Friday, 29 March 2013
Finding An Agent: The Writer's Holy Grail?
I've been writing for... let's just say a long time. Somewhere on the way I purchased my Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and read that the first and most essential writer's accessory was the Literary Agent. It made sense. Literary Agents had access to publishers, and I did not. So, I prettied up the novels, sent them out to a few agents with names mostly in the A-Cs, and waited for the offers; celebrations would involve bubbles.
Rejections poured in, or worse, nothing at all. First and second novels beat a hasty retreat to the back of the drawer; I regrouped.
I bought more books, this time on the craft of writing. I read literature I loved with a different kind of attention. I enrolled in workshops and classes, and the next novel, Peter Peter, was one I was proud of. Again I sent it out. This time responses were more positive, sometimes falling into the 'rave rejection' category, but the consensus was that its unconventional, somewhat episodic structure, and its (relatively) quiet plot, made for a difficult sell. [Don't worry, Peter, I'm still keeping the faith.] But I was working on my next novel, Michaelangelos, too busy to be too disappointed. I finished it and sent it out to the 3 or 4 agents and publishers who were kind enough to offer to read it having rejected Peter Peter. And yesterday, I received 'the phone-call' from Ger Nichol; I have finally acquired an agent.
It is a wonderful feeling to receive recognition for one's writing, especially when it comes from a professional who is prepared to promote and defend it. I am looking forward to working on the manuscript with her; already I like her suggestions and her presentation of them.
But is it the holy grail I expected? It is one less not-actually-writing, writing-related activity to worry about, and one more step on the path to publication which, in my head, represents the justification for the time I spend not doing housework, not being the yummiest mummy on the block, not out earning an honest crust. More than anything, it's a relief.