So I finished the “re-write” of my novel earlier this week and found myself on the crest of a wave of excitement and anticipation. It wasn’t bad. Not bad at all. Feedback from the few who have received advance copies has been good and my wife who, believe me, would tell me in no uncertain terms if it was crap, has given it a big thumbs up.
I’m ready, I thought.
For the next step.
Acquiring an agent.
I did an initial search on-line. And straightaway found the wave dropping away from me like the start of a tsunami and disappearing down the nearest drain.
Without exception their web sites are cold, clinical, unwelcoming places full of corporate speak and self advertising. Finding one single link to the submissions page is a labour of Hercules. They keep that particular doorway well hidden. Almost as if they don’t really want people to find it.
Plus finding an agent who (a) is accepting unsolicited work and (b) taking work of the genre that best fits what I have written is another labour entirely. I managed to bookmark a few but they have another list of hoops for the potential author to leap through. Everything must be just so or they won’t even look at your work.
One even demanded a CV.
A CV?! This is my first novel! Aside from a bit of poetry and a short story I’ve not been published before!
I tried the old trick of picking a few successful authors and searching for their agents. What a waste of time that was. J.K. Rowling’s agent is not taking any new work at the moment. They’re inundated. Possibly because of the success of J.K. Will Self’s agent had a very cold pop-up window which virtually said thank you but no thank you if we haven’t already heard of you. Other writers who decorate the spines on my bookshelf are either American or Japanese. I’ve nothing against acquiring an overseas agent but they do tend to take a higher percentage of any earnings – 20% and above. Rather steep.
The end result of all this wall-banging was that it totally shrivelled up by burgeoning little author’s ego and sapped me of all confidence. It made me lose my bottle and I went back to checking my emails instead.
I’ve come back round since then. Karen has bought me a couple of advice books for writers and the Writer’s Yearbook is always a hardy reference manual on my bookshelf. I shall read the relevant sections, gird my loins and pitch myself into the Rejection Game once more. I’d got hardened to it when I was writing poetry. I daresay I shall harden up again.
Bottle is all well and good. But bulletproof glass is the thing required...