Thursday, 31 July 2014

End of July Update...

It's been a really slow month all things considered.

Until today, I'd received no word from any agents and I still have 3 submissions out that I'm waiting to hear back from. As well as the radio silence from agencies, I've barely done any actual writing. After all the all-out run to get 'Grey Sister' finished, writing a second book feels like crawling and I'm finding it hard to get into a rhythm again. I feel like I've lost all momentum. I'm submitting what I have and waiting for replies, while at the same time trying hard to find a better day job. Writing itself has become a second (third, fourth...) place concern.

As time goes on, even 'Grey Sister' starts to feel a little distant. As if all the work I put into it and all the submissions I've sent have made it fuzzy and far away. I worry that the more time that passes, the more distant it feels and the more chance there is that I might not keep pressing forward.

I still love 'Grey Sister' and the plot of the 'Ellorah' series. I'm still proud of what I've written. And I still want (want want want!) to get it published. I'm not going to give up any time soon. I believe 'Grey Sister' has the potential to reach publication. I'm just not sure what else I should be doing to make that happen.

So much of where I am now is waiting and hoping and willing my work to find its way into the hands of the right person. Combined with my real-world responsibilities and my hunt for a new job, it makes progress feel incredibly slow.

I want to try and write more in the next month, to try and get back into the habit of getting those words out of my head. I just need to keep going...

Rejection #5

Date Submitted: 1st July (/17th July?) 2014

Date Rejected: 31st July 2014

Response Time: 1 month (/2 weeks)

Form for Response: Personally written by agent, no further request.


As the submission dates suggest, this was a pretty unusual submission. 

I initially got in touch with this agent over twitter in order to find out which of their agents would be best suited to receiving my submission (pro tip: ALWAYS identify a single agent in submissions. It shows awareness of the agency and consideration in your submission). They replied quickly, with a nice, friendly response and I duly sent off my submission by snail mail, as requested on their submission page.

Then, on the 17th I received a tweet, not from the agency as a whole, but from the specific agent who'd been pointed out to me to begin with, asking if I'd sent my submission. I told her I had and 'hoped it hadn't gotten lost in the post'. She then told me to send it again via email just in case. So off submission version 1.2 went and she immediately replied to say she'd received it.

The rejection I got today was, while obvious a disappointing one, still the most positive one I've had so far. The agent emailed to say,
"I wanted to like this - and I almost really, really do - [but] it did not grab me by the throat..."
It feels like a step in the right direction to at least get a personally written reply. This agency has a strong background in fantasy, though they're not as grand nor as established as many of the more well known agencies. I wish I could have at least made it as far as a full request. I've asked for some feedback, so maybe that will give me something to work from...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

End of June Update...

Another month and not much more to tell.

Rejections arrive, new submissions are sent and rejections arrive. The cycle repeats itself, on and on we go. Its just the road you have to travel if you're looking to get published. It can't much be helped.

I was watching a documentary recently about the upcoming Monty Python Live Show, when John Cleese (who I love and think is fabulous, by-the-by) made a comment about the modern era not being "a terribly intelligent or terrible creative one" (57 mins in). Which, for anyone in a position like mine, is both pretty insulting and quite misinformed.

From where I sit, our world and our generation is an incredibly inventive one. Even beyond technical advances, everywhere I look I see people making things, thinking new things, trying to bring something new to the world. The internet is full of authors trying to get published and artists trying to find an audience. There is SO much creativity in our era. And that is precisely why it is so hard to make it today; because competition is at a premium.

It feels sometimes like everyone in the world has written a book (or is making music, or acting, or drawing comics, or making jewellery, or designing clothes, or, or or...). But, as my boyfriend keeps reminding me, just because others are, doesn't mean your work means nothing. Creativity has value in itself. Trying to succeed in making a dream come true is never a mistake. Failure happens. But it doesn't define our attempts. We just have to keep trying.