worry about was how well edited the opening of 'Grey Sister' was. Which then made me question the editing of the whole book. Which lead to me re-printing and re-editing the whole book all over again. Which, lets be honest, was a bit of a procrastination exercise...
Nevertheless, I do think rereading 'Grey Sister' was a good idea. There have been some changes to the opening, primarily in the sequencing of the opening scenes. I've also corrected some continuity errors that I've known for a long time were a problem (one character in particular originally had a large introduction, which was lost in the initial editing process. In the end, she wound up with almost no background at all, despite her being a major part of Thea's story. Poor Vilette.)
I feel better for having taking the time to go back through the book from start to finish. Even though only the opening chapters are likely to be seen any time soon, knowing that I'm happier with the flow of the whole book gives me some confidence to start sending it out again.
Which I've finally done! My first submission since September 2014 (Urgh, the embarrassment! The disgust! The disappointment!) went out today. The agent I submitted to was actually recommended to me by Martine Bailey, author of 'An Appetite for Violets' and 'The Penny Heart', who I was lucky enough to meet at her book signing in York. Martine was kind enough to talk to me for a good quarter of an hour while I grilled her on creative writing and the Big Bad World of Publishing and even gave me the details of an agent she thought could help. I left with such a big smile on my face. Even if the agent isn't interested in my work, getting the chance to talk to a published author is so inspiring and such a pleasure.
So, now I'm officially Back on The Horse, I'm hopefully going to be sending out submissions much more frequently. Keep swimming, and all that...
In the meanwhile, I want to start a new project separate from Thea's story. I've missed the planning stages and the excitement of the first draft so much! While I want to keep pressing on with the sequel to 'Grey Sister' (which I will of course be continuing as well), I think it will be good for me to try my hand at a new concept. After all, your first novel isn't always the one that reaches publication.
But for now, here we go again! Anyone else need a pep talk...?
A whole year! Congratulations, Rejection 10, you win the latest response award.
It's been a long (long, LONG) time since I last sent out a submission, so it was a surprise to find this in my post box. Clearly my opening chapters have been sat in one heck of a big slush pile.
Meanwhile, I have been horribly absent since I started my new job in February. As expected, I've been very busy with the transition. I've not stopped writing though, and I'm currently preparing myself for a new round of submissions. I'll hopefully write a post about this soon...
January is finally over! Phew. What a terribly long month it had been.
I somehow managed to completely avoid my December Update (whoops), but this month I have plenty to talk about so I shan't shirk my duties this time.
The BIG NEWS is that (dun dun duuuun), I have a new job!
In a strange twist of fate, after months of applications and interviews and heart-beating frustration, I was approached by an agency looking for a graduate to enter an Insurance Broking firm. Somehow, in spite of never having even thought of such an avenue before, after two interviews, a half-hour written test (word meanings and spot-the-mistake a cake walk, spelling and maths more a treacle skid) and a grilling by the Managing Director, I somehow walked away with a job offer. So from the middle of February I'll be an Accounts Handler in the firm's charities and non-profits department. Mad, mad, mad. I shall be a Monday to Friday office girl! With pencil skirts and deadlines and meetings! How terribly, awfully grown-up.
And rather terrifying. Oh dear.
I keep reminding myself that there was a reason they hired me and that they know what they're going and that I. Will. Be. Fine. But little waves of worry keep washing over me and I have tiny, half hour panics about such a huge career change. It's a very big, very sudden step that a month ago I didn't even imagine making. I want to do well, though and I really hope it will be fine (IT WILL). I'll try my best.
Right, deep breath and Big Girl Pants back on.
Writing wise, I've been pretty productive. My third New Years Resolution, to write every day, has been going well. There is one, little gap in the chain, but in my defence it was the day I got The Job, so I'm letting myself off the hook.
Mostly I've been cracking on with The Sequel, writing little chunks to keep the plot moving. I've also done a few little writing exercises on the days I couldn't get to my previous writing or couldn't think of where to go with the story: describing characters in detail, creating scenery or, today, writing a blog post instead. Lots of little things to keep those writing muscles exercised.
I've also, for what I think is now the eighth time, been reorganising the opening to Grey Sister. I mean really: what is wrong with me?! I just can't leave it alone! Ha ha. I'm wanting to get the new edits finished this week ready for new submissions before I start The New Job.
New Job is going to take up a lot of time in the coming weeks (months, even). My greatest worry is that my writing and my ambitions for Grey Sister will fall by the wayside with all these new pressures. Progress may become very slow, but I desperately hope it won't grind to a complete halt.
I've worked too hard to give up just because the real world gets in my way.